The Coolness of Hollywood FX

I remember sitting in an edit bay with a client paying $300+ an hour trying to design an opening title sequence for a sports show with multiple layers of video in boxes flying around the screen. At that time in the development of digital video all we had was an ADO or Abekas A-53 DVE, an Abekas DDR and some D2 machines. Ten hours later we might have had something acceptable, but since each layer was married to to the previous layer, if we wanted to go back and make a change we would have to start all over. Now I can use an incredible software package from Synergy called Hollywood FX to create high end, high quality 3D effects in 1/4 of the time right on my Desktop Computer! 

Hollywood FX is an incredible library of true 3D transitions and effects for video, film, multimedia and the web. Hollywood FX Bronze is the entry level version with over 50 transitions with control over lighting , shadows, motion blur, object shine, luminosity, transparency, cropping, rotation, and object trails. Bronze is a plug in-in for both Windows 95/98/NT and Mac and supports leading NLE editing and effects packages Premiere, After Affects, Speed Razor, and Ulead Media Studio Pro. Hollywood FX Silver is a more robust version with over 100 3D effects and supports a wider range of high end host applications including Avid MediaComposer, Avid Express, Avid MCXpress, Fast Video Machine Plus, Media 100, Premiere, Media Studio Pro 2.5 and 5+. In addition Silver provides more flexible motion blur, transition period, and most importantly has the Path Editor and Envelope Editor which allow much more customization of each effect. It can also be used as a filter and all effects are keyframeable.

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The beauty of Hollywood FX is the simplicity of its interface. In Premiere, for example, select Hollywood FX from the transitions window, drag the icon to the transition timeline, double click and you have a series of animated icons showing the effects, and a drop down window with all of the other available effects.
See Figure 1 & 2


Figure 1

In the example below I've picked the Flyoff effect and the preview of the input sources ( source 1= Video 1A, source 2=B ) Notice the transparent shadow. Shadow transparency and lighting are totally adjustable.

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  Figure 2


As you can see from Figure 3 there a number of choices of effects and transitions available in the drop down menu and all you have to do is select the category of effect that you want and the visual menu opens. If you look in the FX group window you will see a category called "Club". These are add on effects that can be purchased at anytime from Club Hollywood which you can join for free, usually when you register the product. The prices of these effects average about $10 and the list is constantly being updated. You can preview all the effects on the website to decide which ones you might like.  

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Figure 3


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Some of the Club Hollywood effects. Notice the shadow and shine on the scroll effect.

While Hollywood FX has all of the cool page turns, wipes, and picture in picture effects that you might expect, what makes this software really unique is the " MultiWindow Effects " the are part of the package. Instead of transitions they are windows of video that can fly on or off the screen into various positions. Any video source or bitmap image can be "mapped" onto any surface and by using the path editor can be positioned and moved anywhere on the screen.  Below the 5 input effect shows 2 video input sources and 3 proxy sources that are waiting for video to be mapped.

Here I have mapped all the video sources except #3. In the example on the right source 5, the background image is mapped from a bitmap.



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Path Editor 
Here we can select each source individual and totally customize its path during the effect. Positions can be entered manually or simply drag the wireframe to whatever position you desire. Keyframes can be applied and x,y,and z axis can be modified independently. Once an effect has been modified it can be saved as its own unique effect for recall later.

Version 1                                                  Version 2

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Here are 2 seemingly identical clips except that Version 1 has been modified with the Path Editor. Notice how the first image movies back to reveal the other images and the last image flies forward to fill the screen. Version 2 is the default effect and without modifying the path of the first and last shot there is a hard cut to the first video and from the last video when the effect is rendered as a transition.

Lighting and Shadows
This menu shows the controls for lighting direction and shadow density. The E next to each control accesses the Envelope Editor which is similar to Path Editor put allows us to add keyframes shadow transparency, reflection/shine, and also to image Blur. The yellow area shows the manual preview slider.

Transparency Envelope
With this menu we can control Image transparency.The vertical graph represents the amount of transparency applied to a video source from 0-100%. The horizontal graph represents the timeline of the effect. Different levels of transparency can be applied along the path. This effect is shown in the middle of its path with 47% transparency applied. As it progress along the path the object will change to a none transparent object.

Rendering Engine
Hollywood FX uses Open GL, the standard in high performance graphics. It also supports multiple processors for faster rendering. A real time package, Platinum, will be available soon. Check the Hollywood FX website for more information.

For more information on Hollywood FX, visit their website by clicking here.

Check out my website at for more cool videos or email me at [email protected] for further information. 

Rodger Klein