Roxio Easy MediaCreator 7.5 Supersonic review
Roxio’s Easy Media Creator has a lengthy and chequered history. Long ago, in a different millennium, it was Adaptec’s Easy CD Creator. But like most CD-burning apps, it’s since bloated almost beyond recognition. This Supersonic version includes no less than 18 bundled apps, covering image and video editing, DVD authoring, data backup, still-image slide-show capabilities, and a DVD player. Naturally, there’s CD- and DVD-burning in there somewhere as well.
As with previous versions of Easy Media Creator 7, all these different apps are managed from a vast front end organised by Music, Data, Photo, Video and DVD categories. Underneath, you can access the same apps directly rather than via tasks, and underneath that are your recent projects. It isn’t as attractive to look at as the Ulead DVD MovieFactory 4 front end, but the Roxio approach is certainly easy to use.
Music functions include CD ripping, with both Coding Technologies’ and Fraunhofer’s MP3 codecs, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, and WMA to choose from. There’s an LP and Tape Assistant to help you record from analog media; this lets you bring in one side of an LP as one big file, then split it up into tracks, enhance it, and export it in any of the formats above. You can also record live audio, or burn audio and MP3 CDs.
The data section comprises disc copying (which uses a separate applet) and burning files to disc. Creating a backup project calls up Backup MyPC Deluxe (also available as a standalone product), a fully fledged data backup software capable of full, incremental and differential backups. It can also help you create a full recovery set to help bring your PC back to life in the event of a disaster.
The image section of Creator lets you capture stills from a wide variety of peripherals attached to your system. This includes any video-capture devices, as well as removable media and, confusingly, audio devices. Image-editing capabilities are provided by PhotoSuite 7, one of the apps acquired in the purchase of MGI by Roxio a few years back. This offers a task-based approach to enhancing your digital photos. It isn’t Photoshop – or Paint Shop Pro for that matter – but it’s quick and easy to use, and there’s a lot more power available than there appears to be at first glance.
Clicking on the Create Slideshow option will cause a bit of a shock, as the Sonic-branded MyDVD Slideshow appears – that’s because Sonic bought Roxio at the end of 2004. Sonic MyDVD Slideshow lets you create image sequences on DVD and VCD. As it uses the OpenDVD format for DVDs, slide shows created on this disc format can be re-edited at a later stage. However, it isn’t quite as easy to use as the slide-show features within Ulead’s Media Studio 4.
There’s also the option to create a greetings card, although that’s just another view within PhotoSuite, offering collage, montage and graphical borders.
Most of the video-editing capabilities come from VideoWave 7 Professional, which has improved greatly since its MGI days. The interface is no longer over-designed, and it even supports an overlay track with keying or picture-in-picture. However, only one filter can be applied at a time, and not to any overlaid tracks at all, which is a rather strange and annoying limitation. It can output to a wide variety of formats, including video files, back to DV tape, or the Internet, although all the settings are hidden behind wizards. For the truly lazy, there are automated video-editing options in the form of the fully automatic CineMagic or the partially assisted StoryBuilder.