Creator 2 Platinum Edition
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
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
Once editing is done, the move to the
authoring stage is a matter of hitting one tab button at the top of the
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