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New, cheaper Digital Juice Jump Backs 21-25 Review

Dress Up Your Videos with new, cheaper Digital Juice Jump Backs, Volumes 21-24 Review By Jeffrey P. Fisher

Jump Backs are Digital Juice's high-quality, seamlessly looping animations typically designed as video backgroundsover which to float titles, graphics, PIP video, and so forth. They are an efficient and cost-effective way to make your videos look snazzier fast. Jump Backs lend themselves to a bevy of compositing and other creative techniques and also to DVD authoring where their repeating nature anchors menus nicely.

Digital Juice recently released four new Jump Back volumes, JB21 High Impact VIII, JB22 Global Impact, JB23 Clean Streak, and JB24 Tunnel Vision. More importantly, they unleashed an enticing new pricing structure for all their products, too. Jump Backs, formerly priced at $249 per volume, are now only $99 each or you can buy a ten-pack bundles for $499.

Backgrounds and more

Each Jump Back volume includes 40 animations all built around common themes and/or looks. With 25 volumes available today, you can choose from a whopping 1000 animated Jump Backs. Before you start cutting your next project, make sure you browse Digital Juice's Jump Backs for inspiration. There's plenty here to get excited about and you just might find the high-quality video elements you need to make your projects better.

Jump Backs come packaged in a CD/DVD wallet that slides into a compact, sturdy case. The wallet has a full-color reference to the animations printed on it except it doesn't indicate which files are on what discs (some volumes have up to five discs). One small complaint, my Jump Backs cases had a funny smell, probably from the printing process, that was unusually overpowering at first.

Each disc is a combination video/data DVD. Pop it into your computer to preview and/or retrieve the contents or drop it into a set-top DVD player. The DVD player versions come prefaced by a countdown -- very handy for "live" roll-ins. However, you can't access the individual MPEG-2 files. Instead, extra folders on each DVD hold the Jump Backs as NTSC DV (.avi and .mov formats) and PAL PNG (.mov format). An additional folder contains first frames, saved at PAL resolution in Targa format, that are perfect for static backgrounds (Powerpoint users take note).

For further processing, use the Juicer 2 software included free with your Jump Backs. Of course, if you like what you see as is, and can import a provided format, then just grab those files you need right off the DVDs, put them on your hard drive, and add them to your video projects. Since most NLEs give you tremendous control over how your video looks, you can bypass the Juicer 2 completely and rely on your NLE instead. 

Get Juiced!

The Juicer 2 is a keyword searchable browser to all the Digital Juice products you own. Always update your Juicer 2 software using the disc provided with your latest acquisition. After that, install previews by inserting disc one of whatever product you wish to add and then choose File > Install previews. This adds the index to your Jump Backs and gives you the option of placing motion previews on your hard drive. If you don't install these previews, you'll only see stills in the Juicer 2. If desired, leave the motion previews off, but you must remember to insert the first disc back in when using the Juicer 2 in order to see the previews in motion.

If you do decide to use the Juicer 2 for batch processing your Jump Backs, the software gives you control over length, playback speed, frames per second, and resolution. Since the Juicer 2 processes the PAL 720x576 PNG format, avoid going any higher resolution than that. The Juicer 2 software also flips (horizontal or vertical) and rotates Jump Backs. Use the colorize function to specify specific color values and therefore match the look of Jump Backs to other elements in your production.

Juicer 2's element mode lets you crop, resize, and reposition Jump Backs to create lower-thirds or other overlays. In this case, the Juicer 2 supports rendering the alpha (or transparent) channel with control over the output format and storage location. Best of all, you can set default processing for all your Jump Backs so that every time you drag one to the Juicer 2 batch window, your custom processing and render settings automatically come up.


JB21 High Impact VIII

This latest volume in the high impact category doesn't disappoint. These Jump Backs are all about big, bold colors in constant motion. There's nothing subtle here. This volume includes a robust mix of undulating light rays, brilliant auroras, glowing mists, and their ilk. Few of these animation are well-defined; most are just colorful washes perfect for backgrounds over which to float text and graphics. Many entries in JB21 are well-suited for using within titles via a luminance masked composite, too. With some resizing and repositioning, this set will make several interesting lower-thirds too.

JB21-827 is a Matrix-inspired knockoff while JB21-833 is a fun countdown complete with messed up and scratchy film effects after the "1". Unfortunately, real countdowns stop at the first frame of 2, but that doesn't diminish the attempt here. For a particular TV station, JB21-855 features the number 5 quite predominantly (unfortunately, the Juicer 2 doesn't let you change it to another number).

The animations are lengthy, ranging from 10 to 27 seconds, with the majority around 20 seconds. That's leaves plenty of time for the Jump Backs to evolve without seeming too loopy. Of course, you can speed up or slow them down using your NLE and/or the Juicer 2. When you need some instant eye candy, make sure you audition JB21 High Impact VIII first. 

JB22 Global Impact

This volume is a wonderful collection of, you guessed it, globes. The animations range from 10 up to 40 seconds before the seamless loop point. There is a terrific range of styles and presentations making this single theme quite versatile. If you can't find a good Earth graphic here, it probably doesn't exist.

Some of these Jump Backs seem to work better in composites with other elements, however quite a few stand on their own without needing any tweaks whatsoever. For example, I can see the major news networks jumping all over JB22-869, JB22-877, JB22-888, and JB22-902.

Two particular files, JB22-868 and JB22-879 stand out for me. Both feature lines that arc and jump from city to city as the world rotates. This versatile animation could represent travel, communications, the Web, etc. I'm working on a video now about a company's global expansion and will be using these two Jump Backs very soon. Another cool entry is JB22-885 with its  molecular model motif. This one alone is worth having and using at any price (and the lower $99 per volume price is a steal)!

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Related Keywords:animation, video, Digital Juice, Jump Backs, compositing, titles, titling, NLE, editing, backgrounds

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