you are anything like me, you have been using your digital
camera not just to take still pictures but small videos
as well. If you know my niece and nephew, it’s just
not a family get together if they can't be filmed goofing
around. What Aunt Lianne is inevitably left with are dozens
of 30 second video clips, practically useless on their
own, and far too precious to discard. Seems a waste to
have them just taking up hard drive space so every once
in a while I e-mail their mother a little memory from the
past, if only to amuse myself. What I could really use,
and what I've been keeping an eye out for, are programs
that will allow me to easily marry these small video files
together into something that lasts longer than a minute
or so and is therefore more meaningful to the family. Did
I mention that I also want to record TV shows and make
backup copies of my DVD collection?
XP comes with Movie Maker, but its features are limited.
Windows Media Player is a nice playback utility and audio
ripper, but aside from that it's a big fat pantload.
Other software packages I've tried leave the older family
members out of the loop because while they have a DVD
player, they do not have a computer so creating a typical
MPEG movie file for them is pointless. Movies on CD & DVD
seems to be just the ticket to easily create and distribute
just such productions.
you have used Movies on CD & DVD’s sister product
Photos on CD & DVD you will be familiar with the
interface and the Magix creative process. It's a simple
three step process. Step one is to import your movie
(and before you do anything else, if you're living in
North America go immediately to the settings menu and
change the default PAL video setting to NTSC). You can
do this in step three if you forget, but remember to
do it at some point before you burn your final project
or it will not work on north American DVD players. Once
that’s done, and you have the right hardware set
up, you can import from your video camera, your memory
sticks, hard drives, even your VCR; where there is a
will, there is a way with Movies on CD & DVD. If
you have a large movie from a VCR or camcorder, importing
it into the software will allow you to break it up in
to separate scenes. You can add a title to your movie,
adjust the brightness and color intensity as well as
set the movie’s cropping abilities so that the
edges won't get cut off when viewing your finished product
on wide screen TVs. Once the movie is imported and you
have a master to your liking you can go on to step 2.
If you are like me, your hard drive already houses all
the movie clips you will ever need so you won't need
to import anything, so you can start editing your movie.
like Photos on CD & DVD, step 2 is really step 2a,
2b, 2c and so on. There are dozens of choices you can
make in the editing process. You can transition each
scene to the next using something as simple as a fade
or get fancy and use the 3D effects. Supplement the scenes
with text, lay down a voice track or create atmosphere
by using your favorite music file in the background.
Movies on CD & DVD will automatically repeat music
files that are shorter than your movie, or fade them
towards the end if they go too long. It’s brilliant,
automatic and works really well. If you add clips to
your movie, the music will automatically adjust. You
can manually adjust both the length and brightness of
each clip as well as the volume and fade in/out length
of your music file simply by clicking and dragging the
appropriate control points on the time line.
really great feature of Movies on CD & DVD is the
ability to remove hiss and noise inherent in analog video
recording. I also used the feature to remove the overemphasized
treble noise obscuring the sound of waves lapping ashore
at the lake. The noise is largely the fault of the tiny,
cheap microphone in my digital camera. Once I applied
the Audio Cleaning feature noise was gone but the sounds
of the lapping waves were intact, enhancing my movie
instead of detracting from it.
can play in edit mode for hours and never get bored.
But while most artists will admit to never really finishing
a masterpiece, the time comes when you must move on to
step three and burn that CD or DVD.
3, better titled Make Disc, has all the bells and whistles
to make a DVD that looks just like a commercial offering.
There are so many different menu templates available,
there is sure to be something you like, but you can also
manipulate the background picture, the title font and
borders of the DVD menu. After those choices are made
it is time to choose what kind of disk you want to burn.
You don't really have to burn a disk. If you'd rather,
you can export your movie to your hard drive in either
AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Real or Windows Media Video (WMV)
format. Some of the more elaborate things you did in
edit mode may be lost if you are not making a DVD, but
the software does a pretty good job of dealing with these
issues. If in doubt, don't get too fancy and you'll be
some trouble with the virtual remote control in step
3. One click and it completely froze the software. It
seems though to be a conflict with something on my Sony
Vaio desktop as our generic test machine didn't suffer
at all and in fact the virtual remote control worked
quite well on that set up. We also had a bit of trouble
with an older Hauppagge TV tuner card (Movies on CD & DVD
would not recognize it), but we solved the problem with
a driver update for the card. Also, if you're actually
going to hang around the house backing up your DVD collection,
make sure you either have a lot of time to spare or,
better yet, a really fast PC. Backing up commercial DVDs
is a long process at the best of times. Movies on CD & DVD
works quite well for this, but it's a much more comfortable
process on a dual core Pentium than it is on an older
the only complaint I have about the software is the disk
burning process. It seems you have to know a little more
than just the point and click of things. A bit of knowledge
of the DVD burning process and which DVD media (+R, -R,
+RW or -RW) works in your older home player is a must.
While my DVDs worked perfectly on the computers at our
house, neither of our standalone Sony DVD players recognized
the media. The oldest DVD player we own is going on five
years which is a lot in the world of DVD technology.
Live and learn I guess. There is an online help system
that should provide answers if you have any troubles.
on CD & DVD makes very simple indeed the process
of changing fragmented moments in recorded time into
living memories in all their glory. No disc reading problems
with players manufactured during the past couple of years
(they're all widely compatible with a long list of formats
and media). Being able to make backup copies of commercial
DVDs is very handy, and I can't say enough about the
TV ad remover feature. Recommended.