Odds are fairly good that within a couple of miles of your home, there’s a copy shop that will also pack, mail and ship anything that you want to send out to anyone. That store probably also offers a notary public service and may even offer private mailbox services. Corel (and recently-acquired InterVideo before it) took this analogy and ran with it with DVD Copy 6 Plus-and much like the neighborhood mailing/copy shop (er, the ones with paper copiers), DVD Copy 6 Plus does a whole lot more things than just make copies of DVDs.
We installed an electronically-distributed version of DVD Copy 6 Plus onto a Pentium 4 2.4GHz system. (A 30-day trial version is available for download from Corel.) The installer asked for a couple of runtime modules to be installed, but no big deal. After the main installation completed, the installed suggested that we install QuickTime, but we already had the most recent version. Corel also includes a few additional goodies in the package: VirtualDriver (allows the mounting of a disc image as a virtual DVD-ROM drive), Disc Label (a label creator with LightScribe support), and WinDVD 8 Silver. Interestingly, though, the InterVideo branding lives on for these ancillary apps.
Only One Machine
The basic way that DVD Copy 6 Plus operates is to choose a task, then choose a target device, sending in your source files, picking a target folder or drive and hitting start. The basic tasks are Disc Utility (the sub-options are one-click copy and erase disc), Copy to Go (transfer to iPod or PSP), Convert DVD, Convert AVCHD and Convert File.
DVD Copy 6 Plus includes not only support for DVD, but a number of HD formats (DivX at 720 and MPEG-2, H.264 and WMV at both 720 and 1080) and portable devices (PSP, Nintendo DS/Gameboy, 3GPP/3GPP2, iPhone, iPod and Zune), as well. There’s also support for making VCDs and for extracting audio tracks to WMA or WAV.
In addition, the Disc Copy module also allows a dual-layer DVD to be recompressed to a single layer. (By the way, and we shouldn’t have to say it, but Disc Copy 6 Plus only handles those DVDs that are not encrypted with CSS.)
This is a Test
We grabbed a DVD that we created over the course of a Videomaker Workshop as our sample for these tests. We started by trying out the one-click copy feature to copy a DVD to the hard drive, but it didn’t do anything but issue an error message. No problem-we expended a few more clicks and copied it with the Convert DVD function, using DVD as the target media. The copy went off without a hitch. It was similarly easy to create a disc image from the DVD (though we were expecting an .iso file rather than the .cdi file we got-but every part of DVD Copy 6 Plus that we exposed the file to could handle that newly-created image without a problem.)
We next tried converting a DVD to H.264 at 1Mbps. This is a good way to take a DVD with you to watch on a laptop, for example. We were able to perform the conversion easily, though the actual encoding took quite a while (we’re not particularly surprised about that, though.) The finished file looked great in QuickTime player, and was very svelte in size, so we could throw an entire trip’s worth of perfectly-watchable video onto a laptop and barely make a dent on its hard disk.
To try out some of the more advanced capabilities that we discovered while prodding about, we tried dragging in a few of our recent contest entries, including QuickTime (both SD and HD), WMV (also both SD and HD) and DV-AVI. We created a new DVD from these raw source files, saving the project to our hard drive. The process yielded a ready-to-burn folder that included VOB files for each clip, along with IFO and BUP files that are needed by DVD players. The mix of files yielded normal-looking output when the source videos were 4:3, but stretched-out video at 16:9. Unfortunately, the aspect ratio dialog box was grayed out, so there was no further control we could leverage over the process. This is a known problem with DVD Copy 6 Plus, and a patch is forthcoming to clean up these issues.
A Fine Wine
Corel DVD Copy 6 Plus takes care of the basics-no fuss, no muss. It certainly does copy DVDs and can do a ton of conversions with no problems.
As far as the more advanced capabilities that the program includes, the story isn’t quite as rosy for the time being. While Corel DVD Copy 6 Plus is indisputably powerful, it’s not quite the grand, unified encoding powerhouse that it could be. But there’s an incredible amount of promise here. We say, give it a little time (at least one update pack’s worth) and it should be right up there with the TMPG, discreet, Canopus and Sorenson tools.
System requirements: 1.8GHz CPU (3.0GHz recommended), 512MB RAM (1GB recommended), Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, 200MB hard drive space, sound card, DVD burner
Input file support: AVI, MPG, M2v, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, QuickTime, ASF, WMV, DVR-MS, 3GPP/3GPP2, DivX, Xvid, TiVo, DVD-Video, DVD+VR, DVD-VR, VCD, SVCD, AVCHD
Output file support: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, WMV, DivX, WMA, WAV, DVD-Video, DVD+VR, DVD-VR, VCD, SVCD, iPod, iPhone, PSP, Zune, cell phone
- Straightforward interface
- Support for wide array of formats
- 16:9 encoding problems
A well-honed DVD copier, with video conversion capabilities that are almost there.
Charles Fulton is Videomaker‘s Associate Editor.
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