Online Review: Montage v1.0,
We will dive directly to the main
findings on Montage v1.0, the brand new audio and video montage software
During a couple of sessions, we tested Montage to the bone. Already
after some hours of working with this new package of Arboretum, we asked
ourselves a basic question: what kind of software is this? Well, to
be honest: we still don't know for sure. Is it an audio editor and arranger?
Yes, and no. You can arrange and edit audio to some extent, but not
as suffisticated as an audio editor should be able to. Is it a post
production tool for audio? More or less, but not totally. You can post
produce audio, but the effects are limited to those that come in the
box. Other plug ins are not possible. Is it a video production package?
Hmmmmm...... yes, and no, again. You can arrange video clips and apply
a bunch of effects to them. But not as complex as other video editors
can. OK, then what is it? We will try to explain.
First of all: the basic concept of Montage is absolutely OK. The idea:
provide musicians with a tool they can use to produce video clips along
their music. Further more, provide the user with an easy to understand,
intuitive user interface. Creative people do not want to read manuals,
they want to be creative and produce right after the software is installed,
remember? Well, with Montage you can. It took us about ten minutes to
get the basic idea of working with this software, which is very quickly.
With Montage, you basically work like this:
- you import your audio production
- you import the video clips or images and arrange them along the audio,
you apply effects to video and audio by selecting the part you want
to be effected and then choose one of the available effects,
- you preview your production in the View window.
It is just as easy as that. No hassle with complex positioning: just
drag the stuff where you want it to appear in your audio or video production,
using a free and intuitive user interface.
This screenshot of the user interface shows the video images in the
upper half, and the audio track in the lower half. The parts with orange
tabs are the effects for both video and audio, applied to certain parts
of the production. All are non-destructive, so you can experiment around
as much as you like without ruining the original audio or video.
Both video and audio fragments have handles to position them, or you
can drag the clips any direction you want. The clips do not have to
be in a horizontal sequential position: you can position your stuff
any way you like, as shown below in the screenshot of the same test
The user interface provides basic stuff like popup menu, snap to grid
(or not), time reel on top including snapping to the time reel, and
the like. Enough to navigate you quickly and easily through your video
or audio production.
In this screen shot you see the Time window, that -in this case- shows
the start, end and duration of the selected clip (black). The green
marker shows where the production should start, and the red one where
it should end. The blue one shows the current position. The gray ones
are markers you can snap your audio and/or video clip to.
* Hyperprism and Ray Gun Pro in action.
Ray Gun Pro.
Ray Gun Pro is Arboretums flag ship for audio restoration for OS X.
Ray Gun Pro is built for cleaning up scratchy vinyl, tape hiss, noisy
dialog, HVAC noise, and any track with poor sonic quality. Ray Gun Pro
offers extensive control over individual parameters for more demanding
applications. This plug in contains a new, state-of the-art noise reduction
engine with attack and decay sliders for better tuning of speech, percussion,
and sustained sounds. "Noise prints" allow users to select
a noise filter for specific audio problems, and the noise equalizer
offers low, mid, and high threshold sliders to raise or lower the noise
threshold in one of the three bands relative to the global noise threshold.
We found Ray Gun Pro very effective and well working.
Hyperprism is a standalone program offering more than 40 audio processes
- a virtual rack of effects that can be "played" much like
any musical instrument. Built for electronic music production, film/video,
broadcast, and multimedia sound design.
Hyperprism's distinctive Blue Window™ permits easy gestural control
of every effect parameter. You can change the resonance and cutoff of
a filter, or the mix and regeneration of a reverb simultaneously, with
a single mouse movement of the white dot shown in the screen shot above.
Hyperprism for OS X includes: Auto Pan, Band Pass, Band Reject, Bass
Maximizer, Chorus, Compressor, Doppler, Double Chorus , Echo, EchoTranz™,
Flanger, Formant Pitch Shifter, Frequency Shifter, Hall Reverb, Harmonic
Exciter, High Pass, High Shelf , HyperPhaser™, HyperVerb™,
Limiter, Low Pass, Low Shelf, More Stereo, M-S Matrix, Multi Delay,
New!! Multi Phaser , Noise Gate, Noise Generator, Parametric, EQ, Phaser,
Quasi Stereo, Ring Modulator, Single Delay, Sonic Decimator™,
Stereo Dynamics, Tremolo, Tube/Tape Saturator, and Vibrato. Those of
you that already know the OS 9 version of Hyperprism will underline
our findings: Hyperprism is a strong tool that gives you a full range
of audio enhancement of all kinds mentioned above. Very good.
Will these plug ins run separately?
No. For this initial release, Ray Gun Pro OS X will only run as plug-ins
within the Montage environment. Ray Gun Pro OS X will be available as
Audio Units plug-in in the next upgrade release, ready to be used as
stand alone plug-in under applications that can cope with the Audio
Units plug in format of OS X. The same goes for Hyperprism. Audio Units
-by the way- is the new Apple plug-in format that is proposed as a standard
for all OS X audio related applications.
When you production reaches its final state, it is time for a puzzle:
in what format will you save your production. When only sound is involved,
your choice is quickly made: AIF, WAV, System 7 sound for Apple, or
uLaw. No MP3, for that matter. And no SD II... Idea for the next release?
When video is involved, you will have to do some extra thinking, especially
when you consider to stream your stuff over the internet. This needs
some extra knowledge, which is not explained in detail in the html help
files that come with Montage. The help files give you a good explanation
of all functions in Montage, but do not provide deeper info to help
you get going on the question"what settings should I use for what
situation". Maybe Arboretum can do some extra work here: most creatives
are not that well educated when it comes to this kind of important stuff
Below are two screen shots that show you all options when exporting
your production to the rest of the world.
Is this product finished?
Yes, and no. Meaning: the basic concept is good, what it has to offer
works fine. Montage 1.0 cab best be considered as a easy to use basic
tool for post production of audio and audio + video. Basic: the features
are not very rich, but basically enough to get you on the road. So,
in this perspective, Montage is a finished product. But we feel the
product is not complete somehow and has far more potential, most certainly
when looking at the way you can work this software in an intuitive and
creative way. To our opinion some more video effects would not be a
too great luxury. On the technical level: the developers still have
some programming and debugging to do, since the application crashed
several times during work. It just broke down and vanished into thin
air, dragging the non saved modifications in the test production with
it. No auto backup saved. As far as we are concerned, a commercial sold
product should not carry these kind of bugs. Another thing is that VST
plug ins are not supported, so all you can work with are the two plug
ins that come embedded within Montage. That may be enough for some,
for us this is too basic.
If we had to rate this product for it's very good user interface, a
8,5 to 9 would be the result. However, the -to our opinion- too basic
set you get lowers the overall rating. Plus the fact that Montage crashed
several times during testing. Plus the fact that VST is not supported,
thus limiting the audio manipulation functionality to only the embedded
plug ins. Which is a too small basis, to our opinion. Montage has great
potential, but still has some growing to do. Therefore, the overall
rating goes to 7,5. When Arboretum
can manage to let grow Montage to a more mature state, the next upgrade
or release will most certainly raise to a higher rating. The potential
is there, absolutely!
By the way, if you're interested: here are the audio files we used testing
Montage. We won't show you the video: it's too embarrassing. We are
audio guys, without any video creativity gifts ;-):
Pricing and downloads are available on the producers website:
There is an upgrade
to version 1.1.1 available here.
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter
J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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