For most video makers, pro or amateur, having access to stock footage elements can do much to liven up an otherwise generic cast-in-the-mold project. An interview shot in a cramped studio or unevenly lit location seems that much more professional when bookended by a beautifully lit cityscape or nature shot under the credits. A wedding video becomes that much easier to edit when there are cutaways between scenes of champagne corks popping and flutes clinking in super slow motion, and the sun setting under the closing titles.
Digital Juice is a Florida-based firm that has been offering video, audio, and still image elements for video and multimedia pros since 1992. Perhaps best known these days for the digital animations they produce to be used as video backgrounds on broadcast and Web-based TV productions, one of their latest products is aimed at the live-action video stock footage marketplace.
Digital Juice’s Videotraxx HD is a collection of 25 DVD-ROMs containing over 700 clips of royalty free stock footage, all of which has been newly shot for this package. The footage on the discs consists of a wide variety of clips, as you can see by checking out the page at Digital Juice. There are clips of happy shiny people in business and domestic situations. There are Koyaanisqatsi-esque time-lapse images of traffic whizzing by at night and clouds passing over skyscrapers. And there’s studio footage of light bulbs, whiskey bottles, and Christmas ornaments, all being dropped and shattered in ultra slow-motion. There are also plenty of nature and sports sequences.
Videotraxx HD’s indoor footage in particular appears to have been very carefully lit, ranging from simulations of natural lighting, to more dramatic and stylized lighting effects. Vision Research’s Phantom HD camera, and Red One from RED Digital Cinema, both high-end video cameras, were used to capture the images in the collection.
Putting The Footage To Use
Studio-bound interview shows and one-man video blogs (say, like this one) will find plenty of backgrounds composited perfectly to anchor text, for both title sequences and B-roll montages. As this Digital Juice how-to video for an earlier iteration of their stock footage line illustrates, those shooting commercials, whether for the Web or broadcast TV will have a field day using the footage to open up their projects, hide interview edits, and even produce commercials featuring little or no new footage.
Also, no doubt, the footage will be re-colorized, reworked, and abstracted into all sorts of new forms by those using plug-ins such as Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Looks and Toonit, and DigiEffects’ various plug-ins such as Delirum, Auroix, and Berserk.
Turn On The Juicer
Pulled straight off one of the DVDs, each Videotraxx HD clip is output as a 1920X1080 Quicktime .MOV file. However, Digital Juice’s free proprietary “Juicer” software allows for quick searches of the tracks, and will then pull each clip off its DVD, and render it out to your hard drive in just about any resolution you prefer, down to good ol’ standard definition NTSC in AVI, Windows Media, RTV, as well as in still photo sequences (a format popular with many Adobe After Effects users). If you wind up using a variety of Digital Juice’s products, the Juicer will likely get a workout during your editing sessions.
Much of the footage in Videotraxx HD is in some form of slow motion, ranging from 60 frames per second (double the normal frame rate for video) to an ultra-slow 1000 FPS. The frame rates can be adjusted to normal speed either in the Juicer (for many clips, a choice of slow motion and real-time playback speeds can be chosen) or in virtually all editing applications.
What are the downsides of the VideoTraxx HD package? The $499.95 cost of the product (on sale at the time this post was written at $249.95, and Digital Juice has frequent sales if that offer has passed) might seem initially expensive, but consider how many hours it would take to bring in the right talent, rehearse them, light, compose, record and edit each image. Additionally, there will no doubt be lots of shots over time you’ll need to acquire elsewhere, as this article in the June issue of Videomaker magazine explores, as no stock footage library can contain everything. As Steven Wright would say, where would you put it?
But for those video editors, pro or amateur, Web or broadcast, looking for a variety of very well produced, very flexible stock footage, VideoTraxx HD is well worth stocking up on.