eZedia Plug-ins for iMovie: Volume 1, by eZedia Inc
Posted: 2-Sep-2003

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: eZedia Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Lane Smith Class: MULTIMEDIA

Description
eZedia Plug-ins for iMovie: Vol. 1 includes eZeMatte, eZeScreen and eZeClip. Quickly add images, borders, frames, themes, logos, movies, blue-screen and picture-in-picture effects. In a nutshell, eZeMatte allows users to add borders, frames, themes, logos or any customized graphic; eZeScreen allows users to position a movie over an iMovie clip and create blue screen and green screen effects; eZeClip allows users to add a movie over an iMovie clip to create picture-in-picture or split screen effects.

Price: Individually priced, the plug-ins range from $29 to $39 each. Buy all three as a package and the price is $69 (savings of $28).


Requirements

  • iMovie 2.1.1 or later or iMovie 3.0.1 or later
  • OS X 10.1.3 or later
  • 20 MB Disk Space
  • Quicktime 5.0 or later
  • Adobe Acrobat for reading the manual

Getting Started
Before purchasing, you can download a demonstration version of each plug-in that will only create the desired affect for the first 5 seconds of a clip. Between the samples on the web site and the demo version, you can get a very good idea of what these plug-ins have to offer.

Installation is a breeze. Installation with a 800 MHz iMac is lightning fast and uncomplicated. The only downside was that you must download and install each plug-in as an individual file, but the process is so fast it really doesn't require much time. Downloading and clicking on the self-installing files is all it takes to make the plug-ins available to iMovie.

In Use
With the release of digital camcorders, the world has had a craving for ways to "spice up" their home videos. Apple suceeded in bringing to the Mac a way for the public to edit digital video with iMovie a few years back. Now, eZédia has added to the hundreds of visual effects that make viewers of iMovie home movies exclaim "Wow!".

eZédia Plug-ins for iMovie, Vol 1, is three products in one package: eZeClip, eZeMatte, and eZeScreen.

To employ the effects simply highlight the desired effect name (eZeclip, eZeMatte, eZeScreen), click "Configure" at the bottom of the screen, and arrange the options to your preferred settings. When you are finished, click "Okay" to confirm the settings, adjust the "Effect In" and "Effect Out" slides, and click "Apply" to apply the effect to the movie clip.

eZeClip is a straightforward way to insert a movie clip into another movie clip, also known as 'picture-in-picture'. It allows users to add a movie over a DV clip to create picture-in-picture or split-screen effects. Re-size, position, loop, add a border, and apply a drop shadow to the overlay movie. This was really easy to use. Within a "minor" iMovie project, I first created a movie and exported it as a Quicktime DV. Then, within my main iMovie project, I used eZeClip to insert the DV movie anywhere within the boundaries of the movie's frame. Afterwards, I click on play, and both movies play simultaneously, one within the other. Very nice!

eZeMatte is a method to overlay JPEG pictures, borders, artwork, etc., on your selected clip. You can then adjust the image's size, position, and transparency to create effects such as borders, frames, and watermarks. With eZeMatte, I can now add a Christmas border over a movie of kids excitedly opening their Christmas presents, or add a theatre curtain frame to accent a clip of a theatre play. Using images with alpha channels, you can display movies through transparent areas. This plug-in also includes 10 overlay themes (with more themes available on the
eZedia web site).

eZeScreen effect allows you to create your own professional "blue-screen" or "green-screen" effect. You use this effect by adding a movie over a clip, then adjust the movie's size and position as well as the transparency and fade levels of any selected color. You can now create your own amateur Star Wars film or surprise your friends with your "Vacation in Hawaii" movie (without ever leaving the house). I found the rendered output to be occasionally grainy, but for an iMovie effect, this one is a lot of fun.

Support
For each plug-in there is a 30 Day free initial support which starts after registration of the product. Afterwards a service contract can be purchased at the following prices:

  • 1 Time support - $29
  • 3 Month support - $99
  • 1 Year support - $269

Documentation is included in PDF format, and is fairly straightfoward. You can also access support, updates, forums, samples, and examples at eZedia's web site for iMovie Plug-ins. Especially nice are the eZedia training movies that you can also access from eZedia's web site (be sure you have the Quicktime 6 plug-in available for your web browser).

Summary
All in all, eZédia Plug-ins for iMovie: Vol.1 is a great and easy-to-use set of iMovie plug-ins for people who like ways to put a little more "life" into their movie projects. Combinations of effects, like using eZeMatte to create a border for a movie that will be inserted into another movie with eZeClip, create even more professional looking videos. The creative possibilities are restrained only by your imagination. I highly recommend these plug-ins for any iMovie user, newbies and experts alike.

Pros

  • Quick, easy download
  • Free updates
  • Free sample movies and themes come with download
  • Good PDF instructions and online video instructions
  • Simple to use with full manual control
  • Mac and iMovie friendly
  • Cool, fun, and creative tools for very professional results


Cons

  • eZeScreen's blue screen effect is not the sharpest and leaves rough edges
  • Takes some practice to arrange the clips for eZeScreen
  • Customer service lasts only 30 days after registration


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice