|Review: Digital Hotcakes Home Movie Essentials Vol 1
Hotcakes Home Movie Essentials Vol 1
Review by Steve
Most everyone has gone to the movies, sat down, already munching away on their popcorn, and waited for the show to begin. The house lights dim, people shut off their cell phones, babies stop crying, and couples save their discussions for later. (Okay, I can dream can't I?) The screen lights up, the film is about to begin. But first on the screen is an animation of roving cinema lights, cloth screens opening, popcorn adverts, and the ubiquitous 'Feature Presentation' announcement with the studio's name. Now you can repeat and customize many of the same clips serving to announce your own creative endeavors.
Now you have the
option for either aspect ratio for your film premier.
Digital Hotcakes animations have been on the market for quite
some time. They have had numerous collections available for the
video hobbyist and professional relating to weddings and worship,
animated backgrounds of all kinds, water animations and much
more. Their latest release 'Home Movie Essentials' is aimed at
the hobbyist looking to boost the quality of their own videos
and DVD presentations with primarily two separate themes, Travel
and Home Theater. Home Movie Essentials comes with 4 discs available
in NTSC or PAL. Discs one and two contain the standard 4:3 aspect
ratio video graphics while Disc three and four contain the widescreen,
16x9 graphics and are completely compatible in either a Mac or
PC. The complete collection will require roughly 5 GB for downloading
onto your computer. This inexpensive collection consists of forty
animations which is a pretty darn good size. Its not often that
any collection provides both formats, and certainly not at this
price. A significant number of these animations come equipped
with embedded sound effects to add a little extra zing to your
video. In addition, several of the animations, 14, come with
alpha channel and chroma-key green screen and all use AVI and
Quicktime movie files to insure compatibility with most any NLE.
The quality of these animations varies
from good to excellent. I love that Digital Hotcakes has included
so many overlays in both alpha and green screen and have often
wished that other companies also in the business would do so
as well. Having that option certainly allows the editor more
intricate flexibility in their own productions.
Coming with alpha
overlays, this animation allows you to have your clip or picture
appear as the animation opens its doors.
Another way to introduce your film is to have the curtains opening
to it or perhaps an old fashioned film reel showcasing your video.
Without its supplied chroma-keygreen you would be hard pressed
to create the same effect. Could it be done? Sure, but why not
let Digital Hotcakes do the work for you.
The travel theme animations provide many possibilities for your
videos and DVD productions. Everything from ocean views, to floating
lifesavers is here and, again, the use of either the alpha or
chroma-key with these animations allows you to really personalize
on a road trip?
Send home your own special vacation video.
goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Just send a postcard animation.
Once again, it is unfortunate that you can't preview the complete
animations here to see for yourself the moving reels, lights
and waves. However, you can certainly preview them on the Digital
Hotcakes website as well as view a large assortment of other
collections as well.
As an added bonus to the Home Movie Essentials collection, Digital
Hotcakes includes 10 DVD Theme Sets with DVD menus, submenus,
cover and label art.
DVD menus and more
are a nice benefit and they match many of the animations already
in this collection.
In this day of hi end, graphic and detailed animations, some
of the animations in this collection appear somewhat simplistic
without the detailed nuances of color, wrinkles in curtains,
and depth of field that we frequently see these days. It is also
unfortunate that this collection, as well as others produced
by Digital Hotcakes, are not available for use in HD/HDV sequences.
I look forward to their future HD collections and hope they come
soon. Then again, we are not paying $500.00 for a small collection
The Digital Hotcakes website
has always been a good place to go for the occasional free-be
download and I have taken advantage of that in the past. While
the website contains several tutorials, for the Final Cut Pro
user, the single tutorial hasn't changed in several years. I'm
sure they could improve on this.
The bottom line here is that with Home
Movie Essentials you get a lot of bang for the buck. The inclusion
of overlays in this collection is a real plus as customization
is key to any good introduction and Digital Hotcakes certainly
allows for that.
Douglas is an underwater videographer and contributor to
numerous film festivals around the world. A winner of the 1999
Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition,
2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the
prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition,
Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue
Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis
production, as well as for recent History channel shows and is
one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film
Exhibition. Steve leads both underwater filming expeditions and
African safaris with upcoming filming excursions to Kenya, Bali
& Komodo, the Philippines, and Palau. Feel free to contact
him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these trips.
© Steve Douglas 2006
This article first
appeared on www.kenstone.net and is reprinted here
All screen captures and
textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.