In my 10+ years of video editing, one thing I’ve found is that video editing software never bundles the effects and transitions I’m looking for. Whether it’s Sony Vegas, Avid Studio, or Adobe Premiere, I always want something more than what’s included in the box. One name that comes up repeatedly in my quest for great effects and transitions is proDAD. Their VitaScene product has found it’s way into my video editing toolkit with virtually every solution I’ve ever tried. Recently I got the chance to put VitaScene V2 through the paces. Here’s what I found.
VitaScene V2 is available as either VitaScene V2 LE for $149 or VitaScene V2 Pro for $499. The Pro version offers more than 600 effects to the 100 included in LE, as well as a greater degere of control over configuration. Most home movie makers can probably get by with VitaScene V2 LE, though the extra control is definitely an excellent feature. If you get paid to edit video, VitaScene V2 Pro is a must-have.
Either version of VitaScene is available as a plug-in for all the more popular video editing applications, including Adobe Premiere CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS5.5; Adobe Premiere Elements versions 1-8; Avid Studio and Avid Media Composer; Corel VideoStudio X4; Grass Valley EDIUS and Grass Valley NEO; Magix Video Deluxe and Magix Video Pro; Pinnacle Studio; Sony Vegas Pro 32/64-bit and Sony Movie Studio HD Platinum.
Much like most of the video editing apps on that list, VitaScene V2 is Windows-only. You need a minimum of Windows XP SP2 and 2GB of RAM for the plug-in to function, but if you edit video regularly, you should have something beefier than that regardless. An Intel Core i5 or i7 will treat you far better, as will having something more like 6-8GB of RAM and Windows 7. A dedicated graphics card is also helpful. I tested the software on both an older AMD Phenom 9550 powered system and a newer Intel Core i5. Both are running Windows 7 and both have 6GB of RAM.
I did all my testing of VitaScene V2 inside Sony Vegas Pro 11.0. Effects are added by either clicking the Event FX icon on a specific clip, or by clicking the Track FX button to apply them globally to all clips in the video track. With over 600 effects included in VitaScene, I obviously can’t review every single one, so I’ll go over the highlights.
VitaScene Effects Offer Outstanding Granularity of Control
One of the best things about VitaScene effects is the granularity of control you get in configuring the effect. In the screenshot below, I’m using the Bloom Light Rays to give the surf crashing into the rocks a slightly magical appearance. All the light ray effects do a great job of identifying very light objects in a shot and then allow sort of glowing rays to extend from the light. Typically this would be a light source, but I thought it would be fun to toy with the surf, so I used it in a slightly unconventional way, by making the sea foam shoot rays of light.
Customization options are the thing that really sets VitaScene apart for competing products. With the various ray effects, for example, you can adjust the length of the rays, set the level of flicker, and adjust the threshold to make sure the light rays are focused where you want them. You can also alter the method of detection, so you get rays extending from exactly the areas on screen you want to enhance.
VitaScene Transitions Allow for Artistry
For the James Bond Transition I used in the screenshot below, Vitascene allows you to adjust the size of the iris used, the sharpness, and offers full control over the starting point of the circle. This level of control means you can draw the viewer’s eye to exactly what you want them to see on screen, rather than being stuck with whatever default the transition creator decided was best. Here again, the level of control provided by ProDAD in VitaScene far exceeds most other products I’ve used.
VitaScene Text Effects Make Motion Titles Easy
The third area where VitaScene provides an effective solution for video editing is in adding effects to text. Depending on what your video editing solution is, you may or may not have any motion title options. Using something like After Effects can be overkill in most situations. VitaScene sits right in that sweet spot, providing enough motion titling to allow you to get creative, without needing to break out the big guns and spend a day doing nothing but building motion titles. I would be inclined to use VitaScene just for this one feature, particularly beacuse I’m generally disappointed with the motion title capabilities of Sony Vegas.
Room for Improvement
One of the biggest things ProDAD could improve across their entire product line is better English language menus. Notice that the custom settings area is called “Specialisation”. The company is based in Germany, but considering the size of the English language market for video editing software, this really should be a priority. At the same time, the effects rock, so I’m willing to overlook a few spelling a localization oddities.
While each video editing solution offers a handful of effects and transitions, they always come up short. VitaScene plugs in to make your job editing video easier, providing a nice toolset filled with options. While the VitaScene V2 Pro price is a bit of an investment, it pays for itself fairly quickly when you consider the amount of time it can save in getting just the right look for your video project.