a division of Sonic Solutions
101 Rowland Way
Novato, CA 94945
Since we last reviewed Roxio’s Easy Media Creator (version 7 in the October ’04 issue of Videomaker), two important developments have taken place: the competition in the disc-burning suite software category has become more intense, and Sonic Solutions, (developers of a popular line of DVD authoring software,) has acquired Roxio. For the consumer, these two developments are good news, because it means that the main players in the disc-burning suite market keep improving their products in an effort to leap-frog the competition. Roxio, one of those main players, just had a handful of nifty Sonic Solutions applications added to version 7.5 of its Easy Media Creator software suite.
These new applications–including the MyDVD Slideshow Creator, Backup MyPC Deluxe 6.0, and CinePlayer 2 video player–will form the bulk of this review. So, if you’re interested in the main features of VideoWave 7 and the other parts of the suite, check out our earlier review of version 7.
One of the things we noted with dismay in Easy Media Creator 7 was the fact that the installer didn’t offer enough options for the user to decide which portions of the suite to install or not install. This has, thankfully, been remedied in version 7.5; three options (Typical, Complete, and Custom) are available at installation, and the Custom option allows you to select or deselect each piece of the suite individually. A couple of caveats: the Complete installation option installs a huge amount of media content onto your hard drive, and the Typical option installs Napster–not exactly a typical disc-burning suite application, in our opinion.
The inclusion of the MyDVD Slideshow Creator, (essentially a special version of MyDVD, slimmed down and optimized for slideshow creation,) is one of the coolest upgrades in Easy Media Creator 7.5. Version 7 of the software had VideoWave 7 for slideshow creation, and it is an adequate tool for the job, once you get used the clunky interface. MyDVD Slideshow Creator, with its easy interface and added pan-and-zoom capabilities, is a far superior application for the typical home user who wants to make nice-looking slideshows with a minimum of hassle. 27 pre-configured, decent-looking menu templates come with options to import your own backgrounds and change fonts. New to those familiar with the full-featured version of MyDVD are the Pan and Zoom tools, a set of pre-configured effects that slowly pan the image or zoom in and out. These effects don’t offer much control to the user, but they do provide very smooth movements that look good on a television screen.
Backup MyPC Deluxe 6.0
This isn’t a video editing application per se, so we won’t spend much time on it. Nonetheless, even video editors need to think about backing up their systems every once in a while, if only to avoid dreaded downtime spent re-installing the dozen or so applications they rely on to create their video masterpieces. With Backup MyPC 6 Deluxe, you can perform local or network backups, set password protection, and even back up system files that the computer is currently using.
CinePlayer 2 Etc.
Earlier versions of the Easy Media Creator suite didn’t offer much in the way of a digital media player–the one that came with version 7, for example, would only play DVDs created with Easy Media Creator. Sonic’s CinePlayer 2 is a welcome addition to the suite, and is a good all-around media player in its own right, with a sleek, user-friendly interface.
Other important upgrades to the suite include the DivX to DVD utility, which is a godsend for Internet movie downloaders who want a quick and easy way to burn DVDs of DivX movies (sans menus); and the LP and Tape Assistant, which greatly simplifies ripping albums and tapes onto your computer’s hard drive.
Owners of Easy Media Creator 7 can upgrade to 7.5 via Roxio’s Web site for $29.95, and when you consider the excellent new additions to the suite, we think you’ll find that it’s well worth the price.
On the down side, Easy Media Creator 7.5 doesn’t offer much in the way of DVD authoring, so if you’re purchasing the suite primarily for that feature, you may be disappointed. If, however, your main interest is in full-featured disc burning and creating DVD slideshows, Easy Media Creator 7.5 might be just the ticket.
Operating System: Windows XP (service pack 1 or later) or Windows 2000 (service pack 4 or later)
Processor 500 MHz Pentium III or equivalent for music and data; 1.2 GHz Pentium III or
equivalent for DVD, Slideshow and video
RAM: 128MB for writing audio and data discs; 256MB for DVD and video authoring
Hard Disk: 1GB for typical installation (+4.5 GB for DVD copying)
Demo Version: Not Available
A good solution for digital photographers, but most home video editors will be left wanting more.
Harold Johnson is a video producer and history buff.