Slick Effects: Volumes 5, 6 and Caption, by GeeThree
Posted: 12-Jan-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: GeeThree Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: John Gebhardt Class: MULTIMEDIA

Slick Effects Volumes 5 and 6 provide more new Titles, Transitions and Effects to make your iMovies more interesting and exciting! This is the 5th and 6th in a series of effects for iMovie released by GeeThree. These plugins can add some professional looking capability to iMovie. This review is for Volume 5, Volume 6 and Caption.

System Requirements

  • iMovie 3 recommended, iMovie 2.1.1 also supported
  • Mac OSX, OS9
  • Quicktime 5 or later
  • 10MB available disk space
  • For Volume 6, G4 processor or better is required


Features
Slick Effects 5, 6 and Caption downloaded quickly, and after entering the registration number, they installed easily. Upon opening iMovie, I found the new effects, titles and transitions installed in all the correct locations. Caption is not an iMovie plug-in; it is a separate application used to add captions or subtitles to movies.

VOLUME 5

Titles
Place text at any location on the screen. Add pop-up style titles. Fill text with a graphic or movie. See text disappear into the horizon. Countdown timers. And lots of animated titles developed in conjunction with Wildform, Inc, a leading developer of Flash-based products.
Effects
Customize your own ratings screen. Add an animated background with Cosmic Frame. Colorize video for a psychedelic look. Make your video dance to the beat with the Audio series.
Transitions
Add new variations of dissolve transitions - Flash is one you'll love. Big pixel zooms with the Resolution series. And lots of new soft transitions - you can even adjust the edge softness.


VOLUME 6

Color Correction
Set black and white points. Adjust red, green and blue channels for shadows, midtones and highlights.
Film Reel
Scroll a strip of moving video žthumbnailsÓ continuously across the screen.
Highlite series
Create a highlight that moves and resizes with objects in the video. Assign multiple keyframes along your video clip's timeline for precise control. Four variations.
Stopwatch
Overlay timecode or time. Can count up or down. Lots of formatting options.
VideoWall
Design a montage of moving or still images. Up to 64 video clips in one window! Nine different layout templates for endless possibilities.
VidMotion
Extremely powerful and versatile. Assign multiple keyframes along your video clip's timeline. Each keyframe defines the the location, scale, rotation and opacity of a video or still image at a given point
Whiteboard
Draw or write anything you like on the video frame. [Very good for instructional video]


CAPTION

Caption software imports a DV movie created in iMovie, Final Cut Express/Pro or other video editing software. Text files can be imported, or the text can be typed into the program. Slick Caption provides extensive formatting options of the caption text. The font, size, style, color, and alignment are at the user's control. The caption can appear with or without a colored background.


In Use
The transitions are interesting, but of the 28 included transitions, they appear to all be minor variations of 3 or 4 basic types. Most of the time one should only use a very limited number of simple transitions within a single movie or it detracts from the content of the movie. Having such a variety to select from, however, should allow you to vary your transitions from movie to movie, thereby better matching the transitions to the mood of the movie. Some of the more useful transitions in volume 5 are all the variations of "
Dissolve", the "Fog" transitions, and "Surge".

Effects are not as commonly used as transitions, but there are some interesting ones including in this package. Most notable are the audio and video effects. With the audio effects, your video actually adjusts/reacts according to the levels of the audio,
Audio Brightness being the best of the bunch. The audio effects work with an audio file (AIFF, QuickTime, etc.). One thing they cannot do is work with an iMovie soundtrack (iMovie's architecture doesn't allow this). Therefore, if you have a soundtrack you want to use these effects on, you'll need to separate the audio from the video, export the audio to a separate file before using these effects with it.

The video effects include some creative ways to alter the video, such as the
Hilite Obscure effect (commonly used on TV to obscure nudity) and VidMotion effects (incorporating video within video). The Film Rating effect is a fun one too; most people will enjoy tailoring and incorporating this one within their family home videos.

Most of the transitions and effects worked easily and as expected. However there were a few functions that did not work correctly in my tests. Among those that I experienced problems with were the "radial" and "fog" transitions, and the "Video Wall" and "Video Motion" effects. The video effects produce multiple, concurrently active video images within a single movie; therefore, you can have a large number of pixels all changing at the same time. The problems appear to be because my test machine has limited video speed (G3 iMac). These problems do not occur on a faster machine (such as a G4). Volume 6 contains intense video effects, which is why a G4 processor or better is a requirement listed on GeeThree's web page (unfortunately, the best I have currently is a G3).

The titles provide some really cool and useful effects as well. Among my favorites, the "
Perspective" will do the perspective scrolling as used in the Star Wars movies. Other notable title effects included in this package:

  • Flow - A smooth gentle fade in from left to right
  • Gravity Bounce - Title drops with slight random bouncing
  • Impart - Title emerges from center extending outward until complete
  • Shadow - A very nice shadowed title effect
  • TextFade - Fade Down - Title slowly drops and fades into background

There is a large subset of title effects that start with "Wild fx"; appropriately named, as these effects are off the chart (and most likely will not find a place in your home movies). Still, if you are looking for some zany title effects, then the Wild fx titles will fit the bill (especially if you're doing animations).

Most of the titles worked as expected, but I did encounter some slow processing within iMovie using some of the title effects (such as the "Glow" title). I suspect this is due to the graphics limitations of my iMac. As I have found to be the case with other transitions, titles and effects, once the movie is complete and transferred back to a camera, the video playback through the camera or TV looks fine (showing none of the delays or skips seen within iMovie).

There are PDF manuals provided for each Volume that clearly explain how to use each effect. There are also demos of the effects available for viewing on the
GeeThree website.

Summary
Slick Effects Volume 5 and 6 and Caption all bring some interesting and useful features to the iMovie user. As with most video or audio work today, the user will achieve faster and more satisfying results with hardware that matches the capability of the video editing software. The Slick Effects add some fairly complex features that can take advantage of the newer hardware. Though some of the effects and transitions may be out of place in routine family vacation or youth activity videos, I think an experienced or budding video artist can put them to good use enhancing special feature productions. The stand-alone price of the individual volumes ($49.95 for Vol. 5; $69.95 for Vol. 6 and $49.95 for Caption) seem a bit high. GeeThree offers several bundles that package these features with other iMovie plug-in volumes, and that greatly reduces the individual costs and provide better all around capability enhancement for iMovie. If you have a specific need for these effects and have the processor speed to run them on, you cannot go wrong with this package. The average user, however, may not find this release by itself as useful as some of the earlier products from GeeThree. The best way to determine if there are any effects in this package that fit your needs is to check out the web demos of each of the effects on GeeThree's web site.

Demos of Volume 5
Demos of Volume 6
Demo of Caption

Pros

  • Unique and amazing video effects
  • Star Wars and other cool title effects
  • Captions/subtitles effect


Cons

  • Rather pricey as standalone product
  • Some effects slow to process on G3 machines


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice