proDAD Adorage Vol. 7: CGM Power Transition Software Review

Easy Transitions

Note: At press time, we had just learned that a new version of Adorage should be shipping shortly after you read this.

Implementing transitions is not the easiest part of video work. Working with a lot of effects can get intimidating, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet with video. ProDAD understands and presents its family of Adorage products, a line of transition products that includes volumes such as Particles and Lights, Universal Tricks, Diamond Composites, Power FX Pearls, Eyecatcher FX and Particles and Objects. Alternately, you can splash out and get all nine volumes together for $499.

Getting Started

Installation is a piece of cake. The relevant plug-ins for any editing software you use are automatically installed. We opted to let the software install the complete data set for the transitions onto our local hard drive, taking up a good 565MB on our disk. Factoring in inefficiencies in Windows’ file systems, we would recommend having at least 600MB of free space available on your system drive before you install.

Was ist los? Sprechen sie Deutsch?

The PDF manual that is copied onto the system during installation has some of the most broken English we’ve seen in a while, as well as interesting artifacts like German-style quotation marks (i.e., open quotes being in subscript rather than superscript). We wonder whether they simply ran the original German text through Babelfish or Google’s language tools. Granted, proDAD is an engineering company, not a linguistics company. Of course, if I were really having trouble figuring things out, I could always locate the original German documentation and ask my wife if she could put her German language skills to work for me.

Standalone or Plug-in

If you’re using certain versions of Adobe Premiere/Premiere Pro/Premiere Elements, Avid Liquid, Canopus Edius, Sony Vegas or Ulead MediaStudio Pro/VideoStudio, the installer places the correct plug-in wherever it belongs, but you can also use Adorage as a standalone application. We tested Adorage with Premiere Pro 2.0, and clicking the Custom button launched the full Adorage application. The main difference when using Adorage as a plug-in is that you have your video sources already defined – all you have to do is proceed with setting up your transition.

Your sources don’t have to be video, either – they can also be still images of formats that include PNG, TGA, JPG, TIF and BMP.

The manual points out how much the software does seamlessly – simple 3D animation, compositing, shading and rendering. The basic workflow covers the clips that are having the transition applied, mixing the video together, applying smoke effects if desired and applying an overlay. Even if you didn’t poke around in every one of these windows, you’d still be able to get remarkable results with minimal effort.

The left-hand pane of the Adorage window has a list of effects with collapsible windows. This volume includes background loops, composited wedding bands, clouds, earth locations on a globe, flags of many countries (including the German names of the countries in question), light effects, photo album effects, theater curtains, stars and more. Just browse and click to see the effects. You can then open the mix, smoke and overlay windows to further tweak the effects from their default settings.

One negative is that, if you want to export to a format that you know – say, DV – there are rather limited export options when using the program standalone. Your choices are limited to Microsoft YUV, Video 1, H.261 or H.263, a few Indeo options, and then Cinepak and Toshiba options. This is one reason we’d strongly suggest running Adorage only as a plug-in alongside a compatible video-editing application, instead of by itself.

It’s easy to see previews in the window. The documentation has the rendering options in their own menu, while the actual program (as well as the screen grab in the documentation!) has the render options in the Processing menu.

More Power!

Interestingly, proDAD’s marketing materials note that they had “ambitious” editors as their target, which we would certainly take to include not only beginners, but also intermediate and advanced editors as well. In using the software, we certainly agree that there’s room to grow with the software – that is to say, it’s easy to start using the software and get a lot out of it, but an advanced editor would also get quite a bit out of it without feeling too restricted.

TECH SPECS

OS: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista

Hard Disk Space: 600MB free on system drive

Optical Drive: CD-ROM drive required for installation

Strengths

  • Easy to use, but powerful
  • Versatile options

Weaknesses

  • Confusing translation from German of old documentation and program elements

SUMMARY

A powerful, fun-to-explore video transition program.

Charles Fulton is Videomaker‘s Associate Editor.

proDAD GmbH

Gauertstrasse 2

78194 Immendingen Germany

www.prodad.de


$73

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