With the release of Windows XP, Microsoft helped to advance
the ability of standard PCs to provide their owners with
some stable video editing. XP included Windows MovieMaker,
some under-the-hood operating system enhancements, a much
improved version of DirectX, and a few other improvements.
Windows Vista continues in the same vein, adding Media Player
11. But Windows XP and Windows Vista don't have an attitude
the way Mac OS X and iLife have an attitude. So several respected
software makers have stepped into the Windows XP and Windows
Vista arenas making it absolutely clear that Windows users
can get their hands on iLife-like experiences too. Enter
Cyberlink DVD Suite 5.
After using PowerDirector
to capture and edit your video footage, use PowerProducer
to layout a nice interface for the DVD you're going to create. Burn
your movie or slide show to a DVD which can be loaded into any DVD
player for viewing on a nice, big living room television. DVD Suite
Pro 5 also lets you burn as many DVD as you like so that relatives
and friends can be given their own copies to take home. Before you
hand out any DVDs, you'll need to create nice looking labels to identify
the discs. That's where LabelPrint comes in, and you can use it to
create photo and/or text-based labels which look good if not completely
professional. No matter—DVD Suite Pro 5 is a decent start-to-finish
product, even if a couple of components aren't totally professional.
Once you're done with all that video editing, producing,
and DVD authoring, use PowerBackup to backup all your data to DVD
for safekeeping. There's a bit more to this, but you get the idea.
Cyberlink has worked hard to create a suite of programs which work
well together when you follow a particular work flow: capture, edit,
produce, author, burn, label, backup, view. It works well, if simply.
Dedicate some weekend hours to become more familiar with DVD Suite
Pro 5, and you'll be able to step out of the recommended work flow
and flex your creative muscles a little more fully.
The PowerStarter central interface combined with Cyberlink's
Magic wizards are useful for people who wants to get things
done quickly, but without having to learn the nuances
of every part of the suite. That's good news for what
we estimate to be 90% of all the potential users of DVD
Suite Pro 5. The first part of a straw poll we took revealed
that lots of people we know have digital video cameras
which they use to shoot lots and lots of footage. The
second part of the straw poll revealed that most of the
same people struggled every time they sat down to try
and do something interesting with all their video footage.
Our advice when using DVD Suite Pro 5 (and any other video
production software) is to review all your video footage
and then create a list of clips to grab which will then
be assembled into the final production. Do it this way
and things will go much faster. Remember that the longer
you prowl around inside any video production software
(from the rankest amateur program up to the most serious
and expensive professional software) the more likely it
is to crash and mess up some of the work you've done to
that point. Throughout a four week review period however,
I didn't actually experience a crash or lockup of any
kind. That's very good news indeed and seems to indicate
that video production on the home PC is finally coming
famous PowerDVD movie player is one of the most widely used and distributed
programs of its kind. I find PowerDVD more forgiving of
various video file format anomalies and easier to use than Windows
Media Player 10 or 11. The inclusion of the PowerDVD 7 Express version
in the DVD Suite Pro 5 package is a real bonus. That's not to say
the suite could do without it mind you. After all, what good is all
that video production power without a player. When someone says, "Hey
let's see your vacation video", PowerDVD 7 lets you show it full
Cons: Cyberlink DVD Suite Pro 5 is not supposed to be an
iLife clone. The comparison (or is it wishful thinking?)
at the beginning of the review is all mine. I did not have
a lot of success with recording narration for some of our
videos, although the problem was at least in part related
to some incompatibility between our Sound Blaster Audigy
drivers and Windows Vista, so we can't fully blame this on
DVD Suite Pro 5. Not all software suites of this kind work
on all Windows PCs. Read and heed the system requirements.
Download the trial version from the Cyberlink web site to
try out the software before purchasing.
Pros: We like the
Cyberlink products because they're generally quite friendly and DVD
Suite 5 is no exception. The range of features and functions in DVD
Suite Pro 5 suite is suitable for beginners, novices and many hobbyists.
You'll be able to produce some rather good results quite easily
and that's the whole point of the exercise—getting
your video footage and digital photos into a format that
can easily be shown to other people. Power2Go is very
handy for grabbing audio tracks from CDs to use in your
personal video productions. We were able to edit, produce,
burn, label and hand out a 15 minute video of a 10th anniversary
party in just under 4.5 hours. Some other testers took
longer (and some produced longer videos too), while others
were done with their 3-5 minute productions in two hours.
Whatever your skill level as a home video editor and producer,
DVD Suite Pro 5 is a good choice. Recommended.