PhotoBase is ArcSoft's new multimedia
file-management application that has replaced its retail version of the
popular MediaBrowser. The new program not only incorporates the finest
features of MediaBrowser, but also offers many additional features for
both the professional user and the amateur photography buff. It's obvious
too that ArcSoft has taken feedback and "lessons learned" from users of
MediaBrowser to heart, and while PhotoBase offers much more functionality,
its interface is quite simple and surprisingly uncluttered.
put, PhotoBase is a file-managing program that helps you organize and present
multimedia files. It provides a way of quickly and easily creating slide
shows, Web albums and video "postcards". There are some photo "correction"
tools included, as well as the means to print contact sheets for quick
image referencing. Those who've never had occasion to develop their own
film might not be familiar with the term "contact sheet". In "hard-copy
language", it's an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of photo paper on which photographers
develop several strips of negatives, creating small (thumbnail) positives
that they (or their editors) can see well enough to choose the best shots
for publication. In PhotoBase, the term contact sheet still refers to a
page, or file, of thumbnail images.
The program allows you to acquire files from various sources, such as
digital cameras, scanners, video devices and removable media. The unique
"album" structure of the program makes it easy to organize, categorize
and access all of your photo files. Just as with your old "hard copy" photo
albums, you can create wedding albums, vacation albums, baby albums, etc.
Image acquisition and organization tasks in PhotoBase owe much of their
simplicity to the "tree view". Similar to Windows Explorer, you can use
it to browse all the drives and folders on your system. Notice the top
folder, My Albums, which is where all your PhotoBase albums would be listed.
An easy-to-use toolbar near the top of the PhotoBase desktop allows
you to manage albums; acquire images; e-mail images; transfer files to
handheld devices; and create the slide shows, web albums and video postcards.
The Web albums can be shared with friends and family via a Web page. A
video postcard is basically a video version of the familiar e-greeting
I could not find PhotoBase locally or anywhere on the Internet except
at the ArcSoft online store, <www.arcsoft.com/store>, where it retails
for $49.99. Not that much more than MediaBrowser's $30 price tag two years
ago, especially when you consider the additional features it offers.
You can call ArcSoft (510-440-9901) or e-mail support (email@example.com).
The Web site provides an "email support" form that I used when trying to
find MediaBrowser. I received a prompt, friendly response explaining why
I couldn't find it, along with the name and link to the "similar" PhotoBase
application as well as several other links to useful information. (Anyone
wishing a forward of the response with hyperlinks included can email
me.) In light of my own experience, I would say the quality of ArcSoft's
tech support is exceptional.
Unfortunately, ArcSoft does not offer a trial version of PhotoBase.
The online documentation is excellent, however. A detailed, illustrated
PDF manual is available for download and provides an excellent overview
of the program, including illustrations. The interface is surprisingly
simple —unusual for a program with this many features.
Windows 98, ME. 2000, XP; Pentium II or equivalent; 64 MB RAM (128 MB recommended); 100 MB free hard disk space; 16-bit (or higher) color display; and Apple QuickTime 4.0 (or above) for MOV file support.