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Article #11 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: Movie Credits / graphics / commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Date: Tue Dec 10 20:21:42 1991


Reprinted from Current Notes, Vol. 11, No. 9, November 1991
 
Movie Credits and Video Title Shop
----------------------------------
 
A Night in at the Movies!
 
Review by Steve Hoffee
 
     Some of the most memorable moments of my childhood were spent at my 
Grandparents' on the weekends.  These were times when my Grandpa had to 
work and he took me with him.  Now, most kids might cringe at the 
thought of sitting around while their Grandpa worked, but these were 
unique circumstances.  It just so happens that my Grandpa was a sound 
editor for MGM Studios in Culver City, CA and he was just as much (if 
not more) of a little kid than I was.  He was thrilled to show me the 
Prop Room, Makeup, the skeletal back lot (which was used to film the 
fronts of houses, saloons, etc.) and, or course, the Editing Room where 
he spent so many hours.
     As a young whippersnapper, I was overwhelmed by these visits but 
could never get enough.  At the time, it was a little rough to 
comprehend just how much work went into each phase of the filming 
process, but, as time went on, I realized that I had seen a little piece 
of history in the making and was very fortunate to have been there.
     Who would have thought that over 30 years later, I would be sitting 
in front of a computer writing a review about Movie Credits software for 
VCRs (not me, and surely not Grandpa!).
     Andy Warhol was asked what he thought the future would bring as far 
as trends.  He replied "I foresee pay TV in peoples' homes and the 
common person to have his/her day in the spotlight."  With cable TV and 
shows like "America's Funniest Home Videos," O would say he wasn't far 
off.  With the blooming VCR, Camcorder, and Computer sales, it only 
stands to reason that a software package to combine all of these 
components was inevitable.
     Before the likes of Video Title Shop and Movie Credits came into 
play, I was making in-store ads for a video rental store using my 130XE, 
1050, RAMbrandt Art Studio, RAMbrandt Gallery, a VCR and a cassette 
deck.  I would create each screen with the RAMbrandt Art Studio using 
either graphics mode: 7+16, 9, 10, 11 or 15+16, depending on the effect 
I wanted to achieve.  After saving these pictures in RAMbrandt format, I 
would then use the RAMbrandt Gallery to create my slide show.  The 
Gallery has 10 different wipes to choose from including: spin, fader, 
dissolve, vertical, horizontal and diagonal.  You may choose up to 10 
pictures for viewing, put in any order with any one of the 10 available 
wipes added.  After this is done you're ready for the VCR and cassette 
deck.
     While RAMbrandt Art Studio is an exceptional art package on its 
own, it was not designed with VCR titling in mind.  This was brought 
about by a Datasoft program entitled Video Title Shop.
     Video Title Shop has many unique features of its own and is 
accompanied by a good explanation of how to hook your computer up to the 
VCR.  Its features include 30 background pictures to enhance your text.  
The backgrounds are in MicroPainter format so you can even add your own 
favorite pictures.  There are two fonts, supplied with the disk, that 
can be used in a variety of sizes, then added to your screen with a 
variety of effects.  All in all, this is an excellent program for VCR 
and home movie buffs with many more possibilities and applications just 
waiting to be tried.
     The most recent video titler, Movie Credits, is brought to the 8-
bit market by LJK Enterprises, Inc.
     The purpose of this program is to make headers (the opening screens 
including title page, animation, scrolling credits, etc.) for the 
beginning of your videos and trailers (the closing screen such as "Th-h-
h-at's All Folks,") for the end in a variety of ways.
     Movie Credits comes with a 38-page (probably more, by the time this 
review appears) manual that includes an Intro, Edit Session, Tutorial, 
Edit References, Command References, Error Codes, Graphic Symbols and 
Fonts.  The manual is hard reading to just sit down to, but that isn't 
its intention.  The Edit Session and Tutorial were designed to be read 
while at the computer and typing in the supplied samples.  This is the 
only way you will get the most out of this program.
     There are eight fonts (four 8x8 and four 16x16), that load upon 
boot-up of the program, with 11 more on disk that can be used with the 
Font Builder program.  You can also change the size and style of each 
font, giving you 10 variations for each one.  You have four sizes: 
normal, wide, tall, and tall and wide.  Styles include normal, shadow, 
outline, and raised shadow.  Styles can be further enhanced by adding 
values for italics and for bold.  Some fonts won't look good with some 
styles, so a little trial and error may be needed to generate the effect 
you desire.
     The program also comes with eight graphics, which also load upon 
boot-up.  With version 1.00, you were unable to add your own graphics.  
This has been rectified in version 1.04 with a Print Shop Icon Builder.  
The graphics generated with this program cut off four columns on each 
side and two rows on the top and bottom, so care must be taken that you 
don't lose a pertinent piece of the art.  If, by some chance, you do 
lose some of the icon you are able to touch it up with the Graphic 
Editor, which is supplied on the disk.  The graphics 8 icons are 
converted to graphics 15+16 which puts them at a much lower resolution, 
but I had some good results nonetheless!
     Now, if the 2,000+ Print Shop icons that are widely available in 
the public domain aren't enough and you happen to have the Converter and 
Converter Companion (from Shepard and No Frills Software), The Newsroom 
(by Springboard) and Awardware or PrintPower (by Hi-Tech Expressions), 
then you have a huge graphic library at your fingertips.  You can also 
create your own Print Shop icons with the supplied Graphics Editor, or 
the public domain program, Icon graphics Editor.
     Another file that loads upon boot-up is a 9-sector character set 
block that can be used for borders or animation.  You can easily replace 
this block with your own creation using the Character Editor, or any 
character set editor that saves its files in 9 sectors and, once again, 
there are many of these editors available in the public domain.
     There is a predefined 3x2 set of Character Animation Blocks 
illustrated at the end of the manual for easy use and reference.  These 
include Helicopters, Tanks, Cars, Cameraperson and Pac Man.  They have 
numbers below them that, when typed in, produce the corresponding 
character in the program.  I found that trying to use your own character 
set was quite time consuming and tedious, but, with a lot of patience, 
it can be done.  This was especially true when creating animation 
screens.
     On all of the screens (or pages) you have four colors to work with, 
including the background.  These colors can be changed between screens 
with a pen command which is the same as BASIC's setcolor, only in hex.  
LJK gives a listing of colors and the hex equivalent along with the hex 
for luminance.  For those that are not familiar with hex, you may be a 
little baffled by the many hex references, but don't be.  You can get 
through the program and benefit anyway.
     The Edit Session was done quite well, but I found myself altering 
the existing files by changing the pen colors, text, wipes, scrolling 
speed, graphics, etc..  In the edit mode, you can type "HELP" and will 
be presented with two sets of commands.  The top set is the editing 
commands and the bottom set is the program commands.  These are almost 
useless without the manual, but are a great help once you have an 
understanding of the commands.  For example, if you want to insert a new 
set of screen colors you can comply press the letter "I" in the edit 
mode and insert that command at any line number.  This function is great 
for changing screen colors before going to the next screen (page).  The 
program automatically renumbers the file for you, making editing a 
breeze.  You are also able to put multiple commands on a line using a 
minimum of memory.
     The Tutorial section covers Text Graphics, 80x48 Bit Image 
Graphics, Block Animation, Graphic Primitives and Transferring to Tape.  
You're given sample programs for each topic that you type in and see how 
each set of commands works.  The examples are presented well and easy to 
understand.
    Version 1.04 has added some much needed utilities.  These utilities 
are as follows:
     8x8 Font Adjuster: This adjusts your standard 9-sector fonts for 
use with the Font Builder, giving you a wide variety of fonts for use 
with the program.
     Graphics Builder: This generates new graphic files by mixing and 
matching pre-existing graphics files made by the Print Shop Icon 
Builder.
     Graphics/Character Editors: These are actually two different 
utilities that perform similar functions.  The Graphics Editor lets you 
create new graphics or edit any of the graphics files on disk.  This is 
a great feature for repositioning the icon, putting it in inverse or for 
simple touch ups.  The same can be done with the Character Editor, 
adding the capability to switch between 8x8 and 16x16 fonts.  You can 
also change the block size (maximum 6x4).
     Wipes: These consist of Swap (from one page to the next), Iris (the 
screen opens from the center to the outside borders), Wipe in from left, 
right, top or bottom of the screen.  All of these can be executed at any 
speed you choose.
     Orientation of characters is also available.  The text can go from 
left to right, right to left, bottom to top, top to bottom, top/left to 
bottom/right, bottom/right to top/left, bottom/left to top/right and 
top/right to bottom left.
 
Some Problems?
     This program is not recommended for the use who doesn't want to 
work at building the screens from scratch.  There aren't any menus to 
choose from, because the screens have to be entirely programmed in.
     It would be nice to have the ability to print out your own graphics 
sets, as well as add your own Micro-Illustrator or Micropainter Picture 
files.
     I also would have likes to use a joystick, or touch tablet, with 
the Graphic/Character Editor.
 
Conclusion
     I really liked this program for its versatility.  The more I used 
it, the more comfortable I felt with the command sets and programming in 
general.  being able to use a wide variety of art and fonts was 
definitely a plus.  There is much more to this program than first meets 
the eye.  I found customer support to be excellent.  All my questions 
were answered with simple explanations.  I recommend this program to 
anyone who wants to take the time to make some truly entertaining movie 
credits.
     As far as comparing this program to the others mentioned is this 
article, each program has unique features which are not really found in 
any of the others.  I personally like, and will continue to use each and 
every one of them until someone comes up with a 12-disk set that 
includes all of the above features in one tidy package (a guy can dream 
can't he?).
     The software that was mentioned in this article can be purchased 
from the following:
     Movie Credits, $19.95, LJK Enterprises, Inc., 1351 Yves Dr, 
Manchester, MO 63011-3669.  (314) 527-6909.
     RAMbrandt Art Gallery, $19.95, Awardware, $13.50, and PrintPower, 
$13.50.  B & C ComputerVisions, 3257 Kifer Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051 1-
800-969-8810.
     Video Title Shop 3 disk bonus pack, $14.95, Newsroom, #13.50.  
American Techna-Vision, 15338 Inverness St., San Leandro, CA 94579 1-
800-551-9995.
     The Converter, $19.95, The Converter Companion, $19.95.  No Frills 
Software, 800 E. 23rd St., Kearney, NE 68847 (308)234-6250.
     RAMbrandt Gallery (PD #181/#182, $4), Font and Character Set 
Editors (PD #331, $2), icon Graphics Editor (PD #184, $2), Fontdisk+, 9 
sector fonts, (PD #175, $2).  MAPDA-USA Branch, 333 Peninsula Dr, Lake 
Almanor, CA 96137.  Include $2 shipping charges.
-- 
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
      BITNET: currentm%carleton.edu@interbit / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700





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