October 15, 2008

Great Music For Great Slide Shows and Videos



 . . . a vast variety of music makes it easy for a novice to add a professional touch to productions . . .


The newest release of Sonicfire Pro 5 (SmartSound,, Express Track Edition, free with any SmartSound music purchase, $49.99 and up, full Scoring Edition, $99) is an amazing music creator, editor and arranger that lets you add musical zip and impact to slide shows or videos. Best of all, the program has done all the hard work for you.

Each original SmartSound selection is an entire musical piece, complete with a beginning, middle and end. These specially-orchestrated pieces are composed of music blocks that you can arrange and rearrange to best suit the exact music you want. Or, you can have the program do it automatically for you. Better yet--thereís an option to have the entire selection or any block stretched or squeezed time-wise to precisely fit your video or slide show. The program can import videos in various formats, such as AVI, DV, MPEG or QuickTime, so you can see the video and match the music to the action as you work and immediately watch any changes you make and much more.

Because of SmartSound Software, Inc.ís vast collection of SmartSound music, you can quickly and easily find the music you want by using the extensive search tools. Search by genre, mood, intensity and more. Find something close to what you want, but not quite it? Just ask the program to find more like it. Want it faster (or slower)? Ask the program, and itís done. Need a specific tempo? Just tap it out, and Bingo! Thereís a list of selections of that tempo to choose from.

Thereís an option in the program to let you even search and preview on line any of SmartSoundís entire collection of more than 1,500 songs while youíre editing your soundtrack. If you hear what you want, buy it ($19.95 per track), download it, and use it immediately--and itís royalty free. Also available are 45 Multi-Layer DVD sets (designed to use the Mood Mapping feature, described later) of SmartSound music, with each set grouped by use, such as Lasting Memories, Latin Blend, Slam Funk, Urban Hustle and the like. Also available are the original sets of SmartSound music grouped by category, such as Travel, Special Events/Fun/Relaxing, Action/Sports and many more.

The newest version of Sonicfire Pro 5 provides automatic Mood Mapping, which can be used only with the new collection of MultiLayer Music DVDs. For any musical piece you are given the option of selecting moods such as full, open, light, heavy, background or variations such as angelic, hopeful, exhale and so on. The choices vary with each piece. If you prefer to set your own mood, since the music is laid down in tracks, such as guitar, drums, synth, piano and so forth, you can directly control the volume of each track. This fine tuning allows one piece of music to create many moods and backgrounds for your productions. Very clever, very useful, a bit of fun and once you get the hang of it, thereíll be no stopping your creativity.

If the video changes tempo, you can insert a different music selection or just change the mood of the current selection to keep the "feel" of the music the same. Add your own narration or non-Smart music from your audio CD, and the program will fade the music volume up or down to fit the narration or CD music into the length of time youíve selected. Save your completed soundtrack music with the video, or export the music soundtrack separately.

The program is outstanding in its flexible use of ready-made royalty-free SmartSound music, including the new MultiLayer disks. In addition, the availability of a vast variety of music makes it easy for a novice to add a professional touch to productions or for a professional to add another dimension to productions.

Use the Express Edition if you want to set up your music first and then cut your video to fit the sound track; the Scoring Edition is used when youíve completed editing your video and want to cut the sound track to match the video. The new Timing Control and Spotting features make it so easy to pick just the right music, and if youíve set markers to indicate the beginning of keyframes or scenes, the programs will suggest a beat and list of possible music to fit. Select one, try it, and youíll see how the program automatically syncs beat and "feel" to the marked keyframes. This is an amazing feature. And remember, if you donít like the tempo, mood or the like, you can easily change it and listen the result.

We used Sonicfire Pro 5 recently to build a soundtrack for a youngsterís "How to Make a Muffin," video, and weíve got to tell you it was a charge. Being able to pick from a selection of kids, fun and generally lively music and customize it for the on screen action was fun and gave us creativity you couldnít believe. Although we have some musical knowledge, itís not needed since the program takes care of the details.

For help, SmartSoundís Web site has detailed though comfortably presented on-line tutorials that cover not just the basics but also most of the fun creative features. Youíll be as impressed as we were.

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