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Review: proDAD ReSpeedr

proDad's latest release is a standalone application called ReSpeedr, which the company touts as "the Ultimate Super Slow-Motion & Time-Lapse Video Producer"; here we check out ReSpeedr's usability and test its image quality compared to that available natively in an NLE on moderately and extremely slowed-down clips.

From its popular and widely integrated stabilization tool Mercalli to its GoPro-centric Prodrenalin, proDad has found a real niche in creating video plugins and utilities. They strive to create those tools you need that may not be readily available elsewhere, or not available at a cost most can afford. They’re also well-known for their Heroglyph Titler and their effects and filters collections Adorage and Vitascene.

Recently they have released a number of standalone utilities geared toward the more casual shooter and editor, such as DeFishr, a handy tool for removing the familiar fisheye look from POV cams like the GoPro.

proDad’s latest release is a standalone application called ReSpeedr, which the company touts as “the Ultimate Super Slow-Motion & Time-Lapse Video Producer.” When I got ReSpeedr I was eager to test its slo-mo capabilities, as slow motion in the new progressive-based cameras is more difficult unless you’re shooting 60p. I don’t want to flood my productions with slow motion, but an occasional slo-mo shot to accentuate a scene is nice, especially when it is not jerky slow motion like you get from 30p or 24p footage.

Navigating the ReSpeedr UI

The ReSpeedr interface is pretty simple to figure out upon first inspection. Figure 1 (below) shows the ReSpeedr UI with a shot already loaded a shot to work with in this review. I’ve placed some colored arrows at key features of the interface. I’ll explain those below.

Figure 1. The ReSpeedr UI. Click the image to see it at full size.

First, the red arrows are the different ways you can change the speed of your clip. There is a drop-down at the top where you can select from preset values ranging from 1% to 500% (yes, ReSpeedr can speed up your clips too). Right next to the Speed drop-down is a Duration button. When using the Duration option you can specify how long you want your final clip to be and it will adjust the slow motion percentage to a value that creates a clip exactly the length you need. There is a third option as well along the bottom--a speed slider.

By default, the slider is set at 1 (100%, or real speed). If you drag your mouse to the left, your values create slower and slower slow motion. Drag it to the right and ReSpeedr will speed up the clip. If you go to the far right there is a value of 5000% which is significantly more than the 500% available from the Speed drop-down. There are times where the slider along the bottom is the easiest way to adjust your clip’s speed, and times where the precision of the Duration option is the best option.

The Yellow arrows in Figure 1 are pointing to the option for setting the work area and timeline trim points. The green markers set the work area that will be affected by ReSpeedr. The blue markers set the total clip length. This allows you to set a portion to play at real time and then slow it down mid-clip if desired. You can also click on the green and blue markers to the right above the timeline and the respective marker will be created at the point of your timeline cursor.

The Blue arrow points out the Target Media tab. This information window displays key information, like how long your clip will be after it has been rendered. There is also an option called Edit. Clicking on the Edit button launches a pop-up where you can select a frame rate. You can leave it at the original frame rate or you can change it from a 30p frame rate to 24p or from 24p to 30p. You can set a speed of 20% slow motion and convert from 30p-24p and your footage will be silky smooth.

The White arrow shows ReSpeedr and another trick in its arsenal, drawing on another thing proDAD does well: ReSpeedr will Stabilize your video while it's slowing it down. There are no options for tweaking the stabilization, but for small fixes it does a good job. For full stabilization capability with customization options, you need to process your footage via the proDAD utilities Mercalli or ProDrenalin.

I saved the Green arrow for last since that is where ReSpeedr does its magic. ReSpeedr has a Sub Frame Mode. This mode determines how it is going to create the magic of smooth slow motion. There is a gray button that lets ReSpeedr do it automatically. It will try to figure out which mode is best for your footage and use that option. There is a blue button that will use frame blending to smooth out your slow motion. This is probably best-suited for small slow-downs like 50%. The orange button is what creates the silky smooth slow motion for really slow clips. It’s called Optical-Flow. Optical-Flow is going to actually create extra frames between your key frames to generate smooth slow motion without the jerkiness. Obviously, when rendering, this is going to take a little longer since it is doing a large amount of work in the background.

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