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abaltat muse

Turning what you see into what you hear By Ko Maruyama
Abaltat is not only a gaelic word for talent, but it's a new software from an Irish software company who hopes to help you create unique music based on the video images in your QuickTime movies.  The software isn't a new concept: they debuted last year, but have made some improvements to show off this year at NAB.

I'm not  interested in creating musical scores.  That's not to say that I don't appreciate having fun with music software, but I'd rather spend my hours in front of an animation user interface than using tools like Logic or even Garageband (although they are fun to play with).   When I saw Justin McCarthy's demo at the Final Cut User Group meeting on Wednesday, I knew that I'd have to give it a try.

The next day at the booth, I sat down with Eoin Tonge to get the walkthrough of their flagship: Abaltat Muse.  It's not a very long demo, because it's easy to do - basically, you import a QuickTime movie and press the "compose" button.  Of course there are additional features in the software, but the procedure can be as easy as that.

Abaltat Muse allows users to open their QuickTime movies, and, through software based visual interpretation, generate unique, customized soundtracks.  Although Ababltat Muse is still in its infancy at version 1.1, it is an interesting solution for a quick music placeholder.  From the events and instrument interpretations that Abeltat Muse creates, the resulting midi file can be handed off to your Apple Logic composer so they might get a quick idea of a musical tone set by the imagery in your animation.

I downloaded the demo version (you can too) from Abaltat's website - beware it's a pretty big file because of the number of samples that come with the package (and even those are limited).  It's about 850MB (bigger than Adobe's Photoshop).  Despite the limitations of the demo version, Abaltat makes short work of any QuickTime movie I open, interpreting the colors in the images and scores a soundtrack to fit.

While I am a little suspicious of leaving the creation of your musical composition to software (we should have a random color generator for our visual graphics too?), this is an interesting tool to help you set some uniquely created music that has been tailored specifically to your video - with as little as a a single click.    Is this your final music score?  Maybe not, but you won't be using cookie-cutter music, or spending days to get a temp track together.

I suggest that you try it out for yourself.  You can download the demo version of Abaltat Muse from their website for a free 30-day trial.  You'll need an internet connection to register for the demo license code as well.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:events, abaltat, apple logic, apple garageband, automatic music generation, justin McCarthy, Eoin Tonge, LAFCPUG SuperMeet, NAB 2008


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