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as DV revolutionised video production for independent freelancers working
on small budgets, so the accessibility of DVD is putting high-quality
publishing in the hands of more people. Aside from minor player-compatibility
issues, media-rot problems, and the on-going format battle, DVD burning
is now very much a mainstream phenomenon, and DVD video authoring is
a staple part of the DV editing process from the entry level up.
But, in all the time that we've had affordable DVD-R hardware, the only
affordable authoring software for professional and commercial projects
has been Apple's DVD Studio Pro, leaving Windows-based editors out in
the cold unless they want to invest in a Mac. And, while DVD SP was
initially awkward and annoying, the newly-released version 2 is a truly
wonderful thing. So, Adobe's Encore DVD, the first affordable pro-featured
application for Windows, has a lot to live up to.
There is no Mac version of Encore, and that makes sense, as Apple has
already muscled Adobe out of the Mac-based video editing market. What's
more, Encore is designed to work only under Win XP. Fortunately, though,
the program isn't nearly as picky about processors as the recently released
Premiere Pro and was happy running on a system using an AMD Athlon Thunderbird
The retail package consists of an installation disc and a rather lightweight,
155-page, manual. Installation was straightforward, and the program
opens with the same sort of empty, cryptic interface that makes programs
such as After Effects and Illustrator so intimidating to the novice.
At the top left of the screen is a small tool palette similar to Photoshop's,
while the bottom right has a properties panel showing off an impressive
array of text tools. There are no immediate clues, however, about where
to start authoring a DVD!
Encore DVD is well-featured and neatly fills a very obvious gap
in the Windows-based authoring market. It's not a difficult program
to learn, but suffers from having too many windows and hiding too many
of the more fundamental tasks - such as setting end-actions - in menus.
Even so, many Windows users will celebrate Encore's arrival.
In a platform-agnostic world, though, we'd still prefer to work with
Apple's DVD Studio Pro 2, which offers a considerably more comfortable
interface, multi-angle video support and the ability to read DLTs as
well as write them.
What Encore DVD doesn't have is direct competition - but the upcoming
revision of Ulead's DVD Workshop is sure to keep things developing fast
in the Windows arena. If you're tied to Windows and need a professional
DVD authoring solution now, opting for Encore makes a lot of sense.
But, if things aren't so urgent, keep an eye on the emerging competition
- we think that Ulead could make things very exciting.
Read the full review
in January 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
SonicFoundry SonicFire Pro 3
Adobe Encore DVD
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LaCie 320GByte HDDs
The Mac OS we've been waiting for?
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Canopus Premiere Pro support
Roxio Easy CD & DVD 6.2 updater