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Review: GrangerFX for Premiere Pro and After Effects
Posted Apr 25, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1
  

Synopsis:
The GrangerFX plug-in for Premiere and After Effects is a sizeable investment for transitions. But for the quality you get, GrangerFX is well worth the cost if there are distinctive, event-specific, high-acuity transitions you need that you can't find in your NLE. GrangerFX transitions are simply the highest-quality transitions I've seen to date.


Price: $499

For more information, contact:
GrangerFX, www.grangerfx.com

One and a half years ago I switched all my editing systems from Adobe Premiere 6.5 to Premiere Pro, then at version 1.5. I'm now in the process of upgrading them all to Adobe's Production Studio Premium, which includes Premiere Pro 2.0. While that upgrade gave me all the great enhancements of the redesigned Premiere, a favorite plug-in that I used mostly in Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (and to a lesser extent in weddings), Pinnacle Systems' HollywoodFX, became unusable.

Cast adrift, I went searching for a suitable alternative and found a company called GrangerFX that specializes in plug-in effects for Premiere and After Effects. GrangerFX is the actual plug-in interface that allows you to choose your transition and speed. TrinityFX is the first library of transitions. (A second set, AstoundFX, is listed as soon-to-come on Granger's Web site.)

GrangerFX chose the Trinity name because the effects contained therein are the same ones found on the now-defunct Trinity linear/nonlinear editing system (which became the Globecaster) by Play, Inc. Globalstreams purchased the Globecaster from Play, Inc., before Play went under. The effects in TrinityFX are also the same as those currently shipping on the Globalstreams Globecaster. Globalstreams (www.globalstreams.com) continues to sell and upgrade the Globecaster system.

Many of us remember seeing the Trinity or Globecaster system demo'd at NAB or other trade show in the mid-to-late '90s and being awed by the cool transitions and effects. Well, now those very same transitions are available for Premiere Pro, and they are a lot better-looking than the ones I used to rely on in HollywoodFX.

Installation

The program installs off an installation DVD, not a CD, so you'll need a DVD drive on your computer to install the software unless you're set up to install it to over a network on your primary editing machine from another connected, DVD-equipped workstation. (I was surprised to find that this approach worked, since you can't do that with Digital Juice's motion backgrounds.)

One of the reasons TrinityFX installs off a DVD is that the animated transitions are pre-rendered, uncompressed D1 resolution, and are then re-rendered with the mapped video in the codec of the project. These transitions will need to render even if you are using accelerator cards like the Matrox RTX.100, but they do render fairly quickly even on my older 2.4GHz system. For Premiere Pro 2.0, once you install it, you'll need to find the Plug-in folder it creates, locate the Premiere Pro plug-in files (.prm), and drop them into the new 2.0 plug-in folder. It should now show up in Premiere when you run it. As you are reading this, new installers for Premiere Pro 2.0 now exist and are available from their Web site, so those of you afraid to mess with program folders need not worry.

Operation

Once the software is installed, you will find a GrangerFX folder under your transition folder. To apply a transition, you drop it between two clips to open the interface. There you can select and preview the various wipes, DVEs, and animated transitions, and choose how long your transition will last from various preset times. Once you've selected your transition, click OK, then go to the Effects Control window in Premiere and enter the effect's duration there as well. Otherwise, the transition will not render properly.

Over the last 12 months I've been in regular email contact with Matt Hoffman, discussing the user interface and suggesting transitions. All I can say is that when it comes to replying to my suggestions, no one I've worked with in this way has responded more quickly. When I had issues with a new interface, they emailed a much-improved Beta interface based on my suggestions in less than 24 hours.

I described a couple of ideas for Bar/Bat Mitzvah-themed transitions, and in a week there they were. The "flying yarmulke" transition is to-die-for. The "Torah" transitions in TrinityFX are much better than the "scroll" transitions from HollywoodFX. These and many other new transitions will be available in the new AstoundFX package.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

While both programs offer transitions that may become overused at times, and both have some effects that you will likely never use, comparing the quality of GrangerFX to HollywoodFX is like comparing NBC to cable access. Even if I can't say how just yet, I will find a use for "The Terminator" walking on and punching out the screen!

The one thing that you can do in HollywoodFX that you cannot do in GrangerFX is customize a transition. In HollywoodFX, you can keyframe objects, adjust their flight paths, and such. So for specific things, you may still need HollywoodFX, but aside from the length/speed of the transition, I rarely need to adjust them. And if you've upgraded to an NLE that doesn't support the HollywoodFX plug-in, the question is moot anyway.

Currently, GrangerFX is not available for Apple Final Cut Pro users. An FCP plug-in is in the works, but there are still issues being worked out. There isn't a plug-in for Sony Vegas yet, but it is something the company says they are looking into. If enough people request it, I believe there is a good chance it will happen.

One other enhancement I know is in development: Right now all the transitions are NTSC or PAL 4:3 aspect ratio. Future FX packages (beginning with TrinityFX 2) will be made for HD and 16:9 aspect ratios. All current buyers of GrangerFX will receive version 2.0 of the plug-in for free.

At $499, GrangerFX is sizeable investment for transitions. But if there's an upside to the steep pricing, it's that maybe not everyone in your market will have them. More importantly, for the quality you get, GrangerFX is well worth the cost if there are distinctive, event-specific, high-acuity transitions you need that you can't find in your NLE. Quite simply, GrangerFX transitions are the highest-quality transitions I've seen to date.

System Requirements:
- Pentium 3+ or equivalent running Windows NT/2000/XP; 6GB free HDD space for installation; Premiere 6+ (including all Pro versions), After Effects 5+, Autodesk Combustion, or Avid Xpress DV 4.1+



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