I reviewed Rampant Design’s stuff a couple of years ago, when 4K was still a dream. Today, Rampant Design has a huge collection of 2K, 4K and 5K clips that can be used as effects. I tried a large random selection, including the muzzle flashes and smoke. If you’re still working with HD, the Rampant Design’s effect clips are even more effective as they are fully scalable and can be transformed and moved around at will.
Rampant Design’s idea to create effects out of ordinary videoclips still is as clever as it is effective. Why would you create something like a rotating loader effect using a plug-in effect when you can do it with less of an effort by just dragging a clip on the Final Cut Pro X timeline? Especially as you can change the size, opacity and blend mode of the clip so it becomes integrated with the main storyline.
The disadvantage of using clips becomes obvious when you have to download a large collection: the file size of each clip is quite considerable, as many of them are not simple PNGs, but actual clips. A whole collection quickly grows to unwieldy sizes that take up a lot of bandwidth. Contrary to a couple of years ago, however, Rampant Design has ramped up their servers and bandwidth and I was able to download the whole 215GB worth of clips in about six hours.
As with their previous collection, Rampant Design’s current 2K/4K/5K collections are of pristine quality and most clips carry beautifully designed objects. I had the chance of testing Aspect Ratios, Arrows, Boxes, Circles, Cursors, Backgrounds, Circles, Grids, Halftones, Lines, Radials, Rays, Studio Ink and Studio Paint, and Muzzle Flash and Smoke. All this is hardly manageable without a Media Asset Management (MAM) app or system like KeyFlow Pro on the Mac or Arc9 in the cloud. Without such a system, you will lose track of which clip suits your needs best.
What is excellent about working with video clips that have an alpha channel is that you can drag them anywhere on your footage and have the effect — an arrow or a muzzle flash — appear where you want it. This is what makes Rampant Design so effective. Even if you’re editing 1080p material, you can place the 4K effect, scaled or full-size, wherever you want the effect or object to appear. Rampant Design’s 4K clips are actually shot in 5K, which gives you an extra upscaling functionality With no loss of sharpness, even if your timeline is 4K.
I tried this with a muzzle flash and smoke effect on a clip I shot of myself “shooting” with a bird-watching telescope (I don’t have weapons, and got rid of my alarm pistol decades ago). By changing the size of the Rampant Design clip and the blend mode, I was able to create something that was amazingly realistic. I didn’t need After Effects or Motion, nor a plug-in to accomplish the effect I was after. All I needed to do was position the effects, add keyframes where I moved the “gun” around to keep the effect in tune with the motion and that was it.
I didn’t care to carefully create the effect for maximum result. If I would have cared enough, I would have used a plug-in after all. I would have tracked the clip using CoreMelt‘s TrackX. That would have guaranteed the best result possible. For my tests, keyframing was close enough to convince me you can indeed use the simplicity of Rampant Design’s high-quality 5K clips to achieve any effect you want.
Most if not all of Rampant Design’s video clips are shot with a RED camera. Some of their effect clips are static PNGs, but they’re equally sharp and large enough to move around even when you’re editing 4K footage. Best of all, Rampant Design’s range of products is huge and even includes audio. I had a copy of one of their cinema audio series on the disk which I keep my stuff from previous reviews on and after playing it again, I think you have to listen to samples before you decide. Personally, I prefer Sony’s production music and their sound effects, not because they sound better but because they have a far bigger range to choose from.
For video effects and object overlays like arrows, loaders, radials and what else is there, I would never hesitate to recommend Rampant Design. The prices they charge are such that even if you’re only occasionally using their effect clips, it’s not going to break the bank.