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Here's a post to the VLM/DraCo mailing list made by Bob Bennett. January 29, 1999 (Slight editing done)

Good News, guys!

It appears that Michael has come up with a winner on his Virtual Compose "tool". I may never use the COMPOSE operator again! Well... I will, but only for very mundane composing.

I'll be working on a review/guide to put onto DraCoNet in a few weeks (yeah, I know ... you've heard it all before... there's a very rough translation of a tutorial on at http://www.kernersville.com/draconet/evctut.html) but I've got to tell you ... VC is an absolute MUST for all of you serious production houses using the DraCo (I guess it works on VLM, too).

Part of the reason why I waited so long to get this program is that it wasquite difficult to understand what it really does from the web siteinformation. I guess I'm a little slow, but I finally figured out that itwould possibly let me visually set a specific path for a PIP, which I'vereally been wanting for a long time.

It does allow that, and quite nicely at that. You can set "keyframes" along the way, or just the start and end points, or every field along the path ... and any missing frames can be automatically calculated. BUT ... IMHYHAO, there are several other very powerful operations in this program that make it quite outstanding:
  1. Trails -- yes ... we finally have trails for moving PIPs, with excellent control of how long, how many, how frequent and how intense the trails are -- even whether the original image appears to be moving towards or away from the user..
  2. Soft Edges -- with pixel-exact control of the amount of blur.
  3. Soft Outer Borders -- again, size control, as well as RGB color control is easy.
  4. Multiple Functions -- the ability to use just ONE operator to accomplish several smooth movements of a video clip across the screen.
  5. 6. 7., ... ????? There are a number of additional settings and capabilities that I currently don't understand ... either the meaning, or how they actually fit in ... but it appears that terms such as "Korrel", "Power" and "Harmonize" can give even more flexibility

... but I'm sure thatMichael will do his best to help me understand the exact functionalityof such terms. Speaking of terms, you won't find the terms"keyframe", "trails", "soft edges" or "borders" in the programor documentation, but you'll recognize the functions when youuse them.

OH! Also ... I have tested and can confirm that, unlike MonumentDesigner, this very versatile operator can be stacked on top ofitself and still work beautifully. What I find odd about thisis that V.C. appears to use a method pretty much the same as MDto store the information about the settings for each instance ofthe operator. Also, unlike MD, V.C. seems to be much more stable,and has yet to get mixed up about which settings go with which instance of the operator.

And it's fast... 3 layers of Virtual Compose with varied settings ...but all including trails (drawing about 50 images at various alphavalues) and soft or colorized borders ... took about 2 seconds perframe to render on the DraCo. Not bad.

Yes, there are still some unusual little things that English-speakingDraCo owners have come to expect from DraCo products, such asmis-spelling or "technically incorrect" renditions of functionsin English terms, and somewhat foggy explanations. However, Iwould recommend that English speaking users set aside about 3hours to experiment with all the different features so you canget a good feel for it.

And probably one of the best features is that Michael keeps addingfeatures with every update. This is a very creative and extremelyuseful addition to my operator arsenal. So much so that afterusing it for a couple of hours, I can't imagine doing my nextfew projects without it.

Get it! Yes, I think he'lle-mail you a copy for your DraCo, and he's one of the few Europeanvendors that can take VISA, so you can get it right away. (No, Idon't make a commission on it, but you're welcome send me moneyanyway... just because you're glad I recommended it to you! ;-)

I have no idea whether or not this software will work on Amiga/VLMor on any other MovieShop Version than 4.6, although I feel quiteconfident that it should be fine on all 4.3-4.8 versions.
[Steve Bowie confirmed that it does work on MovieShop 5 beta]

Bob Bennett


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