ProDrenalin™ V2+ for Windows Review

Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor

Equipment Used:

- Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Laptop

- Intel Core i7 vPro

- Windows 7 64-bit

Pros:

- Stabilizes video best it can

- Removes fisheye

- Practically a full fledge video editor

- Supports wide range of formats for source and output

- Geeky stats are shown that some users may care for

- Easy to use once the interface is learned

Cons:

- UI is not 100% intuitive

- User really needs to know the equipment used to shoot the source

- Geeky stats are shown that some users may not care for

- Can be overwhelming for an average user

- Vertical and Horizontal compare would be nice to not split the screen in half

- Default output file name is same as source file name

- Index files are left behind

 

Intro:

I'm new to recording R/C flights and drives and sometimes I hand my camera to my oldest kid. Often times I have to throw footage away due to shakiness making the video unwatchable. However, the fine folks at ProDAD and ProDRENALIN have a solution with their ProDRENALIN v2 software.

 

I first learned about ProDRENALIN software while listening to the Angle of Attack Podcast, where Philip Hinkle was a guest explaining the software. Being a Software Engineer working with video encoding and transcoding I was intrigued, as well as a bit skeptical. But after a few uses, I think ProDRENALIN v2 is a must for anyone with shaky video. Of course there are some quirks with the software, but still usable.

 

Usage

Opening the app you are greeted with a black screen with a blinking bar to import a video, nice and obvious. But after this, the obvious factor of the UI decreases. One can stumble around and figure things out, but there are some really good tutorial videos that I highly recommend watching.

 

For my first few tests I simply enabled stabilization by clicking the orange chain link looking icon in the ribbon bar. Doing so enables a yellow star. Come to find out each of the 3 stars corresponds to a correction ability of the software. If you know the equipment used to shoot the camera then select the appropriate item from the dropdown under the camera icon to the right of the stabilization stars. Yes, this is a dropdown, not terribly obvious.

 

Selecting the stabilization and fisheye removal technique will cause the software to analyze the video. Depending on the selected correction techniques and length of file, this can take some time. There are more options such as Color enhancers, the butterfly icon button turns it on; your mileage may vary using this one click fix. If the one click fix doesn't work for you, there are a list of editing presets on the left side of the screen you can use. It's not clear but double clicking one of the presets will enable the preset.

 

To complicate the editing process even more (if you want a one click solution) or to fine tune the preset applied, the right side of the screen has a few colored bars that are expandable with even more settings a user can fine tune and tweak. For the average user, these probably will prove to be overkill. The bottom of the screen acts like a story board, so as one clips sections of video out, they are added to the storyboard area. This allows a user to edit clips together.

 

A cool feature, which probably won't be used a lot by the end user is the ability to split the screen to show unstabilized versus stabilized output. However, this does not duplicate the picture to both sides to show an apples to apples comparison. Instead it splits the video in half and will only stabilize the one half. Meaning it can be hard to tell the difference (especially if it wasn't for the watermark added by this tool). Again, in my opinion this is a handy feature when editing, but more than likely the final output will be only the stabilized version.

 

The export settings are located under the Export tab of the ribbon. Again, here a user can stumble around to find settings. Such as the Setup menu items is for the output video and audio settings. So Setup in a way is a bit misleading to the end user, something like Output File Settings would be clearer. Also, if you don't export the file to a different directory, ProDRENALIN v2 software will overwrite the source file. While there may be times you want to do this, more times than not I find it best to keep the source and edited output separate. To export the file, click the big blue circle and watch the software work. You can change the name of the video on export if you check the Combine Videos option on the export screen.  This works even for a single file, again not obvious.

 

After editing a video a little popup shows with a button to watch the output. If you are happy with the output, you can close the software and you're done. If you do and don't save the project, I recommend scanning your computer for .prodadindex files. My experience is these get left behind 100% of the time. And too many of them will eat up disk space. So it's a good idea to clean them up periodically.

 

Personal Thoughts

ProDRENALIN v2 has done a great job stabilizing footage from my Proto X FPV quadcopter, TDR Robin Pro Edition quadcopter, and my old Flip Ultra HD camcorder. However, if the footage is extremely shaky, the footage will be improved, but not perfect. For example I strapped my camera on my Keliwow Desert Eagle and went for a drive. The truck bounced around so much the original footage was completely unwatchable while the ProDRENALIN edited version made it more watchable, but not perfect. Quick video below if you want to see the results.

 

I haven't played with the fisheye removal settings as at the time of this review I didn't have a fish eye lens. I've used the software to stabilize footage I took of pulling my kids around on a sled in the snow and was impressed with the results. There are a lot of features I didn't even touch in my review (clipping, rotating, just to name a few).

 

Conclusion

If you record a lot, and I mean a lot, of video doing your hobby (r/c aviation, family outings, hiking, mountain biking, etc...) and don't want to throw out footage due to excessive shakiness, then you really should purchase ProDRENALIN v2 software. You will be pleasantly happy with the results you get and as you use the software more, you'll get even better results.

 

Is the software for everyone? No, someone that wants a cheap one click solution software, this is not for you. But if you want something more powerful than say, Windows Movie Maker, but cheaper than Adobe's suite of software, you'll do just fine with ProDRENALIN v2.

 

Do I recommend the software? Depends. As stated above, it really depends on your use, case, and needs. If you edit several videos a day/week/month then it'll be worth the investment. If it's just a few videos needing editing here and there, then the investment probably isn't justifiable. If you need/want a good editing program or just need to remove the shakes from video (and jello effect), then I recommend ProDRENALIN v2.

 

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