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Ulead DVD Workshop
has finally risen to the challenge and pushed DVD Workshop into the
serious prosumer arena. But can the program hope to compete with Adobe's
DVD burning became a reality, Ulead was one of the first in line to
provide DVD Video authoring tools for the home user. And, while its
wizard-based DVD MovieFactory covered very similar ground to competing
programs from Sonic and Pinnacle, DVD Workshop shone as the best middle-ground
program available, providing first-rate design tools and a good visual
interface within which to work. At that time, there were no truly pro-featured
authoring programs available for under £1,000, and we speculated
that Ulead could make a small killing if it integrated features such
as multiple audio tracks, subtitles, DLT support and copy-protection
into Workshop's repertoire - even if they were only offered as a 'pro'
pack for the power user.
In the interim, Ulead has lost much of its advantage in the Windows-based
DVD market, as Pinnacle offers similar authoring capabilities within
its editing programs Studio and Edition, while the now Sony-owned Vegas
editor gained a first-class authoring companion in DVD Architect. Also,
programs such as Dazzle DVD Complete and MediaChance DVD Lab have arrived
and sit at much the same market level as Workshop 1.2. While we had
big hopes for Workshop being the first Windows-based authoring program
to address the pro market, Adobe actually got there first with Encore
But, even though Adobe has a head start, Ulead could still do well with
Workshop 2. Reports from users suggest that Encore is still rather buggy,
and our own experience was of a cold interface and steep learning curve.
If Ulead can preserve Workshop's intuitive workflow and keep it stable
and reliable, it will be ahead of the game.
Overall, we're left with good feelings about DVD Workshop 2. Its feature-set
has been pushed in the right direction, and even though the simple,
VideoStudio-like interface is a big turn-off to some video makers, we
think it's great, since users are never faced with an intimidating blank
screen and no idea of where to start.
There's still room for improvement, though. Support for 16:9 menus would
be a good start, and we'd like the ability to zoom in to the preview
monitor's scrubbing bar when working with long-form videos. Better support
for older DLT drives is a must - they're widely available second-hand
and the only drives mere mortals can afford - and so, too, is the ability
to select layer break-points according to chapter or title. More control
over AC-3 encoding would be appreciated, as well.
Where DVD Workshop 2 really succeeds is in its unique approach to authoring.
The interface makes no attempt to be cold, sober or professional - its
agenda is to make the authoring process as simple as possible. Workshop
is a program easy enough for consumers to use, yet powerful enough to
create projects to a professional commercial level. That should be enough
to push Ulead back up to the top of the Windows market.
Read the full review
in May 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
CyberLink PowerProducer 2.0
Magix Movies on CD & DVD 2.0
Pure Motion EditStudio 4
Shining CitiDisk DV
Ulead DVD Workshop 2
Wacom Graphire 3 Studio XL
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