V-Track Review

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Gaff tape is an indispensable and versatile part of any electronic artists toolkit. It’s especially useful for wrapping round the lips of the too gadget conscious and those who talk tech underwater. Gaff tape can also help mimic a blind person’s sensitivity to sound, as most sensory deprivation float tank fiends may appreciate. U&I Software undoubtedly have many rolls of gaff tape in their soft-warehaus, having created metasynth which creates sound from images, artmatic which creates animations and now V-Track – a multi-track video art and special effects tool for up to broadcast quality video and DVD authoring.

Breakin’ It Down
Basically: V-Track is a video sequencer of sorts which intends to bridge all of the U&I software apps, sequencing both audio and visual elements from any of their apps to produce customised video, transition and titling effects. With easy bpm grid-structures, VTrack’s tools, effects and interface make particularly suited for creating music video, with lots of post-production scope for anyone wanting to tweak it’s parameters til things melt n’ mutate.

VTrack can be used either as a standalone video editor/sequencer for creating and rendering high-resolution, professional-quality QuickTime output or alongside traditional editing software. The built-in tempo-based grid makes VTrack especially well-suited for creating music-based video, and each of VTrack’s eight tracks can have its own transfer mode, allowing complex track interactions not easily implemented with traditional video editing tools.

So you’ve got these 8-tracks right, and you can mix QuickTime movies, DV streams, still images, and custom effects and animations from U&I’s Artmatic software, but what makes V-track any different or better than say adobe premiere, final cut pro, after fx or other video editing software? Mostly it’s simplicity, the one window V-Track interface benefiting from Eric Wenger’s (Bryce) simple and intuitive design, and an easy learning curve that gets you remixing pretty quickly. While it lacks the depth of control of the above software, it does allow an endless variety of special effects, filters and transitions to be created, by the way it integrates the ArtMatic rendering engine into it’s sequencing. ArtMatic Pro ‘systems’ can be imported into VTrack and used to process VTrack’s tracks.

VTrack also provides a powerful built-in library of video effects, and the VTrack CD includes a library of over 3,000 ArtMatic presets that can be used in VTrack projects to provide decorative elements, special effects and a huge range of transition effects and color processes.

What You Need
mac os 8.6 or later, recommended g4 but works ok on g3/333. And cash – yer lookin’ at US$249 for a web delivered app, $US299 for a CD-ROM $299 and US $499 for a version bundled with the ArtMatic graphics and animation synthesizer.

Bonus Points
A very easy intuitive interface and learning curve that lets you make interesting video quickly.

Buggy Bits
U&I claim cutting-edge motion graphics, but some of the effects lack customisation and control and suffer from a little cheesiness? In the end it’s a powerful and easy to learn tool that is a useful addition to any vid-headz toolshak. See http://www.uisoftware.com for more.

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