Okay, listen up all you budding Hollywood, MTV, and recording directors and producers,
this month’s review is on Video Deluxe from Magix
Software. It is, as you might guess, a video and audio software studio.
This is an all-in-one video creator, editor, mixer, and e-mail ready program.
With this powerful, yet reasonably priced program, you can record video,
edit video, add special effects, lay down an audio soundtrack, mix video,
add subtitles, import and export files, mix audio, and export your little
opus to your e-mail to share with all your adoring fans.
System requirements are many, and are as follows: for Digital
video recording and export (i.e. via DV camcorder) – Pentium II 266 or
better, 64 MB of RAM (128 recommended), hard disk with a file transfer
rate of 4 MB/s, OHCI compatible IEEE-1394 DV capture card (Firewire) with
Microsoft DirectX8a, and Microsoft Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, or XP. For
Analog video Recording and export (i.e. 8mm or VHS camcorder) – Pentium
II 400Mhz or better, 128 MB of RAM, USB port or “Video for Windows” or
Direct Show compatible video card, TV card, or graphics card, and Microsoft
Windows 95, 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, NT, or XP. For MIDI integration you need
a MIDI interface or a sound card with a MIDI synthesizer as well as the
appropriate drivers (MIDI mapper). For Video Mail – standard e-mail
software such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. General requirements
are 200 MB of free disk space, 5 GB of free disk space for video files
created, SVGA graphics card with a minimum resolution of 800x600, 4 MB
of RAM, 16 bit high color, 16 bit sound card with Windows drivers, CD-ROM
drive, and a Microsoft compatible mouse. Whew. . .that was a mouthful.
Okay, having gotten all of specs out of the way, we can proceed. Installation
was a snap on my HP P4 2.26 Mhz with 512 MB of RAM computer. Once that
was done came the hard part, figuring out what to do next! To tell you
the truth, this was my first attempt at playing Spielberg, and boy do I
have a new found respect for all those creative geniuses. Upon running
the program for the first time, you are offered the opportunity to watch
an instructive on screen demo. It is pretty short and pretty fast and pretty
much a waste of time. At least you get to see some the great effects you
will one day be able to create. After this, I tackled the manual. The manual
is very detailed, but unfortunately, not very well written. It starts out
with another quick attempt at getting you up and running, but this is kind
of like putting the cart before the horse. It tells you what buttons to
push, but doesn’t tell you what they mean or how to best use them. Later
on in the manual you get a very good in-depth explanation of what each
one of these buttons and tile bars do, but again it is piecemeal and hard
to follow. I finally just started experimenting with files and sounds and
was able to create some productions well worthy of a near-sighted, tone
deaf artist. Ludwig is probably rolling over in his tomb.
In any case this program has a fairly high learning curve, with or without
a great tutorial. The great redeeming quality of this program is that it
is just so much fun. I had a great time playing with all of the video and
audio files and special effects. One can create video transitions, fades,
distortions, text edits, sound effects, wav and MP3 backgrounds,
equalizer mixes, and the program can even create its own soundtracks
that you can manipulate in any number of ways. Once you are happy with
your video, you can save and record it to your hard drive, camcorder, or
even your VCR with the proper equipment. One can save the file as an AVI,
MPG1 or MPG2, MXV (Magix Video), MOV, WMA (Windows Media Video), BMP, JPEG,
RM (Real Media), and DV Stream (for NTSC or PAL). You may also export it
directly to a Power Point presentation or attach it to e-mail.
Support is available online
and by fax at 310-656-0234 and by toll free phone at 888-866-2449.
In summary, Video Deluxe more than lives up to its promises and is an
especially good program for those in the beginner to intermediate experience
category. It is available in most local software outlets such as Comp USA
or Best Buy, and the MSRP is less than $50.00. The only thing you have
to remember is that you will need to devote a fair amount of time to reading
the manual and experimenting with the features, but it seems a small price
to pay for all the enjoyment you are sure to get after you have mastered
it and are churning out your own little productions of Citizen Crane
or Long Gone with the Wind.