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Software Review of:
DVD MovieFactory 2
Make DVDs Just Like the Pros

 

Clarke Bird is fascinated with movie editing and plans to start a major sales pitch to his wife about getting a faster computer. Any help in this effort will be greatly appreciated.

From the September 2003 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

I’ve had some experience with three other movie editing software programs so I approached this ULEAD program with some confidence. Most movie editing programs work the same way; you open the program, capture the video, edit the scenes, add any special effects and titles that you require and “produce” the movie. You can then burn the movie on a CD or DVD burner.

The people that produced DVD MovieFactory 2 used slightly different techniques to accomplish the end result, producing a movie. First of all, MovieFactory 2 is not a movie editing program like others. It doesn’t have special effects or titles (but it does have background music clips to apply). If you want a lot of jazzy effects and oddles of titles, do the editing in one of the other ULEAD programs such as VideoStudio7 (reviewed this month here ) then bring the finished movie into DVD MovieFactory to produce your DVD movie.

Don’t have a DVD burner but you do have a CD burner? Then you can burn up to 74 minutes of your MPEG-1 videos on a CD (VCD) or burn 34 minutes of MPEG-2 video as Super Video CDs (SVCD). This program has got you covered. It will also convert your AVI and QuickTime files with a one-step output process.

When you do add a DVD burner to your system, DVD MovieFactory 2 is ready for you. Burn DVD-RW, DVD-R/RW and DVD+R discs — just choose your burn.

This program version offers MPEG.Now encoding for improved playback on your TV.

Don’t have much hard disc space? MovieFactory 2 lets you capture from your digital camcorder burning directly to a blank DVD disc — thereby solving the problem of not having enough real estate on your hard drive.

System requirements
Pentium III 800 MHz or higher (1+ GHz recommended), Windows 98, 2000, ME, and XP, 128 MB RAM (512 MB recommended), 500 MB of available hard drive space for progam installation and 4 GB hard drive space for video capture and editing, Windows compatible sound card.

Input/Output Device Support
Sony MICROMV (input)
1394 FireWire cards for use with DV/D8 camcorders
OHCI compliant IEEE-1394 and 1394 Adaptec 8940/8945
Analog capture cards for analog camcorders
Windows compatible DVD-R, DVD+R/RW, CD-R/RW

Video Input Formats
AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, WMV, FLC, FLI, GIF, QuickTime and UIS.

Image Input Formats
BMP, CLP, CUR, DCS, EPS, FPX, GIF, ICO, IFF, IMG, JPG, FCD, PCT, PCX, PNG, PSD, RAS, TGA, TIF and WMF.

Audio Input Formats
AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AU, AVI, MOV, AP3, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, QT and WAV.

So how did it perform?
I have to tell you up front, my system is barely marginal for capturing and editing movies. My system has a 700 MHz AMD Athlon processor and 256 MB RAM. The one smart thing I did was to install DVD MovieFactory on my 100 GB D: hard drive as my 40 GB C: drive has only 5 GB free space.

Ironically, as I started capturing video from my JVC digital camcorder (see my review here), I discovered the program insisted on saving the file on my small C drive. I tried everything I could think of to tell the program where to save the captured video — without success. Of course, my system froze and not even Ctrl-Alt-Del would restart it.

It was a tip from Alamo PC CD/DVD burner guru, Dale Swafford, that helped me recover from a desperate situation (the deadline clock was ticking). He asked me if I had defragged my hard drives. Well, come to think of it, I hadn’t done so for some time. Knowing it was going to take some time, I started defragging about 8 pm (after turning off my screen saver and power saver options), planning to let it work through the night.

Now I'm movie producing. The screen below shows granddaughter Amber at a soccer game. The large screen is the current scene being captured while the Media Clip list shows small thumbnails at the bottom of scenes already captured.

Pre-burn preview

DVD MovieFactory 2 allows you to add music clips (provided) or personal slides (some background slides are provided).

The program comes with a good Help index complete with graphics to more completely explain procedures.

After you’ve captured the scenes you plan to use, the next option is to chose the DVD menu whereby the viewer can click on a selected scene to play or repeat a scene. A number of menu templates are available in this step.

The next screen to appear is a “preview” to screen your finished movie before commiting to the burning step. The final step is next — the actual burning.

Because of my limited HD space, I did produce and burn a short movie on a VCD disc but I sure wish I would have been able to access my 100 GB HD with my video captures. I tried to play the VCD movie on my home Toshiba DVD player but it wouldn’t play — no surprise there. It played perfectly on my PC. After I get this issue to the printer, I’m going to tinker a lot more with this program.


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