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David Murphy May 07, 2007

FXhome EffectsLab Pro

At A Glance

KNEE DEEP IN THE DEAD

Supports multithreading, easy-to-use, awesome-looking effects for what you're paying

KNEE DEEP IN THE UNDEAD

Some of the effects look a wee hokey, and they requre a bit of effort to really look good.

If the dazzling star wipe isn’t having the same impact on your home movies it used to, maybe it’s time to add a little pizzazz to your vacation videos. We’re talking muzzle flashes, explosions, and lightsaber battles.

Welcome to the world of FXhome’s EffectsLab Pro. Spawned from the popular AlamDV, EffectsLab Pro is the go-to app for, well, automatic weapons fire and lightsaber effects. We know that sounds odd, but these effects are exactly what most budding YouTube viral cinematographers want. EffectsLab Pro lets you add smoke- and fire-particle effects, falling meteorites, color correction, masking, and other visual effects galore, in addition to the phasers and .44 Magnum effects that built its reputation.

The latest version of EffectsLab Pro adds multithreading support, which was able to utilize about 70 percent of the quad-core machine we tested it on. You’ll want as much computer as possible too, handling HDV content made even our quad-core box feel pokey. True to the product’s simple-to-use reputation, we shot a DV-res movie and added muzzle blasts to create a quick zombie movie in just a couple of hours. As a bonus, the program has a loyal community filled with folks who’ll help you add everything from sniper scopes, to night vision, to X-ray vision effects—for free!

Overall, we were very pleased with the muzzle flash and lightsaber effects (the company even makes lightsaber sound effects available for download), but some of the eye candy, such as the built-in fire preset, fell into cheese land. We’ve seen output from more experienced users that looked satisfying, so it can be done, but not as quickly and easily as the other effects. You shouldn’t expect Industrial Light & Magic in a box. This is a $150 program, not a $150 million EFX company. But for adding that little special-effects touch to your short movies, EffectsLab Pro is far easier and far cheaper than the alternatives, and a whole lotta fun to boot.

THE VERDICT

FXhome EffectsLab Pro

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