|Review: Digital Hotcakes High Definition Series
Hotcakes High Definition Series
Mountain Majesty HD $69.95
Shining Sea HD $69.95
Review by Steve
Not too long ago I received an email from a reader interested
in the Digital Hotcakes footage and animations from TriLab Productions,
a footage and animation company that has been on the block for
quite some time. I had forgotten that I had reviewed their Home
Movie Essentials DVD back in August, 06 and in an attempt at
being responsive to this reader requested a couple of their high
definition footage collections which were sent to me post haste.
Generally, footage and animation
houses can be very expensive. They do save time and, thus, money,
as opposed to getting to similar destinations and shooting the
same scenes yourself or working at creating animations in Motion
or After Effects. However, with the Digital Hotcakes collections,
money is not going to be the issue, as their footage collections
are not going to break anyone's bank and present a most reasonable
Each collection, 'Shining Sea'
and Mountains Majesty taken from the Digital Hotcakes 'Worship'
series is shot in Sony HDCAM 1080i and includes both 1280x720
Progressive Scan WMV and QuickTime HD formats at 29.97 FPC as
well as still bmp reference shots for easy research and preview.
The 'Shining Sea' disc contains 20 loopable HD video clips ranging
from 10 to 60 seconds while the 'Mountains Majesty' collection's
clips range from 10 to 30 seconds and both collections. Like
the rest of the Digital Hotcakes library, these sets are compatible
with both PCs and Macs.
When looking at these clips, I
was reminded of the many B-roll shots in both movies and T.V.,
which many people, including myself, often take for granted.
The work and artistry that go into shooting that beautiful mountain
vista or the sunset over the ocean that precedes the film star's
entrance, the peaceful shot of the flowers by the lake that serves
as the story's denouement often goes unnoticed. What a shame
as there is much to be learned by studying the filming technique
and skills of others. So, while the clips in both of these collections
may have a myriad number of uses for a great many projects, they
can also serve as a great study guide for shooting your own settings.
A Cape Cod lighthouse
from the Shining Seas collection displays the excellent color
and image resolution characteristic of quality of both collections.
I've said it before in previous footage and animation reviews
that it is too bad that you can only see individual frames here
rather than the full clips. Never the less, each clips is gorgeously
composed and framed. I was surprised at the diversity of clips
in each collection. Thinking the Mountains collection would consist
of lots of rocky, snowy mountain shots, I was pleased with the
excellent mix of the 'types' of shots. Not only are there snowy
mountain clips but also clips of wildflowers by a mountain lake,
the Grand Canyon, sunsets of different hues, the fog permeating
the forests of the Smoky Mountains, waterfalls, storm clouds
Each clip carries with it a different
thematic goal whether it is the awe of the sunrise, the mystery
of a rolling fog, or the solitude of the grassy knoll.
The 'Shining Sea' disc was just as varied in its offerings with
cliff views over the water, an excellent point of view shot down
low of ocean pebbles, sunsets over the ocean, riversides and
beach pans. Each clip retains its pristine resolution while the
lighting and mood changes from clip to clip.
There are any number
of uses for these excellently produced clips.
Using the clips is a simple matter of dragging them from the
disc to your designated folder and importing them into Final
Cut Studio's project sequence. While both the Mountains Majesty
and Shining Sea discs serve as volumes 11 and 12 of the Digital
Hotcakes 'Worship' series, do not think that there are religious
icons or overtones to any of the clips contained in the collections.
While they certainly could be used in a spiritual manner, they
would serve well in many more sequence situations.
The bottom line is that you get a big
bang for the buck with either collection from Digital Hotcakes.
The cost is surprisingly low and the quality is topnotch. When
time is money, you can save on both with these very affordable
royalty-free footage collections.
Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro
and underwater videographer. 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, where he
also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater
Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver
on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed
footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and a recent
History channel MegaDisaster show. Steve is one of the founding
organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads
both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with
upcoming excursions to Kenya & Lembeh Straits in Indonesia
in 2007, the Coco Islands, Costa Rica &Truk Lagoon in 2008
and safari in Africa for 2009. Feel free to contact him if you
are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.
copyright © Steve
This article first appeared
on www.kenstone.net and
is reprinted here with permission.
All screen captures and textual references are the property and
trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.