PRODUCTS: Digital Juice Swipes; SmartSound SonicFire Pro 4
PRICE: Swipes ($99 per volume); SonicFire Pro 4 (Standard Edition, $199; Network Edition $299)
Stock libraries of all kinds — be it photo, video, audio or animations — can allow you to incorporate subject matter that you might not be able to produce yourself or that are too cost prohibitive to produce in-house. As with anything else you might purchase, the old saying, "You get what you pay for," also rings true with stock libraries. You can buy stock collections for under $50, but don't expect much. To get the good stuff, expect prices to start at $100 per volume and go up from there. These collections and libraries are well worth it, though. They can enable you to get your projects done on time and on budget, and can also add polish to your productions.
One of these collections is the newly released Swipes library from Digital Juice (www.digitaljuice.com). "Swipes" stands for "sound wipes." It is a collection of animated transitions with matching sound effects files. Each Swipe comes with two matched sound effects, one primary and one alternate. The quality of the Swipes library is incredible, and its obvious Digital Juice put a lot of time and effort into developing this new product. The Swipes collection launched with 10 volumes, including Wild Water, Particle Wonders and Broadcast Edge. Each volume includes 60 animated wipes — 30 in SD (in NTSC and PAL) and 30 in HD — and 60 matched sound effects (two per wipe). Individual volumes sell for $99 dollars each and at that price are a steal. If you sign up at the Digital Juice Website for their email newsletter you'll be notified of their specials and "Deals of the Day," which can offer substantial savings. Their "Mix and Match" specials also allow you to mix Swipes with volumes from other Digital Juice products at great savings. The Digital Juice "Swipes" library will make a valuable addition to any video editor's toolbox. I highly recommend them.
Digital Juice has also recently beefed up its offerings by releasing new volumes in its "Motion Design Elements" library. The Motion Design Elements library now consists of 10 volumes, including Motion Slats and Bars, Spinners, Line Items and, the latest volume, Control Panels. Each volume in the Digital Juice Motion Design Elements library includes 40 to 50 animated files in QuickTime format and are seamlessly loopable. Like everything else Digital Juice makes, the production values are top notch. Each Motion Design Elements volume sells for $99 and would make a great addition to your in-house stock library. You can preview all of the Digital Juice products by visiting the company's Website.
Digital Juice also provides a library browser called the Juicer, which allows you to browse all Digital Juice content, even if it's not currently installed on your system. This makes the Juicer browser a great way to preview content before purchasing it, and the price for the Juicer browser is great too…it's free.
There's also a lot of great music out there, available in royalty-free libraries, and SmartSound's (www.smartsound.com) latest version of Sonicfire Pro (V.4) comes in at the top. While most royalty-free music libraries force you to either edit your video to fit the music or to learn another application in order to edit the music, Sonicfire Pro 4 makes the music fit your video, so there's no need to compromise, and the process is automatic and painless. Sonicfire Pro 4 is a royalty-free music library browser and music editor in one. The browser aspect of Sonicfire Pro 4 allows you to preview content you already own and content you don't, so you can find exactly what you need whether its on your hard drive or not (though you'll need Internet access on your editing workstation in order to browse content you don't own). If you find music you like and don't own it, don't worry. Many of the music files for SmartSound's Sonicfire Pro 4 can be purchased right through the library browser, downloaded to your hard drive and used in your production immediately, so there's no downtime. With SonicFire Pro 4, SmartSound has introduced a new feature called "Mood Mapping." This easy-to-use feature allows you more control over the tempo of your music. Now more than ever, you can customize the music to fit your needs and not the other way around.