Videomaker's 2009 Best Visual Effects Software: MotionDSP vReveal Video Cleaning Software Review

View all of the best consumer video production products of 2009, selected by the editors of Videomaker

Keep it Clean

It’s so easy to accumulate video these days. So many devices other than camcorders can record video now-from cell phones, still cameras, webcams and more. While these small devices are a little harder to keep control of compared to the traditional camcorder, the availability of a common toolbox that can fix pretty much any video would be welcome in any quarters.

Enter vReveal, a program that helps you find your clips; then clean, stabilize, sharpen and more; for the paltry sum of $50. We were dazzled by some demos we saw at trade shows, so we had to give it a try for ourselves.
VReveal works with any clip that is 576 pixels vertical resolution or smaller (essentially, any standard-definition video clip; HD clips are not yet supported.)

Super Easy Start

The download of vReveal is a mere 8.2MB-that’s amazing in and of itself in this age of bloated 200+ MB programs. We found out that the only thing this program is heavy on is raw algorithmic power. That’s a very good thing. We installed the software on a Polywell Core i7-based system with an NVIDIA Quadro CX video card.

When you first launch vReveal, you are greeted with a prompt to scan your computer for video files. The gallery that all of the thumbnails from those video clips land in reminds us a bit of Picasa, but doesn’t perform as many functions. It serves to help you find the clips that you want to enhance. You can also click the import video to add video from another source or folder. Up front is the ability to rotate a video clip (very useful for clips recorded on digital still cameras) and a frame grab button. You can also perform a quick cut-edit on the clip by dragging the handles on the timeline that appear both in the gallery and enhancement screens. (Don’t worry, though; everything is non-destructive-you have to export a file before you will see it in its new, cleaned-up form.) Also handy is a repeat button, which keeps looping a clip as you tweak so you can see the results of your adjustments in real time (hardware permitting.)

Enhancements

To start enhancing a video, choose a video in the gallery and click on the Enhance tab in the left-hand pane. You will be greeted with two tabs: basic and fine-tuning. On the basic tab, there is a “One Click Fix” that automatically adds all of the cleanup options that you select in the preferences menu. Of these, there is clean, which removes noise, pixelation and grain; 2x resolution, which doubles the resolution of your video; sharpen, which adds definition to the edges of objects; auto contrast, which makes an educated guess about what the exposure should’ve been set at; stabilize, and fill light, which adds brightness to the foreground of a clip.

If your video card includes NVIDIA’s CUDA technology, you’re in luck-the program is CUDA-accelerated. This is most noticeable with the clean effect. (OpenCL support is being planned for a later date.) If you don’t have a CUDA-enabled video card, you can still use vReveal, but don’t expect realtime previews unless you have a really, really fast computer. (The program will notify you if the previews are anything slower than real time.

Once you make a change to a clip with any of these tools, a small vReveal icon will appear on the clip that has had filters applied to it.

The basic way to make changes to any clip is to click the effect on and off in the Basic tab. If you want to get deeper into the tweaking, click on the Fine-Tuning tab. This will give you slider-based control over the same preferences, and also adds more options for tweaking. For example, the sharpen control also gives you a focus control for the clip. There’s also controls for color, and a zoom control that is especially useful when the stabilize control is used (otherwise, you get black areas on the screen where there is no available video data to be gleaned from.)

It’s very easy to find yourself fine-tuning a video until it’s just right. The basic settings are usually a great place to start, though. Like any other serious video toy, keep an eye on the clock when you’re using it, otherwise the time will slip away from you.


To the World

Once you are satisfied with the enhancements you’ve made to your video, click Share. You can take your video out to the world in three different ways: YouTube, WMV or uncompressed AVI. If your video card is CUDA-enabled, the program will tell you how much time has been saved by rendering the video through the card.

VReveal is an amazing piece of software, particularly for the price. If any clip in your library needs tweaking for whatever reason, send it vReveal’s way and see what it can do. (A 30-day trial version is available on vReveal’s web site.)

Tech Specs

System Requirements: Windows XP or Vista, 1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 50MB hard drive space

File types supported:AVI, .MPG, .ASF, .WMV supported natively; works with QuickTime and other
codecs as well

Video card: Uses NVIDIA CUDA capabilities if available

Strengths

  • CUDA support
  • High quality output
  • Easy to get results

Weaknesses

  • No HD video support

Summary

MotionDSP’s vReveal is one of the easiest ways to organize, clean up and render your videos for distribution.

Charles Fulton is Videomaker‘s Technical Editor.

MotionDSP Inc.

1650 Borel Pl., Ste. 208

San Mateo, CA 94402

www.motiondsp.com

$50

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