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Everyone into the Pool
To install Video Explosion, merely pop the first of its four discs into your CD drive and follow the instructions. Its interface confines key utilities to a single, icon-based window that should look familiar to Vegas Video users (Video Explosion borrows technology from Vegas developer Sonic Foundry) but may overwhelm others. You'll find pull-down menus and a toolbar across the top of the screen, a track information area and a timeline view where you view and edit video below that, a video preview and a Media Pool window at the bottom (more on this later), and plenty of cryptic commands and buttons throughout. Fortunately, Video Explosion features pop-up text assistants and no fewer than 30 exceptional tutorials to help you get acquainted.
We love the Media Pool, a handy window that lets you access and group all of the elements you plan to use in your movie, regardless of format. Once you've assembled the items, you can listen to audio clips and preview stills and video clips before integrating them in your project's timeline. Plus, through various tabs at the top of the Media Pool window, you can select special effects such as scene transitions, text and backdrops, and video modifications such as Gaussian blur, or antique film, then drag and drop them onto the timeline. Such convenience!
Becoming Steven Spielberg
Once you know your way around, you'll find Video Explosion enjoyable and addictive. The package includes 200-plus MP3 music clips, 1,000-plus quickie sound effects, 750 backgrounds and photos, 100 animation sequences, 250 video clips, and scores of top-notch screen transitions--so many, you'll hardly need your own video.
If you do decide to import video, just plug in a DV camcorder, which you can control right from the program. When you're ready to edit, a five-track (two video, three audio) timeline allows pinpoint editing control. You can zoom in and edit frame by frame, create picture-in-picture and superimposed effects, and specify automatic audio and video cross-fades simply by dragging and overlapping clips. The Audio FX button lets you pan and crop audio tracks and spruce them up with reverb, bass and treble adjustments, and much more.
Takes a licking and keeps on ticking
The program ran flawlessly throughout our testing. We successfully rendered completed films in many of Video Explosion's supported formats, including AVI, WMV, MPEG-1, three levels of MPEG-2, and several grades of QuickTime and RealMedia. The program's integrated CD burner worked perfectly, too, as did its e-mail utility, which renders your movie into an e-mail friendly format and lets you send it to whomever you wish. Video Explosion will even warn you if it thinks the file is too large for common e-mail services. Video Explosion Deluxe doesn't offer native DVD authoring, that is, compressing video into DVD format and burning it onto disc. Instead, the app integrates with the enclosed version of Sonic MyDVD for relatively easy DVD burning.
Despite our smooth experience, Video Explosion's confluence of features can lead to questions. We found Nova Development's free, toll-call phone support, available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT, responsive and helpful. They called back within four hours, although our sole e-mail query remained unanswered for a full 24 hours.
Video Explosion Deluxe offers near-professional results for a much lower price than that of a state-of-the-art professional editing application. We recommend it to all but the most demanding--or daunted--PC moviemaker.