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Magic PC started off as a clever variant of the gradient wipe. But over
the years, it has developed into a huge seven-volume suite of effects.
Possibilities range from specialised dissolves to particles, split screens
and picture-in-picture effects. All of these work as transitions, and
all via the same applet, which has evolved since the original Classic
version but still operates in essentially the same way.
As the product has developed, host application support has increased.
The plug-in now works within Adobe Premiere, Adobe Premiere Pro, Ulead
Media Studio and Video Studio, Canopus Edit and Edius, Pinnacle Edition
and Studio, MoviePack and DVSuite, Fast 601, MainConcept MainActor,
Data Becker Professional Video Producer, and Sony Vegas Video (the latter
via a DirectShow plug-in that could work with other editing apps not
The long install
With seven volumes, across eight CDs, Adorage in its entirety is
a huge install. Even when using the lower-resolution graphics option,
the whole set comes to a massive 1.8GByte, and it took us the best part
of an hour to set up the lot. The version we received for review was
in individual CD form. Each CD installed an updated version of the standalone
app plus plug-ins for any editing apps detected.
Each CD contains a different amount of graphics data, ranging from a
few MByte to nearly 600MByte. There is an option to run the volumes
directly from CD, but we found that choosing this confused the installation
routine and prevented the app or plug-ins from detecting that any effects
volumes were installed at all. The only way to recover was to uninstall
Adorage completely and start again, working from the first CD onwards,
so that the standalone app wasn't overwritten with an older version.
As each new volume is installed, the app will detect a new addition
and trigger a splash screen on first loading. After this has cleared,
the new effects will be available in the applet. We were advised to
register each volume separately before installing the next.
ProDAD now sells the plug-ins and app separately from the graphics data,
so it should no longer be necessary to install in the correct sequence.
Only the very latest version of the plug-ins includes software that
works with Premiere Pro 1.5 - the previous Premiere plug-in causes Premiere
Pro to present an error message as it loads, and Adorage won't be available
to use once the software has started. We performed most of our testing
with Premiere Pro 1.5, but we also found that the plug-in worked in
the same way with Ulead Video Studio 8 and Canopus Edius 2.0.
It's questionable whether any editor needs all of the transitions
on offer with the entire Adorage Magic collection. However, quite a
few are very eye-catching, and many are appropriately focused on important
areas such as wedding videography. Although some of the options are
cheesy, particularly the ones using objects, this may be just what is
required for certain kinds of commercial or home videomaking.
We found the Adorage applet and plug-in very responsive to work with,
because it uses single-frame placeholders instead of the full video
for previews. It was also gratifying to see that all of the effects
we tried were previewed with a reasonable frame-rate within Premiere
Pro, and there was no need to render to get a good enough idea of how
they looked. Our Matrox RT.X100 editing hardware output the effects
to a TV monitor, too.
What Adorage is doing is actually quite simple - it's really just an
extension of alpha gradient wipes. Although some of the effects look
sophisticated, they're all essentially based on pre-defined graphics
sequences. This is what is contained on the seven volumes available
for purchase. Still, they look a lot more elaborate than straight alpha-gradient
wipes, such as Pixelan's SpiceRack gradients.
The big question is whether so many 2D transition options are really
required. Anyone who answers yes to this question should give Adorage
Magic PC a try, starting with the Classic or Particles and Light volumes.
Event videographers could find the Universal Tricks volume's themed
transitions useful. The whole seven volumes may be overkill, but a few
volumes of Adorage transitions would make a useful addition to any editing
toolkit. And, the collections and the plug-ins aren't overly expensive,
so are certainly worth consideration since ProDAD is offering CV readers
a 50 per cent reduction on these and all other products in its range,
including the Heroglyph titler (review, p74) and Mediabooster media
Reviewed in this issue:
Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Adobe Encore DVD 1.5
Adobe After Effects 6.5
Canon Bubble Jet i865
ProDAD Adorage Magic
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