Roxio, known for many years as the go-to software for CD and DVD burning, expands on its capabilities with MyDVD 10 Premier. Sold on its own or as part of Roxio's Easy Media Creator ($79.99), MyDVD 10 gives users the tools to create videos and photo slideshows, as well as for DVD authoring. While it's not a straightforward video editor likeSony VegasorAdobe Premiere Elements, MyDVD has plenty to offer families who want to edit together.
Installation and User Interface
Installing MyDVD was painless and took less than ten minutes. MyDVD has plenty of options for manipulating video and photos, all of which are available via the left navigation on the welcome screen, which resembles Windows Explorer. From there you can choose applications, utilities or "resources," which provides online help, how-tos, and discussion forums. These navigation windows are clearly laid out in a drill-down format with text explaining each option.
Below the Video option in MyDVD are a number of choices. You can capture video from a recording device, burn directly from your recording device to a DVD or VCD (Plug & Burn), or edit a video synchronized to music (CineMagic). You can also do traditional non-linear editing (VideoWave), author DVDs, copy and compile videos or DVDs, play videos, convert video formats, or create DivX DVDs. VideoWave is the traditional non-linear editing program, and it's what we focused on for this review.
The first thing VideoWave does is ask if you'd like to start a new production and in what format (normal or widescreen). The program then opens a preview window, a production editor sceneline along the bottom, and navigation on the left side for adding content and starting a new production. We appreciated that the left-side navigation included both icons and text describing each item. Adding content is simple enough and includes the helpful tip to hold Ctrl while clicking the videos you want to add.
The program sorts all of the videos in the order they were added to the timeline, although you can drag and drop the clips into the order you want them. Under Find Panel on the Tools menu, you can view a text list of the clips and effects currently in use, which is helpful when there are several clips in the timeline view. We wish there was a visual organizer in addition to the Find Panel.
Trimming those clips was another story. Whereas other suites, such as Adobe Premiere Elements, allow you to start and stop video with the space bar throughout the program, MyDVD only allows it in the main preview window and not the video-trimmer window, where it would be more useful. Compared with the rest of the program's layout, the video-trimmer window is a mess: The Set Start and Set End buttons are placed inconveniently high on either side of the trim preview window. There's a trackline underneath the trim preview window along with playback controls. The trackline has flags for setting start and end points along with a cursor, but the cursor snaps to the flags whenever you try to move them. As a result, your only option is to click on the Set Start or Set End button if you don't want to lose the cursor's place in the clip. We found this very frustrating because it adds a lot of extra time when meticulously editing numerous clips.
Adding transitions, effects, and text to a video track was intuitive in the timeline view and altering them was a breeze. Unfortunately, it was not as easy in the storyline view. Aside from the transitions between each story panel, we found it difficult to tell what effects and titles were used on each clip without accessing the clip. In both the timeline and storyline views, though, we enjoyed the ease of altering the length of the clip and choosing an entirely new transition.
The latest edition of MyDVD features a 32-track editing timeline, direct YouTube upload, and SmartSound, which automatically syncs music and creates a finished project from photo and video based on the duration you specify, much likeCyberLink PowerDirector'sMagic Movie Wizard andMagix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus'sMovieShow Maker. While we found this feature mostly novice-friendly, we were dismayed at how difficult it was to change the volume of the native audio track. For starters, the track doesn't appear by default. In order to get to the native audio mixing device, you have to right-click on the video track, select Edit, and then choose Native Audio from a sub-menu. Additionally, there is no easy way to mix audio from two different sources, such as the audio from the clip and background music. We found this especially odd since MyDVD, like PowerDirector 7, only allows you to place effects, such as background music, on dedicated tracks.
Roxio MyDVD 10 Premier offers a complete and wide-ranging suite of multimedia tools that is relatively easy to use, but we wish they had paid more attention to the little details that allow the average user to make real TV-quality home videos, such as the trim window. MyDVD is easy to use for the occasional vacation video, but we wish it had more of the fine-tuning options that budding Spielbergs crave. For them, CyberLink PowerDirector 7, Adobe Premiere Elements 4, or Sony Vegas MovieStudio 8 are better options.