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Digital Juice Has The Goods

Music and graphics to help your productions pop By Dennis Radeke

How many times have you been looking for the right clip to make your production shine?  Or have you spent hours mangling a piece of video into some kind of motion background to lay over titles or video?  Well, I think a lot of us have at different times sweated over making something for the project.  For those of us who have who dont have the expertise or the time to do it, Digital Juice comes to the rescue. 

Digital Juice has been around for a long time and theyve started expanding their repertoire by moving into audio libraries and stock footage.  I took a look at three of their newer products: The Editors Toolkits 2 & 3 (wedding) as well as the first two of their StackTraxx audio products. 

Start it up
Having been an audio guy for many years I can be critical of a poorly produced song or a bad recording.  Digital Juices first foray into audio was to purchase a library from someone else and remarket it as BackTraxx.  While these recordings are comprehensive in their styles and are more than adequate in many situations, I couldnt help but feel a little disappointed in some of the tracks.  In many ways, Digital Juice has built up a reputation as putting out top notch products and I was excited about them expanding into a related field like audio libraries.  So, what was the audio going to be like on StackTraxx? 

Yo, theyre phat!
The StackTraxx library, while more specialized, is in my opinion Digital Juices first true entry into audio libraries.  It represents the quality I've come to expect from them, except in this case its via the recording quality and music arrangement, not swirling After Effects animations.

Simply put, these tracks are awesome in whatever genre they go after -- Techno, 80s Rock, Gothic Metal, Industrial.  Some emphasize guitars while others are dripping with analog synth textures.  Are they really that good?  Yes.  Are there some turkeys in there?  Again, yes, but overall these tracks have a consistency of quality that makes me able to recommend them.

If youre looking for country music or some plain vanilla tracks, these are not for you.  They are full of energy, and if youre looking for just bed music in the background, then the BackTraxx or other library might be more up your alley.  On the other hand, if youre looking for a piece of music which will drive your video edit, then look no further.  These tracks have a variety and energy that are hard to match.

Digital Juice has gone beyond just providing a solid library of specialized music.  When putting the package together, they took the time to create five versions of each piece.  While not unique, Ive seen libraries that provide the one track and leave it up to you to cut it down.  Besides the full length piece (usually about 3-4 minutes long), Digital Juice has created 1 minute, 30 second, 15 and 10 second versions.  One other thing to look at is Digital Juice's integration of its audio libraries into the Juice application.  In addition to providing CD tracks that can be ripped into your computer, Digital Juice has provided a single DVD with the entire library accessible via the Juicer application.

A Juicy History (not really, I couldnt resist this though!)
Starting back several years ago with Motion Backs, Digital Juice built a reputation for high quality and originality.  With the advent of the Jump Backs series (20 volumes and counting) the company's animations started showing up everywhere including the major networks and broadcasters. 

The thing that first impressed me when I saw the initial three volumes of Jump Backs was the artistic quality of these products.  It turns out these guys are always looking for top animators and actually have art directors to guide (maybe push?) animators to create their best.  I enquired about what kind of software products were used to create them and wasnt surprised to hear that it included Photoshop, After Effects, Lightwave, 3D StudioMax and Combustion.

All of the animations are rendered at 60 fps progressive -- the Juicer fields them as necessary.  They aspect ratio is 720x576 PAL/SECAM resolution but the Juicer scales to NTSC D1/DV.  Prior to Digital Juice doing a final composite all sub-renders were stored in TGA or PNG sequences so the highest image quality was used at all times.

The Juicer application is a neat little tool that allows you to quickly preview any and all audio and video Digital Juice libraries and output to whatever codec you need for your NLE.  On top of that, it allows for batch outputting, alpha keys and colorizing.

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Related Keywords:clip, production, video, motion background, titles, Digital Juice, stock music, graphics, StackTraxx library

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