Sunday, December 27, 2009

Video to DVD Transfer - Roxio Creator 2010 Pro

We recently upgraded to Roxio Creator 2010 Pro. Nice interface, but be very careful to read the forums for the correct procedure to completely uninstall older Roxio software/registry entries before installing. We had no problems installing Creator 2010 Pro after following the recommended procedures.

What you get:

1. LightZone: for photos. Allows you to quickly add professional lighting effects and correct color balance; fix any lighting problems with your photo; adjust gray levels; change the exposure without changing the current color; will work with RAW, jpeg, tiff and png photo formats.

2. HiDef and Blu-ray: you must purchase the optional plugin. Allows you to author/create blu-ray dvds (we don't recommend this at this point, as most do it yourself blu-ray software has all kinds of problems playing back on current blu-ray dvd players).

3. Sonicfire Pro: allows you to make custom soundtracks (based on musical styles) for use in your video projects. We like this version of sonicfire alot. You can customize which instruments are used, the mood of the music, the tempo of the soundtrack and the pitch, then export the track to use in your video productions.

4. Soundsoap: with trial and error, you can remove noise from sound recordings (such as wind, background noise, etc.). It takes alot of playing around to get exactly what we're looking for.

5. BackOnTrack: allows you to back up your hard drive, OS, files, settings and programs. If you don't already have a backup strategy for your system, this will do it for you.

6. Burning DVDs/Copying non-copy protected DVDs: Allows you to burn and copy dvds from your desktop; burn a blu-ray data DVD; burn a regular data DVD; back up CDs and DVDs; copy DVDs you've already made; backup audio/movies/tv shows from iPod to your computer; render a dual layer DVD to fit on a standard 4.7GB dvd.

7. Video: Allows you to edit your video files; create and edit movie style DVDs; make movie presentations quickly using your imported video and photos, then using the Cinemagic feature; capture analog video; import video; import video from HDV camcorders and AVCHD camcorders; save videos you find on the web and play them back on your phone or iPod; upload your video to Youtube; preview video quality before you decide to render an entire project; add titles and credits to your video footage; basic video editing tools such as trim, cut, timeline, storyboard, transitions, etc.; fix the color, contrast and brightness of your imported video footage; image overlay, text overlay and picture in picture for your video footage.

8. DVDs: with the optional blu-ray plugin, you can play back bluray movies on your PC, burn blu-ray dvds and data dvds. Without the optional plugin, you can make standard dvds with menus and chapters; burn a project directly to dvd; play dvds on your computer.

9. Music: Allows you to convert audio book CDs to iPod and other compatible devices; create music mixes with transitional beats between songs; trim blank spaces at the beginning or end of songs; import audio from CDs, vinyl records, tapes, and the internet; capture internet radio songs; digitize analog/vinyl recordings, clean them up, and export them as MP3s; rip the music from CDs or DVDs; convert many types of audio files and export them as a new audio file type (convert); burn mp3 CDs; burn mp3 DVDs.

10. Photos: Allows you to edit photos; create DVD photo slideshows; share your photos online privately; fix red eye; erase wrinkles/blemishes; crop photos; create panoramas.

11. Other: create dvd/CD labels and inserts using templates or creating your own.

We liked Creator 2009 alot except the fact that when we upgraded to Creator 2009 the "Pro" version was not a choice. Then a month later they released the "Pro" version. We didn't get burned a second time. We waited until well after Creator 2010 was released, then upgraded from Creator 2009 to the "Pro" version of Creator 2010.

They have some nice tutorials, but your best bet is to READ both the downloadable manual and also the Roxio forums. Many users have been around for years and have found workarounds to common problems. Be respectful, however--read through the forums first to see if your question has already been discussed and answered. People on the boards are very helpful but they get frustrated at new users who just jump on and ask a question that's been asked and answered already (in some cases, MANY times).

If you have a fairly new computer and are running Vista or 7, you should have a good experience. We wouldn't recommend putting it on an older computer running XP.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Video to DVD Transfer - Pinnacle Studio 14 Ultimate Collection

Pinnacle Studio 14 Ultimate Collection

Pinnacle Studio 14 was just released, and we've been using it (we have the Ultimate Collection version). The install process is much easier than previous Pinnacle Studio editions--in fact, almost every plugin and add-on that we had purchased and installed in Studio 12 was automatically unlocked in Studio 14 after the update. We're still having trouble with the Adorage video plugin and the Adorage transitions (Studio 14 accepts the keys and installs them, yet there is still a watermark on both of them). We're working with customer service to get it worked out.

For video to dvd transfer, there are a multitude of options for importing and working with video. You can import from DV, HDV, Digital8, and VCR using a firewire cable. You can also import from 8mm, Hi8, VHS, SVHS, VHS-C, or VCR using analog capture hardware. This analog footage will be converted to a digital file. You can also import from AVCHD, camcorders, digital cameras, mobile devices and webcams using the USB cable.

Also for video to dvd transfer, you can output your files into the following before burning to DVD: DV, HDV, Digital8 tape, analog videotape and you can also choose from the following export formats: AVCHD, BD, Blu-ray. HD-DVD, DVD (DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD dual layer), S-VCD, VCD, iPod, PSP, PS3, Wii, Xbox, DV, HDV, AVI, DivX, RealVideo, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Adobe Flash, 3GP, WAV, MP3, and Quicktime.

This new version allows adding motion to titles, new DVD templates (both static and motion menus), and 80 Montage theme templates. It allows for stop motion capture to make your video into an animation. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound is included. You can also share you video straight to Youtube from within the program.

One big disappointment is that there are no new transitions included. One would think after so many new versions that past few years that new transitions would be a priority.

In Studio 14 you can still work in both the timeline mode and storyboard mode. Working in storyboard mode makes it easy to add all of your transitions and video effects, and then you can switch to timeline mode to add your titles, music, voiceovers, etc.

Overall Studio 14 has been very stable in video to dvd projects we have completed. We recommend turning off the background rendering if you are going to be making many changes in your project--sometimes when background rendering is on, when making an output file not all changes carry over to the output file. We also recommend, after completing your project, to restart your computer before making your output file.

Studio 14 does allow the use of previously purchased plugins such as Adorage, Heroglyph, Vitascene, borisFX, magic bullet, etc. but it does not allow for the use of soundsoap or smartsound (disappointing).

Some Studio 14 users have reported that when running Studio 14 and checking the task manager, they find that their stays at 100%. We have not found this at all--in fact, we have found that with a dual core processor Studio 14 is much less of a memory hog.

The online manual for this version of Pinnacle Studio 14 is very well done. We suggest opening Studio 14 and following along in the manual by actually trying each thing listed while reading the manual. This will get you very familiar with the program quickly.

The appearance of the program is much more professional looking--nice grays and blacks. Makes it much easier on the eyes when doing lots of video editing.

Overall, we like the upgrade. If you're worried about taking the plunge it may be prudent to wait until the first service pack is added (this usually happens 2-3 months after a new version is released).

One last note: it always seems that people that have the most problems with Pinnacle Studio are the ones which barely meet the CPU/hardware requirements. Note that the minimum requirements Pinnacle suggests are not really the requirements that will help you work easily in Studio 14. If you do not have a dedicated video card (256) or higher, you will have problems. If you have an integrated video card, don't waste your time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Splitting Video - Video to DVD Transfer Service

So you've imported your video but want to split the video into different parts. Try the Boilsoft Video Splitter here.

You import your footage into the video splitter and can make smaller files from your imported video footage. The program supports many file types such as AVI, Divx, MPEG-4 video files, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VOB video files, ASF, WMV, WMA files, Real Media(.rm, .rmvb), MP4(.mp4, .m4a) files, 3GP(.3gp, 3g2) files, VCD (.dat) files, AC3 files, MPEG Audio file, mp1, mp2, mp3.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Corel VideoStudio and VideoStudio X2 - Video to DVD Transfer Service

We took the time to download the trial of VideoStudio X2. It has features very similar to Pinnacle Studio 12--especially the look of either the clip or timeline windows. If you load the clip interface you can drag clips to "boxes" and then drag transitions to the small boxes in between. You can also switch to the timeline window which gives more information.

VideoStudio X2 also gives you the option of using the pen tool to "write" anything you want on a video clip. Nice feature but could be overused quite easily.

VideoStudio lets you:

- edit standard and HD movies
- edit photos and photo slideshows
- has an on board Movie Wizard
- lets you burn your movies to DVD with menus
- lets you share movies in psp, ipod, iphone and Youtube formats
- includes WinDVD to play dvds on your computer
- includes dvd templates

The feature set is quite high. We had all sorts of trouble with splitting movies into scenes. When you right click on a movie that you have imported you choose "split movie into scenes" and can then choose from "by time code" or by "content". There is a slider to choose the sensitivity. We tried the program with mpeg clips and even short clips of 3-4 minutes ended up with 90-100 scenes each no matter where we would drag the sensitivity slider. Our guess is that this works much better with footage imported from MiniDV and other digital clips.

Unless you've purchased your computer in the past 6 months to a year and have LOTS of ram, good luck. Unlike Pinnacle Studio on a fast machine, it seems painfully slow.

Although the program has some really nice features, you better do a test drive first and download their trial program and give it a go to see how it runs on your computer.

We emailed their support team with two questions and never got a response. Not a good sign of high quality customer support.