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In the Studio: proDAD Adorage 11
Posted Jan 29, 2010 Print Version     Page 1of 1

Like many of us, I got my start editing video with a consumer editor, specifically Pinnacle Studio. Some of the features I liked best about Studio were the theme-specific transitions and effects provided in the Hollywood FX bundle. Whether it was an exotic vacation or a baby shower, a wedding, or even a golf event, I could always find just the right transitions. I moved on from Pinnacle Studio, and my effect usage predominantly narrowed to quick dissolves and the like. But I saw that with many projects, a theme-specific transition or two could be killer, though rarely available in prosumer editors. If you're looking for a source for theme-specific transitions, check out proDAD Adorage, now up to its 11th transition package. You can buy the complete library for $499 or individual packages at two price points: $66.43 for Packages 1-9, which are SD source; or $99 for Adorage 10 and 11, both of which are both HD source. Each package comes with between 400 and 1,600 effects, though it's tough to figure out what effects are in each package because the web descriptions are very brief and, on Volumes 1-9, the web-based videos are clunky. Starting with Package 10, which I reviewed in May 2009, proDAD expanded the text descriptions and simplified and expanded web video previews.

What's in Package 11?
With Package 11, which shipped near the end of 2009, proDAD created a very cool Silverlight preview application that features the easiest-to-use previews of the group, though only a few effects are shown. To fill in some blanks, Package 11 offers a range of international symbols including flags, continent outlines, country outlines, and some miscellaneous content such as the Just Married flag shown in Figure 1 (below). According to the company's PR rep, proDAD will be updating its website in early 2010. Hopefully the updated site will include better content descriptions for the various packages.

proDAD Adorage 11

Working With Adorage
In this review, I'll quickly describe the content in Packages 7 and 10, which contain the most wedding/ romance-related content. Then, I'll detail the workflow for applying Adorage transitions and assess the output quality of both the SD and HD effects.

Briefly, Package 7 contains 17 wedding ring-related transitions, 23 album-related transitions, and 24 very cool lighting effects that would be killer if used judiciously in a wedding montage or similar video. Package 10 includes more than 124 wedding-related effects-it's probably the mother lode if you're hunting for wedding-related effects.

All packages are compatible with multiple video editors, including Adobe Premiere Pro and Premiere Elements, Avid Liquid 7, Grass Valley EDIUS, Sony Vegas (32-bit versions only) and Movie Studio, Corel Video Studio, Pinnacle Studio, and Ulead Media Studio.

I tested Adorage in Adobe Premiere Pro and SonyVegas; the operation for both was very similar. The main difference was that in Premiere Pro, Adorage used the source clips on the timeline within the Adorage preview window, where with Vegas, it used the canned clips that come with the program. Obviously, with both programs you could preview on the timeline after applying the effect with your actual source clips.

In all host programs, proDAD installs the transitions so that they appear as options in your transitions library. From there, you drag Adorage to the timeline just like any other transition, which then opens the Adorage window shown in Figure 2 (below).

proDAD Adorage 11

You choose the desired transition in the Adorage library and then customize any of the five aspects shown on the bottom of Figure 3 (below), including Video A and B, the Mixer, adding Smoke, and adjusting the Overlay settings. Click the window of the parameter that you want to adjust, and Adorage opens that window with tabs providing access to the other adjustments.

proDAD Adorage 11

Configuration options are extensive and different for each effect. When adjusting the parameters of the source video files, you can add borders; mirror the source horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; or tile the footage. These are nice options, but there's definitely some room for usability improvement, particularly when working with 16:9 HD footage, as I was with my tests. For example, at times, I had to control the size of a 16:9 window using a square control, which was workable but unintuitive. You can see this in Figure 4, where I was adjusting the shape of the 16:9 video in the preview window with the square control on the lower left.

Even worse, often you can't see the target window that you're customizing your video to match, which makes for a hit-and-miss, iterative workflow. For example, in Figure 4 (below), I was shaping the starting position for Source A to match a film overlay that I couldn't see without clicking the overlay tab, at which point I could no longer adjust the size or positioning. Fortunately, most transitions have multiple variations, so, generally, you can select a canned transition and make minor adjustments rather than choosing a generic template and performing major surgery to achieve the desired result.

proDAD Adorage 11

To test rendering quality, I used 1080p source footage and rendered SD and HD transitions to 1080p output, as well as 720p and DV output. The quality of the rendered footage was very good, even the SD effects, which was surprising since many started life as 720x576 resolution images. Obviously, Premiere Pro played some role in the output, but proDAD appears to be doing everything right to optimize output quality.

With That as Prologue ...
Overall, if you're looking for a source of high-quality, theme-specific transition effects for weddings and other events, you should consider proDAD Adorage.

Unfortunately, if you're looking at packages that were released prior to the two most recently (10 and 11), you're likely to be frustrated by the lack of detail proDAD provides on its website. But hopefully, that will be resolved in the promised web redesign. Once you have the bundle, you'll find the effects generally easy to apply and use and should expect very good rendered quality.

Jan Ozer (jan at doceo.com) is chief instructor at StreamingMediaLearningCenter.com.

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