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Intervideo WinDVD Creator 2 Platinum Edition
 
By Shepard B. Gorman

List Price $99
Are you ready for a more sophisticated video producer and editor than Microsoft's Movie Maker 2 freebie ? If so Intervideo’s WinDVD Creator 2 may be the perfect tool for you.  With more people realizing that their old tape media has a very limited life and is subject to degradation with repeated play, interest in transferring this archival material to a more permanent form factor that has a smaller storage requirement has been growing rapidly in the last several years.  Add to that, the large number of people who will be getting digital video cameras this holiday season and want to produce a better home movie and the utility of a product of this kind is immediately obvious.

 

WinDVD Creator is a product go that installs extremely rapidly and has a particularly clean interface.  It has a very full feature set for a product in its price range, but that is, as you would suspect not a replacement for a high-end video editing bench or some of the much more expensive packages like those produced by Adobe.  This is not necessarily a shortcoming for twow reasons. First this program, like virtually all software, follows the “80/20” principal.  That is, 80% of the users will use only 20% of the features on almost all occasions. Second, far more sophistication is in the product and while it can be utilized easily, is not necessary for the end user to even think about it for most applications.

 

In the “80/20” spirit, the initial testing at his product was undertaken in the fashion the reviewer suspects will be used by most of the population.  This involves opening the box, inserting the CD into drive, accepting all installation defaults and if the product runs, of course, never reading any of the enclosed written material unless it was absolutely necessary..  It's a real testament to the folks at Intervideo that their product rapidly produces fine output easily even under the condition in which people are averse to reading simple instructions. Using an existing 25 minute video file and some  30 JPEG's downloaded from a digital camera, producing a typical vacation video with video, a smoothly transitioning slide show, a soundtrack and some additional narration, took well less than one hour.

 

While some contend that wizards do their work with smoke and illusion, this one seemed Iike a real solid working guy.  After asking me what kind of audio and video output I wanted and whether I wanted to produce a DVD, an SVCD, a VCD or DIVX presentation, the editing desktop appeared.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This working space guides you through capturing the material, editing it in either a storyboard or timeline fashion, editing transitions, title effects and even fairly sophisticated trimming of videos both from the end of materials and more sophisticated split cuts done to remove a segment of content from the middle of a larger file.  While working with this interface was virtually effortless when working with only a video file, was much more time-consuming to add JPEG slides one at a time rather than in a block.. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once editing is done, the move to the authoring stage is a matter of hitting one tab button at the top of the working space. 

The controls in this panel allowed the choice of preselected themes,  covering the most common types of videos including vacations graduations birthdays even fishing trips. Music and in my case, a brief WAV file created with Microsoft's built-in voice recorder, can be added to any part of the presentation.  The types of button controls that appear on-screen in the finished video can also be chosen at this point.  The process of making menus and chapter selections is virtually effortless.

Want to see how how your version of the next Academy award winner is going to look?  If so, it's a simple as looking in the preview window . Satisfied?  Then it's time to move to the Make Movie tab. 

At this point it's time to get a cup of coffee as your computer begins to render and burn the image to the media you've chosen.  Remember, the test case used here had a 25 minute video, 30 JPEG slides and 2 music files.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The computer used was an 1.6 Mhz Athalon , with 512M RAM and an SONY external DVD writer recording on a 4X DVD+R media. While certainly not the fastest CPU or DVD writer, the entire rendering and burning process took only 44 minutes. The quality of the DVD produced was excellent and the menu controls that the program inserted worked as they were intended to on very different DVD players.

All this without reading the manual!  Not surprisingly when I did look under the hood, I found that my narration file could easily have been produced inside the program. Also had I not already had my files on the hard drive, the capture portion of the program would easily have imported them for me.  If I had been really in a hurry,  and just wanted to create an unedited archive of my travels I could have used the direct recording feature which would've allowed me to record directly to DVD from the TV tuner card in my PC, from any composite or S video source or from any Firewire DV camcorder. The program also will handle MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, DV and AVI files. Combine this with the program's ability to also save in the increasingly DIVX format with a list price  of $99 and a street price well under that, and I don't see how you could miss with this product unless your goal is to produce a commercial video product. Even, at that, the Creator 2’s ability to store its finished files to disk rather than burn them immediately would allow you to export them to your favorite director.

Last Update:06/26/2007

 

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