Virtix Bravo and Echo for iMovie
OS X Compatible
Company: Virtix, Inc.
Price: $24.99 each or both for $39.99
It was almost a month ago when I wrote the review for the Slick Transitions & Effects iMovie plug-in software. The day after I wrote that review, I saw a news listing at MacMinute.com for Virtix Bravo and Echo Effects and Transitions software. Essentially, it does the same basic thing as the Slick software: it gives you new transitions and effects you can use in iMovie to create better video projects. Having just reviewed such a product, one I gave high marks to, I was curious to see what the Virtix packages offered.
IÃ•m glad I did. I am a huge iMovie proponent. It is great software, and both the Bravo and Echo Effects for iMovie only make it more so. If, after you read my review of the Slick product you purchased the software, you will know I was not kidding when I said it only makes iMovie better. Now with the Virtix software, you are in for more of a treat.
Bravo Effects for iMovie consists of 20 special effects. Some of these effects are very cool, including Laser and Lightning, two really neat effects you will have a lot of fun playing with. Rain is another very cool effect, which does what it sounds like, which is creating “rain” in your video. Emboss gives your video an embossing looks much like the one in PhotoShop. Heat is useful to create that distant rolling heat-wave look in your project.
The complete list of filters are: Blur Edges, Edge Detector, Emboss, Extreme Color, Funhouse, Heat, Laser, Lightning, Median, One Color, Pixel Fixer, Rain, Smoke, Sparkle, Sparkle By Color, Spins, Stained Glass, Topograph, Tunnel, and Zoom.
You have a lot of control over how there filters work in iMovie with the use of sliders and active click & drag in the preview pane. These controls will allow you to fine-tune how the effects are used in your video. With these types of control you can position the “laser” effect, for instance, to appear to come from a gun, an eyeball, or some other cool place in your video.
The software works in both OS 9 and OS X. And while you can control how the effects work in the OS 9 version, you have much more precise controls under OS X. The preview-pane controls do not work in the OS 9 version, for instance. But I do not see this as a drawback to the software. Indeed, I think it shows a dedication to the future of the Macintosh platform to support the better technologies inherent in OS X.
Echo Transitions is not a filter like the Bravo Filters, but rather a collection of transitions for iMovie. Transitions are the time between one video segment and the next. Most transitions you see on television are simple cut frames, meaning no time at all between one video sequence and the next. With iMovie, as anyone who has used it knows, you can use different effects to move from one video sequence to the next. And while the majority of the transitions that come standard with iMovie work very well, and may indeed be enough for the very casual iMovie user, those who use iMovie more than a few times will really come to appreciate having more transitions to play with.
Echo Transitions is a collection of 18 transitions, and they are Burn Through, Clock Wipe, Crystal Fade, Dream, Flying Blocks, Fog, Materialize, Materialize Glitter, Page Peel, Pan, Shatter, Shrinking Tiles, Smoke, Sparkle, Sparkle Aperture, Swirl, Vertical Bars, and Wipe.
I found I really enjoyed many of these transitions, and have specifically looked to do other video projects just to use some of these. It changes, but my current favorite is the “Materialize” one. It gives you a very “Star Trek” effect. My kids really love it, and even put a project together. In it, they put the digital camera (Kodak DC240) on a tri-pod, shot the wall, and then got in front of the camera and shot another picture. Using the Materialize transition, it looks really neat, as if they were being “beamed” into the room from the Enterprise.
Page Peel is also a really nice transition, though Burn Through was initially the one that got my attention. Smoke is also very nice, and gives a very lifelike effect.
I had some initial problems installing the programs, but the included “read me” file was enough to get me going again.
After I started my initial review of the software, Virtix, Inc. released an updated version, and a few of the bugs I had initially found were fixed. My hat is off to Virtix, Inc for updating and improving their software so quickly.
All in all, I was quite impressed with both, Bravo Effects for iMovie and Echo Effects for iMovie. These two software packages, Bravo Effects for iMovie and Echo Effects for iMovie, costs $24.99 each, but why bother buying them separately when you can spend $39.99 for both? For the quality of this software, and the new dimension it gives to iMovie, it is well worth the cost.
MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5