Roxio Easy Media Creator 8 Suite review
Scarcely six months have passed since the release of Easy Media Creator (EMC) 7.5, which came hot on the heels of the Roxio/Sonic merger.
One obvious difference is that the Suite interface, which aggregates all the bundled apps together, has been completely redesigned and is now a lot neater and easier to navigate. The organisation is similar, however, and brings the various utilities under the banners of Audio, Backup, Copy, Data, DVD & Video, Organize, Photo and Tools. As before, the sheer volume of different apps you get for the money is astounding. So to help you find what you need, each section comes with a handy guide, giving short descriptions of all the different options.
With so many applications rolled into one, EMC 8 has become even more sprawling. Thankfully, almost all the components justify inclusion. One highlight is the Video Compilation tool. This will import DVD-Video discs, Video_TS folders, DVD-Video disc images, plus DivX and WMV formats. You can then add a menu, and have EMC convert the movies into one DVD-Video disc or leave them in their original format. When importing DVD-Videos, you don’t get the full original disc contents with menus, but have to select individual titles for inclusion. Re-encoding can also take quite a while. Still, this is a great utility for bringing your favourite videos onto one disc that’s compatible with set-top DVD players.
Aside from redesigning the main interface, Roxio has given the bundled MyDVD a facelift as well. MyDVD wasn’t hard to use before, but there’s now an Express version under the Quick DVD heading. This breaks down DVD authoring into a couple of simple actions, such as adding a new movie and changing menu styles. If you want to edit your video prior to disc creation, the updated VideoWave 8 is also included. On the surface, it doesn’t look like it has changed much, with the same single video overlay track and restriction to just one video filter at a time. But it does support High Definition Video, for those lucky enough to own an HDV-capable camcorder.
The music compilation tools now include the ability to detect ID3 tags automatically after capture. This uses Gracenote’s MusicID Audio Fingerprinting service, and the same system can be employed for tracks taken from CD. We found it relatively adept at detecting tracks that had been ripped by digital means, with a few exceptions. With analog recordings, however, it was a very hit or miss affair. New with this version, you can create DVD music discs, which allow you to put up to 65 albums on a DVD in Dolby Digital audio format. This can then be played in a set-top DVD player.
Elsewhere, there are a huge number of smaller tweaks in this version. You can ‘Plug and Burn’ from your digital camcorder, going straight from capture to disc. PhotoSuite’s rigid wizard-based approach has been broken down so you can get immediate access to the toolset, although the Create Panorama utility remains a separate wizard. The LiveShare Photo Sharing system lets you share photos directly from your local PC, rather than having to upload them to an online service – a great idea.
If you own EMC 7.5, there aren’t any must-have new features in this upgrade. But you get so much for your money with Suite 8, you only need to find a small percentage that are useful to make it good value.
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