July 21, 2008

Two New HD Footage Collections from Artbeats

Grow 2HD - $1,099
Liquid Ambience 2 HD $1099.00

Review by Steve Douglas

Flat out and hands down, Artbeats continues to produce some of the very finest royalty free footage available. Their ever-growing library of collections has evolved into the standard by which other collections should be judged. These two collections, Grow! 2 HD and Liquid Ambience 2 HD offer pristine shots, a good variety of clips, and beautiful color saturation.

The Grow! 2 HD collection consists of 26 1920 x 1080 clips shot in progressive mode with an HD Still Camera at 29.97fps. The clips in this collection vary in length from 10 to 41 seconds and average out to close to 17.5 seconds per clip for the full collection. With these HD clips come some large file sizes ranging from 28MBs to 240MBs depending upon the clip. The time lapse clips of flowers blooming, unfurling, growing from the soil, using both exotic plants as well as your gorgeous rose are breath taking.


From the common dandelion to the exotic plant, watching them grow and unfurl is a movie in itself.


Growth in reverse presents another perspective as we have with this clip.

The Liquid Ambience 2 HD collection is just as eye catching in its own way. Shot using high-speed digital video at 1000 fps, the 35 individual clips in this collection are beautiful to look at. The slow motion effects create an ethereal ambience with water flowing as if it were honey gently swirling, and rippling. Useful in any number of ways, the clips from Liquid Ambience would serve beautifully as liquid backgrounds.



You wouldn't imagine that liquid could have such grace until viewing many of these clips.

As with all Artbeats collections, smaller file, low-resolution clips are included on the disc for quicker access when searching for just the right clip to use in a production. Once found, the HD clip is simply copied from the disc to your hard drive and then imported to your project. I would not recommend playing the large file, HD clip directly off the disc. The smaller preview clips can be played directly from the disc, however, with little, if any, stuttering. The glossy poster which helped identify clips is no longer included in the package but can be located on the disc itself for initial viewing. Personally, I prefer having the poster for easy initial identification of each clip and bemoan its loss. However, you can print your own copy off the disc, it won't be thick or glossy but will serve just fine for clip identification purposes. I did not like having to mount a disc, finding the card, looking up the clip I wanted only to find that it was on the other disc. Never the less that is certainly no deal breaker in deciding which collection would be best for you.

After import into FCP, if I changed my playback frame rate to half and playback quality to medium, I could then watch the clip in real time. Otherwise, rendering is necessary and the rendering time would really depend upon the compositing or other effects or text that one might apply. For me, a straight render took only seconds.

While both of these HD collections do not contain the same number of clips as their SD counterpart collections, I am pleased that the number of clips included has greatly increased over previous collections I have reviewed. Then again, so has the cost of each collection. For the producer on a budget, buying an entire collection is not necessary as each clip can be purchased separately for $300 per clip via the Artbeats website and downloaded as Quicktime.mov files, however, you would not get the low res clip along with it as you do when purchasing the disc. The low res clips really are useful for quick and easy searching for the clip to fit your project.

My bottom line is simply that, for the Artbeats Grow 2 HD, we have all seen various slow motion clips of flowers blooming before but many videographers simply do not have either the equipment or know how to re-produce the effect themselves. If the need for such a shot is there, you just couldn't go wrong with the purchase of Grow 2HD. The quality is absolutely the finest I have seen. For those looking for an almost hypnotic background for text or other compositing needs, the Artbeats Liquid Ambience 2 HD also fits the bill perfectly with excellent color, gorgeous motion and a variety of reflections, lighting and liquid nature.




Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and other networks. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Indonesia and the Coco Islands, Costa Rica in 2008, Kenyan safari in Africa and the Red Sea for 2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com


copyright © Steve Douglas 2008

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