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many budget-conscious professionals are still waiting for the right
DVD authoring software to come along, the beginner's market is awash
with different programs. Can CyberLink's PowerProducer manage to stand
out in a very big crowd?
There's a killing
to be made at the prosumer level of DVD authoring - particularly on
the Windows platform, where the biggest contender, Adobe Encore, remains
buggy and temperamental. Regardless of this huge opportunity, software
developers seem far more keen to address the entry-level instead - possibly
because there's more revenue in pocket-money programs, and also because
of the opportunities for OEM sales, as hardware companies seek out software
to accompany their DVD burners or video capture devices.
And OEM sales are probably the main target for PowerProducer 2. It's
developer, CyberLink, is also the company behind the PowerDVD software
player, which comes supplied with countless DVD burners and DVD-ROM
drives, as well as being pre-installed on many off-the-shelf Windows
systems. But, even then, CyberLink has a lot of OEM competition. Roxio,
Pinnacle and Ulead are being extremely aggressive with their own, very
PowerProducer looks great on paper - with a direct camcorder-to-disc
wizard, menu-based DVD authoring tools, and even the means to edit discs
that have been recorded in 'VR' mode (a formatting standard used by
some set-top recorders). In an already crowded market, PowerProducer's
success will depend on it offering something that the competition doesn't.
And, to our minds, that means a step away from restrictive wizards,
instead concentrating on an intuitive interface that actually encourages
users to take control and be creative. Not too much to ask, surely?
CyberLink's PowerProducer is a curious mixture, blending safe, comfortable
familiarity with innovative novelty. Its DVD authoring tools aren't
overly impressive - we've already seen plenty of simple wizard-based
authoring tools from Pinnacle (Expression), Ulead (DVD MovieFactory)
and Sonic (MyDVD). All three do a better job - PowerDirector's lack
of motion-menu support, in particular, puts it well behind these competitors.
But, the option to directly import from existing DVDs for use in new
projects isn't yet standard, and nor is the ability to make editable
DVDs - if paired with a player that can handle VR format discs. The
disc-editing tools are impressive and worthwhile, too. Finally, the
program's general disc utilities - particularly the ability to defrag
rewritable DVD discs - are intriguing, and we're sure many enthusiasts
will find them invaluable. Ultimately, PowerProducer is a handy spanner
for the toolbox, if not much more.
Read the full review
in May 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
CyberLink PowerProducer 2.0
Magix Movies on CD & DVD 2.0
Pure Motion EditStudio 4
Shining CitiDisk DV
Ulead DVD Workshop 2
Wacom Graphire 3 Studio XL
In this issue's
Task-centric Creator 7
Cut-price Canon cams
Desktop spanning over a network
Affordable rostrum camera software