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June, 2006





Review by Steve Douglas

After having reviewed Artbeats Water Effects Vol. 1 last year and being very impressed with the sparkling quality of their HD collection I was most interested in seeing what the second volume would have to offer. I was not disappointed in that this collection, though somewhat smaller, offers stunningly produced, highly detailed water animations aimed at the producer/editor looking for only the most exquisite images.


Makes me want to dive right in!

Lets face it, like eight track tapes, Beta VCRs, and Hi-8, Standard Definition footage will soon be a thing of the past. Hobbyists and professionals alike have jumped into the HD/HDV pond like parched survivors of the desert sun and Artbeats seems to be doing its best to fill the void of quality HD background material.

This Artbeats collection contains 9 clips ranging from 11 to 24 seconds using a 30 fps frame rate. The original source for each clip was shot on 35mm film and shot in 1080p 30 which certainly accounts for the magnificent clarity of each clip. The clips in HD Water Effects Vol.2 are a small but diverse collection of rain, splashes, water pouring over sheets of glass and light rays, as they appear underwater. There is a real 'cleanness and purity' to the water images; they are simply refreshing just to look at.



Clean sheets of flowing water, droplets and bubbles up.

Artbeats continues their excellent tradition of including on the disc a complete set of the 'standard DV' thumbnails of each clip provided in the Quicktime format. These are sized at 320x180 pixels for easy viewing before copying the considerably larger full HD uncompressed 1920x 1080 clips to your hard drive. And large they are which is to be expected when working with any HD clip. The nine clips in this collection range from 139 MB up to 1,004.1 MB with an average somewhere in the 400 MB range.


Crystal Clear Splashes, bubbles and effervescence!

All the files may be imported into Final Cut Pro or any NLE that supports the Quicktime format. I would not recommend that one attempt to play an HD clip direct off the disc, rather you will better off to copy the clip you want to your hard drive and then it will play flawlessly. Importing into Final Cut Pro is as simple as importing any animation and just as easy. Final Cut Pro will automatically treat the Artbeats progressive footage as interlaced if that is what your sequence settings call for. The clips do need to be rendered once in Final Cut, but that went swiftly on my 2Ghz G5.

Underwater Serenity

While the collection is not inexpensive at $799.00, each HD clip may be purchased as a download from the Artbeats website for $300.00 each. The Artbeats Water Effects HD Vol. 2 collection may be purchased on DVD disc or as a download. Purchasing the whole collection is the best way to go as you are certainly going to get more for your money. However, if your client is on a tight budget, and you really only need just one, buying a single, individual clip will be appreciated for its cost cutting measure.

All clips in this collection are seamless and none come with mattes or alpha channels. I must be honest and say that I wish some of them had.

However, that said, this is one gorgeous collection of water effects. It is a shame that you cannot view the full animated clip in this review, however, you may download previews of any or all clips on the Artbeats website and see them there. They are every bit as finely produced and spectacular to look at as the first Volume One collection. And that is the bottom line.

Steve 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 parks for their Atlantis production, 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 and Komodo, the Philippines, and the Red Sea. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these trips.

copyright © Steve Douglas 2006

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