Software: Rip and trip

Keith White
24 October, 2010
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This month we’re taking a broad look at two quite different packages but both in the personal entertainment category

Road trip effect pro (US$24.95)

What is it? Basically Road Trip Effect Pro (www.solrobots.com) is a travel route animator which animates a line between points you select on a map. But it can do more.

How does it work? The program comes with a set of maps covering most parts of the world but you can also load your own images in any common graphics file format. Click on the stops along your route and RTE Pro generates the trail.

Although it saves in a proprietary format the program exports as a QuickTime movie in PAL or NTSC, in HD at 720p or 1080p or with a size and frame rate of your own choosing. Perfect for transfer to iMovie, Keynote or Final Cut.

Customisations which take RTE Pro beyond iMovie 09’s animated trail feature include the ability to change the route’s colour, width and opacity and to change the animation speed as well as lead in/lead out times.

But if you think outside the box this program gives you the ability to move any image in a controlled way across a background graphic, so things like animated line graphs are one possibility. I used it recently to track population decline in native peoples.

The wrap. RTE Pro runs very easily on any reasonably modern Mac. There’s a standard version at US$9.95 if you don’t need multiple layers or custom QT formats. A fully functional demo with watermarked output will give you the feel.

DVD ripper for mac (US$39)

What is it? iSkysoft’s DVD Ripper for Mac (www.iskysoft.com) allows Mac users to transfer video and audio from DVD to Mac, iPod, iPad, iPhone, and a range of other devices

How does it work? Launch the software and insert a DVD into your Mac. Navigate to the Video TS folder on the DVD and click OK. If you don’t want to convert the whole disc you can select the chapters you want.

Give your selection a filename and select a destination folder. Set a few parameters, start the video conversion and take a coffee break. On my i7 iMac a one-hour DVD ripped for an iPod touch with full audio and no subtitles took about 20 minutes.

When the conversion is finished you have further options to trim video to the sections you want. You can crop the video image to focus on a subject and also merge several chapters into one file. There’s a nifty Snapshot feature which allows you to scrub through your movie and grab any frame.

The wrap. Compatible with Mac OS 10.4 and above, this program is an elegant way to move DVD content from the disc to your desktop and, more particularly, to a very wide range of portable devices. It’s thoroughly Mac in all its operations and therefore very easy to use.

This article originally appeared in the September issue of Australian Macworld magazine.

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