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Software Review of:
Video Wave Movie Creator
Now by Roxio


Video Wave

Larry Grosskopf is a Clinical Psychologist at the San Antonio State Hospital, with a very hearty interest in computers and technology. He and Marta, his wife, are raising two rambunctious and lively children, daughter Zoë, age 9, and son Jackson, age 7.

From the November, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Roxio recently bought out MGI, who were best known as the originators of the Photo Suite and Video Wave products. Roxio now markets both of these fine products. There are a number of quality video editing products out these days and I am continually amazed by the power that is being built into them. I tell you honestly that I am now able to do things that I could only dream I would be able to do a few short years ago. With Video Wave Movie Creator, you have a comprehensive solution to your movie making pursuits. 

Recommended and minimum requirements for this program begin with a 500 MHz Pentium III (recommended 800 MHz Pentium III) processor or 1.6 GHz Pentium for DV (MPEG – 2) capturing; operating system Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 or XP; 128 MB of RAM; 600 MB open hard drive space (800 MB for optional content); IEEE 1394 card for DV capture; DV or Digital 8 video camcorder; 16-bit color display resolution at 1024 X 768; speakers and sound card and CD-ROM drive which supports digital audio extraction. There are also options available that allow you to expand your capabilities, such as a CD-R or a CD-RW drive; DVD-Recorder or DVD-RW drive or a TV tuner for video capture of an analog nature. Installation went off without a hitch when it was installed on my system.

For the sake of coverage, I will get right to a quick summary of how one can use this program. There are three major components 

  • Capturing Video
  • Making Movies
    3 separate ways CineMagic, Story Builder or Story Line Editor and 
  • Creating DVD/VideoCD
First, Easy Capture is available on the main screen and lets you “capture” digital video from your camcorder onto your hard drive. Once this step is complete, you can move on to the next phase. There are three ways to “make movies” the first being CineMagic, which makes movies (like magic) and does not require you to edit them. Next is Story Builder and this takes you through the process sequentially, permitting you to work from templates, select an introduction and title of your choice, pick and rearrange your video clips, add background music and an appropriate ending and even preview your movie. Finally, Story Line Editor is a more complex and sophisticated method which allows the user complete control over the whole movie making process. 

A few of the key tools provide you the ability to trim the length of video or still image clips, adjust the speed, color, contrast and brightness, and add transitions between scenes. There are also 40 different text types and motions, 100 special effects, 20 graphic or animated overlays and 92 audio tracks included for use at your pleasure. The VideoCD / DVD Maker affords you the ability to take the movies you have made and share them with family and friends. What you need is a CD or DVD recorder and despite the fact that DVD recorders are rather expensive still, the prices are beginning to reach that threshold of purchase consideration. You have to ask yourself, do I want to spend a bit extra now or wait and watch until the prices become more reasonable. Nowadays CD recorders are common and much less expensive both in comparison to DVD recorders and to previous CD recorder prices. The DVD/VideoCD making process is similar to Story Builder in it’s ease of use letting you select from menus and templates to ease the rigors of making your own DVD or CD menus, backgrounds and navigational aspects.

Now let us move on to how to put this knowledge into practice. As you may have figured out by now, I love taking pictures and videos and then making something meaningful or at least fun out of them. Initially, Easy Capture makes video capturing an utterly simple task. With a direct connection from your Digital camcorder into your computer via an IEEE 1394 (aka Firewire) connection, just turn your camera on so that you see the video playing on the camera and you will also see it on your monitor screen. Easy Capture also divided my video into scenes and did a good job of that. Once the video is in, they are saved as .avi files for you to utilize and edit. After you complete loading the video files, then you can use CineMagic and automatically — and I do mean automatically — let it build you a video. Note that the complexity of choosing what type of file format you need to use is eliminated because the software simply asks you what you want to do and then chooses the appropriate file format. Thus, you can have a DVD or VideoCD made from your edited movie and then burn it to a CD or DVD disc for archival purposes or just to share with family and friends. Depending on the file type, you do have control over format and quality.

StoryBuilder is less automatic but steers you through the process. There are just a few steps here, choosing and making a title, selecting music, if you prefer, for the background and deciding on an ending for the video. At the end point, you have several options one of which is to allow the software to write your movie to a file on your hard drive or write it to a DVD or Video CD for playing later. This is called the “rendering” aspect of converting digital video to a movie format that your computer can use and it does take quite a bit of time. While my 20 minute video was being rendered, I could have gone downstairs and made myself quite a snack. The reason it takes such a long time is that these video files are huge. For example, when 7 ½ minutes of my movie had been rendered, it had used 348 MB of space to create the file. Rule number one, as far as I am concerned in working with digital video files, is you can never have too much hard drive space.

Just for grins, before using StoryBuilder, I started out the easy way, letting CineMagic create a movie for me from some of the scenes I had downloaded earlier. One way to understand this creature is to think of it as a tool that carries out your bidding and does all the work. CineMagic first has to analyze your video and audio clips and then is ready to continue. You have to pick (from a “library” of choices) the music track you want and select a “creative style,” and then sit back and let the process take over. Voila’, you have a finished product. This is great if you are just beginning or if you are in a great hurry and don’t have the time it takes to go through StoryBuilder or Story Line Editor to make your movie.

Once I had created my movie in CineMagic or in StoryBuilder, I could opt to edit them or  cut certain parts out. You know, I wanted to delete those scenes where I forgot I had the camera on and I have two minutes of “grass shots.” Story Line Editor has a variety of editing tools, which let you create a movie from scratch or edit a movie already made in StoryBuilder or CineMagic mode. These tools require some patience and practice in order for you to become skilled at manipulating them. They are not that hard to use, but understanding what each one does takes a few trials. What is nice is the way that Story Line Editor lets you preview the changes you are considering making. If you want to apply certain transitions or if you don’t like some of the transitions that StoryBuilder added, you can drag and drop your choices there and then preview them before deciding that is the change you really want. Another thing that I wanted to add was moving text into some of the scenes. You do this in Story Line Editor by clicking on a text button at the side of the screen and choosing a text appearance and simply dragging it into the scene. Type in your actual text and select the “motion” tab and pick the motion you want and drag it into the ViewScreen and you are done. You can preview it and change it if you don’t like the results. Changing the brightness, color and contrast is also done here. Finally, the fun special effects added to the movie makes my mouth water to try more of them in the future. Ripple, mirror, 3-D and the selection of graphic character overlays were fun to play with. There are many more special effects to choose from.

You may be amazed, as I was, that the price suggested for all of this power and ease of use was $79.95 on Roxio, Inc.. However, I did find it for $69.99 on the Internet and there was a $30.00 mail-in rebate, making the final price an amazing $39.99. That deal may or may not exist by the time you read this review. For the best-price option, I suggest that you check the local retail stores and compare the prices you find there with online prices.

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