Christopher B. Wright is a technical writer in the Richmond, VA area, and has been using OS/2 Warp since January 95. He is also a member of Team OS/2.
Blast Back! Send a private message directly to Christopher B. Wright with your thoughts:
Go to a Printer Friendly version of this page
Summary: Now it's not just a frame-by-frame editor anymore. MainActor 2.06 beta for OS/2 adds a killer feature: Video sequencing
Although IBM once promised that OS/2 would be the "premiere multimedia platform for the PC market," there have been very few applications available for OS/2 that deal with OS/2 multimedia at all. Imagine my surprise, then, when I started playing with the beta release of Main Concept's latest version of MainActor for OS/2.
In the interests of full disclosure, I'm terribly biased in favor of this product -- I've used it since it first became available for OS/2, and was involved in developing the user manual for the latest release.
MainActor 2.06(beta) is based on the current full release of MainActor, which is a video editor/animation creation product that supports a huge array of video codecs. Main Concept has added to this already impressive product a complete and sophisticated video sequencing application that allows you to merge multiple video and audio streams with a very impressive assortment of transitions and text effects.
The Sequencing portion of MainActor allows you to insert many different kinds of audio and video file formats into one large video project. You can overlay text onto your video (for example, to display the title of the video or to "roll credits"). You can configure text to move along predefined paths on the screen, and set up various fades and wipes to create transitions between scenes. And audio streams can be added to (and synched with) video clips -- in other words, you can add a soundtrack to your movie.
The Video Editing portion of MainActor is relatively unchanged from its original incarnation -- it displays animations as a series of picture stills (similar to animation stills or video frames in film) that you can export, rearrange and modify. This portion of the product will be most useful for creating web animations, but it can also be used to alter portions of videos, or to convert one video format to another video format. MainActor supports a truly astounding number of video codecs (some I'd never even heard of).
MainActor relies on OS/2's default "Video In" application to capture video from a video card. This may be slightly limiting when compared to the version of MainActor for the Windows platform, which has a video capture feature built in to the program itself, because my understanding of the Video In application is that it supports a very limited number of video capture cards. It will, however, support the ELSA Gloria Synergy video card which apparently works quite well.
A possible advantage for OS/2 users is that MainActor uses REXX as its scripting language. For most Windows users, this means you can only run REXX scripts from within the program itself (there is REXX support for Windows 9x and Windows NT but it's not standard). REXX is integrated into OS/2, however, and this can give OS/2 users a lot more flexibility when using REXX to interact with MainActor.
I found the MainActor beta to be stable and mostly feature complete. It is a bit sluggish -- partly because it's a beta program and partly because processing video data is extremely processor-intensive. Overall it's quite useable. I did find that Process Commander had a tendency to think it was a rogue application and want to shut it down, however.
The MainActor video sequencing portion of the application allows you to generate a preview of your video presentation, but I found that the preview was unviewable -- just a jumble of psychedelic colors. At this point I'm unsure whether this is a bug in the beta or a problem with my video card.
While the windows version has been out for a few months now, it is nice to see that the OS/2 version looks to be feature-for-feature equivalent with the exception of it relying on the Video In for video capturing instead of using a built-in application. I am waiting for the gold release eagerly.
|Copyright © 1998 - Falcon Networking||ISSN 1203-5696||November 1, 1998|