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Review: proDAD Mercalli SAL for Mac

Paul Schmutzler demos and discusses the first-ever Mac version of proDAD's popular and powerful Mercalli stabilization solution.
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In this article we’ll look at proDAD’s Mercalli SAL for Mac, a new stabilization tool for the Mac. proDAD has made Mercalli for Windows for a number of years and they’re just now introducing the first Mac version.

The big question is this: Why would you buy a standalone stabilization tool or plug-in when you've already got an NLE that probably has a stabilization plug-in built into it for free? That's the question I asked myself, so I decided to test it out after an invitation came from proDAD. My initial tests were pretty impressive. I'll walk you through those tests later in this review.

The Mercalli for Mac Interface

Let’s begin with the interface. Mercalli SAL for Mac is a standalone stabilization solution, which is why you see the SAL acronym in the name. It runs outside of any other software, independently, which is its biggest strength.

You start by importing clips by navigating to the Import button shown at the top left of the main window, or simply dragging clips onto the left column, as you can see I've already done in Figure 1 (below).

Figure 1. The Mercalli interface. Click the image to see it at full size.

In the center you’ll see a large preview of your source clips, your analyzed clips, or a combination of both. Click one the vertical or horizontal option shown in Figure 2 (below) to choose a split-screen mode and compare your source and analyzed clips vertically or side by side.

Figure 2. Preview options

At the bottom of the screen, you have a filmstrip view (Figure 3, below) where you can scrub through your footage and set in and out points.

Figure 3. Scrub and trim your clips here.

On the right is where you would adjust any settings that you want to change to maximize stabilization while maintaining the best image quality (Figure 4, below).

Figure 4. Adjust stabilization settings here

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