The Nero 12 suite of media applications can be a useful addition to your toolbox, to use as core tools for key tasks and to have on hand when you need a special job done easily and cleanly.
Nero 12 is the latest update to this venerable collection of tasty media tools -- with hearty classics (Nero Burning ROM), modern favorites (Nero Recode for format conversion), and an intriguing newcomer (Nero Kwik Media player).
The Nero spread can seem a bit old-fashioned due to its strong emphasis on physical media, with reliable burning and backup, plus extracting tracks and recovering files from damaged media. But the house specials also include the latest developments in video editing and format conversion, especially for mobile devices (Nero Video and Nero Recode).
The Nero 12 suite includes seven bundled applications for video editing and conversion, media playback, and physical media burning and recovery. If you want to dig deeper into audio, Nero has spun off its audio tools (among others) as free downloads, with Nero WaveEditor to record and edit and Nero SoundTrax to digitize and mix music.
The suite is available in two editions, the core Nero 12, and the generous Nero 12 Platinum, which has extras to please all palates, including greater HD support with Blu-ray Disc, stabilizer effects plus, more themes, templates, and content for editing, and additional Kwik tools for accessing and sharing your media around your home and with mobile devices.
The Nero 12 applications are nicely designed to help you get started and on task, with welcome screens that summarize each tool's key capabilities plus tutorials for common operations.
Nero Video is a full-featured consumer video editor capable of helping you import, edit, export, and share your videos. The initial start screen offers single-click selections to focus on the task at hand: Capture from external devices, Edit & Import video files, or Create & Export to author your video to physical media.
These options help configure your project and then pass you into the main timeline-based editing window. You start in the simpler Express Editing mode, with one track each for video, music, and narration, and then use pre-defined themes to insert titles and credits, transitions, effects, and background music. Customize by editing the theme's effects, or use the palette to add your own, including Picture-in-Picture styles.
For more creative control, click at any time to upshift your work in progress to Advanced Editing mode, with a multi-track timeline, keyframe controls, and customized effects including new slow and fast motion effects, and while in Platinum, a video stabilizer effect. Then export your finished video to a wide variety of formats, with faster encoding from GPU acceleration and smart encoding, now including AVCHD 2.0 and 50/60p progressive. Nero Video also includes full disc authoring with menus and links for DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
As you assemble more video clips you'll want to share them, which requires re-encoding and re-formatting for an ever-growing variety of playback devices. Nero Recode is a drag-and-drop yet impressively complete engine for extracting, converting, and reformatting media clips -- from optical media and files to mobile devices. You can rip tracks and extract movies from DVD, HD AVCHD, and even Blu-ray Discs, and down convert 3D to 2D video (in the Platinum suite). Plus it can grab online videos played in your browser. Even better, for repetitive work you can batch process groups of files, and apply pre-defined profiles to convert as needed for a wide array of popular formats and mobile devices.
Media Player Tools
Nero Kwik Media is a newer addition to the Nero collection, to serve as a central hub to find, catalog, search and play a wide variety of file and disc media formats. It includes tools for doing simple photo editing and enhancement, creating photo-based projects including slide shows and photo books, and sharing through email and online.
Nero Kwik Media also is available as a free download, as part of the Kwik family of mini-apps (available separately, or included in the Platinum suite) including Kwik Home Streaming across your home network. For working with mobile devices, Kwik MobileSync transfers to smartphones and tablets, and Nero Kwik Media provides social photo sharing across iOS and Android devices.
Physical Media Tools
The Nero 12 physical media tools are focused on disc burning and backup, plus restoring damaged media. Nero Burning ROM is the venerable tool for copying and burning CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Discs, and disc images. For today's bigger media files and growing libraries, the DiscSpan (UDF) format can split oversized files and large collections of files across multiple discs.
Nero Express is a wizard-style application for quickly burning and copying discs and disc images. It can burn HD video formats (AVCHD/BDMV) for Blu-ray playback. Nero BackItUp can back up hard drives or files - on demand or automatically on a regular schedule - to hard drives, removable storage, optical discs, networked storage, or Nero online backup. There's also a sync tool for keeping collections of files synchronized across media. Nero RescueAgent recovers files from damaged or corrupted media, including hard drives, optical disc, USB drives, and memory cards.
The Nero 12 suite provides a thorough collection of tools for video editing and conversion, media viewing and transfer, and, of course, physical and optical media burning, backup, and recovery. The Nero Video and Nero Recode tools for video editing and format conversion provide accessible capabilities for newcomers plus upside technology as you gain more experience. The result is a handy toolkit, both with core applications for repeated use, and with handy tools to use for occasional jobs -- especially with each application's welcome guides and tutorials to get you started quickly and to help remind you how to get your tasks done.
Doug Dixon covers digital media at Manifest-Tech.com
Nero Site: www.nero.com
Trial Version: yes
Minimum Operating System:
Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), Vista SP2 or later (32/64-bit), 7 SP1 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate (32/64-bit), 8 (32/64-bit)
CPU: 2 GHz AMD or Intel processor, Microsoft DirectX 9.0 compliant graphics card
Hard Drive Space for Installation: 5G
Batch Capture: DV/HDV
Automatic Scene Detection: Scene Detection, Ad Spotter, Music Grabber
Audio Scrub: Yes
Keyframe Animation: Yes
Background Rendering: Yes
Real-time Software Previews: Yes
Third-party Plug-in Support: No
Batch Render: Nero Recode
DVD Authoring Software Included: Yes
- Handy collection of useful media tools
- Core strength in optical disc authoring and extraction
- Effective video editing and format conversion, especially for mobile devices
- Growing emphasis on cross-platform media sharing and playback
- Somewhat confusing overload of products: with additions, free add-ons, and upsell options
- Audio tools no longer core, relegated to free downloads
- Does not access Kwik tools directly
- Tools could be better integrated across suite (edit, then convert, then transfer/sync)