UltraStar: Adding Videos

Please note: my UltraStar guides now have their own dedicated website on UltraGuide.net. An updated version of this article can be found here

Sorry it’s been so long since my last UltraStar updates, but I’ve been very busy with the program itself, getting it ready for Christmas!

Note: I have no idea if these guides are proving useful – looking at my site stats, I notice that I’m getting a handful of hits a day from people trying to find out how to set up their microphones etc. It would be great to hear from you either way… tell me it’s been useful, totally unhelpful, or perhaps some elements need further clarity. That, and whilst I’m no expert on the game, if you want to fire a question or two at me then I’ll be happy to help if I can.

Now that we’re done with the bare necessities of the game, we can move on to the bonus tutorials. This section will look at how to add video files to the songs. Video files are not necessary, but many people prefer to use them as they definitely enhance the experience of the game. As a result, and this is something that you’ll probably want to note, many people make .txt files that match the video version of the song, rather than the album version or the radio edit. Quite often, this doesn’t make a difference (music videos normally use the same version of the song in question), but on a number of occasions, it can. For example, I was adding ‘Rock the Casbah’ by The Clash the other day, and the text didn’t match the lyrics towards the end of the song. I added the video version instead, and the problem was rectified.

Many users on USDB won’t specify what version of the song their .txt file refers to, so this trial-and-error process can be quite common. It’s worth looking at the comments at the bottom of the song – these can quite often be in another language, primarily German. If you don’t speak the language, paste the comment into Google Translate, and you can normally get the jist of things. It is often stated which version of the song you’re supposed to use.

As well as making the game more fun, adding video files can make obtaining the songs you want much easier. For example, I actually really hate Cheryl Cole’s ‘Fight For This Love,’ the song that I used in my adding songs tutorial, but I decided to put it on there, because some people like it (failing that, a lot of people at least know it), and I want to widen the appeal of my collection as much as possible. I don’t want to buy the MP3, because I won’t be adding it to my iPod. The sound quality generally isn’t as good, but when you and your friends are screeching your hearts out over it, you probably won’t notice!

Your first stop for music videos, of course, is YouTube (though DailyMotion is a good place, too). Using the download helper add-on for Mozilla Firefox, it’s possible to download videos in .flv format to your computer. Once you’ve downloaded and installed this feature, visit the video of the song you want, and eventually the (new) icon next to the address bar will begin to move. This means that Firefox has detected the video on the page, and it is possible to download it.

Click on the arrow next to the icon, and select any of the options referring to the video (it doesn’t matter which one, I don’t think, but correct me if I’m wrong). The video will begin downloading, though you should navigate away from the video on the browser first, or you’ll be waiting there all day.

Now that you have the video file, you’ll also need an mp3 containing the same audio used in the video file (you could try adding the normal mp3 if you like, but getting it to synchronise with the video can be tricky – if you want to have a go, the #VIDEOGAP tag in the .txt file specifies when the video should start playing, and this is independent of the normal #GAP tag, which specifies when the audio should start). There are a number of tools that will create an mp3 based on your video file. Those downloaded from YouTube are usually .flv files, but you can get .mp4 files from DailyMotion, and these are much easier to contend with!

For .mp4 files, I’d recommend downloading DBpoweramp. Once this is installed, you can simply right-click on the video file, select ‘convert to,’ and create an mp3 file in the same directory. This will also work for a number of other file types, both audio and video (not .flv, sadly).

For .flv files, you can use a number of .flv convertor programs, plus some online facilities that link directly to the YouTube video itself, such as www.flv2mp3.com.

Once you have a video and an audio file, place them both in the same directory as your .txt file, and link the two files in the .txt file using the appropriate tabs, for example:

#ARTIST: Cheryl Cole

#TITLE: Fight For This Love

#MP3: Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love.mp3

#VIDEO: Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love.flv

The next step is to open UltraStar Deluxe and test the song – does the video file load? If not, make sure you’ve spelled the filename correctly and used the right file extension. To get the text to synchronise with the lyrics, use the same method with the built-in editor function that I described in the adding songs section. Enjoy, and please let me know if this was useful or not!


4 Responses to “UltraStar: Adding Videos”

  1. Simstatic Says:

    Hi there, thanks so much for going to all this trouble explaining how to use this game.

    I have just installed Ultrastar Deluxe and downloaded some songs with their .txt files and everything else that is needed (I downloaded the free stuff from Ultrastar) and everything loads etc but the lyrics don’t show and I don’t have a clue as to how to get them to show.

    I have looked at the .txt files and they also seem to be correct.

    Hope you can help. :-)

    • Hi Simstatic, thanks for commenting. No problem at all, it’s nice to know that people are using the guides.

      I haven’t come across that particular problem before, where the lyrics don’t load full stop. I can take a guess as to what the issue will be, though. Do you know what screen resolution your computer is? If UltraStar is running in too high a resolution, then it would make sense that the lyrics would be cut off at the bottom.

      To rectify this, you can go to the directory that UltraStar is installed in (typically C:\Program Files\UltraStar Deluxe). Within the main folder, there should be a file called config.txt. This file specifies various options within game (and can also be edited within game), such as the song directory, number of players, and screen resolution. The latter option should be towards the top of the file; on mine, it reads the following:

      Depth=32 bit
      MovieSize=Full [BG+Vid]

      The Resolution option, here, is specified to 800X600. Have a look at what yours is set to – if you’re not sure of your computer’s screen resolution, then change it to something smaller, and see if the lyrics display this time when you load the game.

      If this doesn’t work then let me know – it’s currently the only possible solution I can think of, but if we put our heads together then maybe we can solve it! :) Best of luck!

  2. Simstatic Says:

    Hi kokairu, thanks so much for the reply. It was actually me being stupid lol. I eventually figured it out (I never clicked on the actual song and was listening to and looking at the preview) and got it working but now I have a new problem.

    I was listening to the songs and checking to see whether it synchronises well with the lyrics and the game kept on throwing up the “Awful” banner even though I wasn’t singing and then at the end it said “Tone Deaf”. I don’t understand this as I was just listening.

    My question now is this: is the game judging the mp3 that is playing or is it because I have the mic plugged in. By the way I am a singer and when that happened I tested the mic and I sang a piece very badly and got awful (which I expected) and then I sang a piece very well and still got awful, so I don’t think I have set this up correctly.

    By the way I just have my computer mic plugged in (not a USB mic) and was wondering whether this was the problem.

    I have a Shure Professional mic but I don’t have a USB adapter so I cannot plug into the USB port.

    I really want to get this program sorted out as I find it such fun when family and friends get together and can enjoy good clean fun and we can laugh at ourselves. Life is so serious these days and the laughter is good medicine.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    • The game judges how well you sing based on whether you hit the notes or not. If you are not singing (or even if the microphone is not plugged in full stop), then it will say that you are ‘awful’ because the notes aren’t being hit – it doesn’t know that’s because you’re not actually singing at all.

      There is a small chance that the microphone will pick up some of the mp3 that’s being played when you’re not singing, but it will be very faint and the instrumental part of the song will be picked up, too, so it’s unlikely to score any points.

      If you are singing into it and still get tone deaf (did you get absolutely no points whatsoever?) then it’s likely that the microphone is not set up correctly. You can see if it’s working as you should see the lines light up with the colour of the player (this should be blue if you’ve only got one player selected) as you hit the notes.

      The fact that you’re not using a USB mic shouldn’t be a problem – it can still work when plugged into the normal microphone jack. It’s difficult for me to advise further without more information on what settings you’ve selected – if you’ve already tried my guide on setting up the microphones (https://thebrickyblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/ultrastar-setting-up-the-microphones/), then the official UltraStar Wiki (http://ultrastardeluxe.xtremeweb-hosting.net/wiki/doku.php?id=tutorials:setup_singstar_microphones) offers further guidance regarding setting the microphones up with various operating systems. It says it’s for the SingStar microphones but you can use this as a general guide on how to set up your Shure Professional mic.

      If you can, I would recommend getting a pair of official SingStar Microphones (which usually come with the USB adapter), just because the game is readily compatible with them.

      I agree that the game is great fun and a fantastic way to get people enjoying themselves at get togethers. The hard part is convincing them to play in the first place, but they always enjoy it in the end!

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