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Most of the time, vendors are fudging a bit when they tout ease of use, but Muvee's Reveal 8 ($80, watermarked demo) is truly the easiest movie production utility I've ever used. It doesn't offer quite the granular control that pros or aspiring pros will desire, but there are more editing functions than a first glance will divulge. And for the average user who just wants something good-looking in a hurry, it's more than powerful enough.
By default, the uber-clean main screen does nothing but let you choose and set the order of photos and video, pick a style, add some music, and preview the results. Simple editing functions are available by right-clicking on individual media. They're quick and efficient; however, the styles are the key. Using one of ten stylistic templates, Reveal 8 assembles the component media you provide into a cohesive video production.
The settings dialog offers you a chance to record a voiceover, type in credits, and provide a logo that will appear as a watermark during the entire movie. Most of Muvee Reveal's other settings address broad stylistic issues, such as whether to fit the photos and video to the length of the music, or repeat the music to match the length of the visual media. About the only hard time interval you can set is how long a photo will display (1 to 10 seconds).
The results in my tests were nothing short of excellent. A short movie using the Cube style rotated and pulsed in time with the background music. Muvee Reveal even warned me when I didn't have enough images or video to match the length of the song. If that pulsing-with-the-music-thing seems too much to you, don't worry--there's also a Classic Vanilla style whose results are as innocuous as anything you could desire. The other styles delivered satisfying results as well.
If you want professional-looking video productions with minimal fuss, you should check this program out. Owners of version 7 of Muvee Reveal and recent versions of autoProducer can upgrade for less than the full $80 price.
Note: The Reveal 8 demo wants to install the Yahoo toolbar, so don't blindly click through the install if you don't want the toolbar. The demo also ends all the movies with a watermark.
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