Review - CHV - Animated backgrounds

September 27, 2004

CHV Animations - Animated Backgrounds

3 DVDs with 113 rendered background animations
in broadcast quality, to be used with Motion, DVD Studio Pro and FCP.

Worlds Volume 1
Backgrounds Volume 1
Backgrounds Volume 2
$129.00 each sold separately
Bundle includes all 3 DVDs for $249.00

Review By Steve Douglas

The regular viewer of TV news and the watcher of TV commercials everywhere barely blinks at the sometimes exotic, often colorful but always omnipresent series of background animations streaking through the bottom of their TV sets and lurking in the background behind news reporters, Crazy Eddie Stereo commercials and a heap of other products that are constantly barraging us with their medical miracle hemorrhoid cream, Turtle Suck Vacuum cleaners, Sugar Charged Breakfast cereals and Mighty Mite Car Washers. So why do we watch such nonsense? What really keeps our eyes glued to that hypnotic screen as our couches develop permanent wells that fit us oh so good? Subconsciously we are probably pulled in by those incredibly fascinating animations that seem to be present in every one of them.

For many editors, taking the time to develop original gradients, lower thirds and animated backgrounds simply don't fit into the workflow as they try to meet an important deadline. While there are many companies producing excellent animated backgrounds, which help the editor greatly in reducing the time spent on a production, there is the consideration of cost. They are expensive. Depending on how often they are used, they might not be cost effective if you only use one or two in a collection.

CHV-Electronics and Christoph Vonrhein has just recently released a new collection of three separate DVDs all of which easily compare in their quality to the higher cost animated background specialty companies and they come to you at a significant savings to boot. In addition, you will find that the originality of these backgrounds will easily set them apart from many of CHV's competitors.

Each DVD collection has its own unique theme and comes complete with from 34 to 40 animations in both 720 x 480 NTSC and 720 x 576 PAL, as well as from 90 to 108 high-resolution images that open up in Photoshop. All animations will work seamlessly with all major non-linear editing systems either Apple or PC.

The first volume of World Animations has superbly unique spinning world animations like I have never seen before in any other collection. Included in this collection are alpha channel shots for each of the animations.


Like many collections of this type there is always the redundancy of similarity between several of the animations. Often the only thing different between clips is the color and hue. This can be expected as par for the course. In the CHV collection I found this to be especially true on the Backgrounds Vol. 1 DVD.


This DVD lends itself to some unique ice like spinning textures. While they do stand out in that regard, I'm not sure what type of production I might use them in. Many seemed to be similar except for the colors used. Note should be taken here that similarities between animations is fairly common in any collection that I have seen. Sometimes the direction of the movement, and a change in hue and shade are the only differences found. There are no alpha channels with this DVD or its sister DVD Vol. 2, as they are meant to be full screen backgrounds. However, it would be a fairly simple process to make your own lower thirds using almost any of them.

The third DVD of this synopsis is the Background Animations Vol. 2, which provides an interesting array of colors, lights, geometric shapes and movement. Since the screen grabs shown here cannot do the animated clips justice you will have to use your imagination a bit at this point in the review. Never the less, I found many of the animations provided in Vol. 2 to be quite attractive and very usable.


Every collection of animated clips, regardless of the company, will have several that you might use and some that simply sit there waiting to be called up. The three new DVDs from CHV are no different. I found a goodly number that I look forward to incorporating into projects and some that presently I doubt I could use. Taste is subjective and the needs of a project demand a diversity of tools. A diversity of interesting and useful animations at a nominal cost can easily be found in any of these first three DVDs to come from CHV Electronics. I genuinely look forward to seeing what Christoph will come out with next.

Click on image for 1 meg dnl'

Click on image for 1 meg dnl'

Click on image for 1 meg dnl'

Steve Douglas has been an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. The winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition and the 2003 IVIE competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", recently contributed footage to the Seaworld parks for their new Atlantis production, and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both African safari and underwater filming expeditions with upcoming filming excursions to Thailand, Costa Rica and Kenya. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining him on these trips.


Review copyright © Steve Douglas 2004

© 2000 -2004 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Final Cut Pro, Macintosh and Power Mac
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

All screen captures, images, and textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.