With the plethora of media available to record sound and vision, there’s a real need for software that is especially friendly to the first-timer wanting to capture their favourite tunes, videos and presentations on disc.
To this end, Sonic has created a package that will not only cover most possibilities but will also keep the process relatively simple, and at a manageable price. So included in the box are MyDVD, which enables you to capture, edit, copy and burn DVDs, and RecordNow, which does a similar job for CDs. To round it all off, CinePlayer then allows you to play back your newly fashioned discs while Express Labeler makes sure they’re packaged in an attractive format.
Everything from the manual to the interface is designed to make each stage of the operation as pain-free as possible. MyDVD was originally designed as DVD authoring for beginners and the latest version has incorporated some new features such as the ability to edit previously created OpenDVD discs. You can also record direct to DVD or VCD as well as employ a range of transition effects, filters and titling tools when making a new project.
Stills can be added (including as a slideshow) but there are no photo or sound editing capabilities. It’s also impossible to mix NTSC and PAL video clips and you have no choice about where to place text or menu buttons. On the other hand, the drag-and-drop principle is easy to master and there’s a clear and helpful tutorial to talk you through every step of the way.
RecordNow Deluxe is the more comprehensive of the two programs as it’s designed to burn music discs from CDs or files and allow unlimited MP3 ripping. Photos and slides can be copied and auto-archived, yet curiously, while you can back up to optical disc, you can’t back up to a hard drive. The other limitation is that information about music tracks and artists can only be retrieved by using Windows Media Player.
The Express Labeler, though, is simplicity itself. Choose from a disc label, DVD case or jewel case and then decide what form of (admittedly limited) layout, background and font you desire. Then press print and, hey presto, out it pops from your printer. You can expand your range of options here but only if you’re willing to pay for upgrades via the Web site.
The CinePlayer gets a decent round of applause, too, because it contains no more nor less than you need to play virtually any video format – DVDs, CDs, AVI, MPEG, whatever. It’s probably the most clutter-free, economic and efficient player currently available.