Review : Videowave 5 by Roxio
Camera seeks editing tool, will travel.
By Vincent Himpe
While Roxio is very well known for its CD creator tools, it is normally not associated with video or image processing tools. Their acquisition of MGI last year has given them a firm foot in the imaging and video field as well.
Roxio has released VideoWave 5 Power edition already a couple of months ago, so time to have a peek at what this thing can do. This product is targeted towards beginning and enthusiastic videographers. Marketed on a par against tools such as Pinnacles' Studio DV, this program is more than yet another DV editor. Read on to find out what makes it different.
What is in the Box.
We have the retail version of Videowave 5.0 Power edition under test. Although the most other Roxio programs can be bought on-line and downloaded from the Roxio e-shop, this would be impractical for VideoWave. The sheer size of the files alone makes it impossible for all but the fastest download links.
Inside the box are 3 Cd roms, a quick installation leaflet, the licence agreement, the CD key and a getting started guide.
A separate card holds a warning message that "This program is designed to assist in reproducing materials you have the rights to, or have obtained the rights to use them. Unless you hold these rights you may be violating copyright law and could be subject to payment of damages or other remedies" it goes on to say that "You should contact your legal advisor an case if in doubt"
Interesting little note. With the increasing action of the RIAA ( Recording Industry Association of America ) on DMCA ( Digital Millennium Copyright Act ) and their attempts to halt illegal copying, Roxio apparently wants to prevent being sued for producing tools that might be used to violate copyrights. They put the responsibility at the end user. Very smart move.
One CD is the installation disk, the other two contain a variety of sample video, audio and other media that can be useful in assembling your own video.
The User Interface
When launching the program, the first thing that pops into view is the principal dashboard. I Use the term dashboard because that i what it looks like. A Clean stylish uncluttered user interface that shows you what you need to see for every task at hand.
The user interface has the usual elements found in video editing tools, but is organized differently from any other editing tools. The user interface is centered around the Preview monitor and element browser. On the left you have the function selector ( the dashboard). A timeline area is on top and the tool controls are at the bottom. While different from most tools this structure is very logical
This approach allows you to follow the user interface from top to bottom and left to right, just like reading a book. You start at the timeline, select an item to edit, this can be either a video segment or transient, go to the dashboard and select your function. The element browser shows you your options, and the preview monitor shows you what it will look like. Last the function control allows you to modify the settings.
When done you start again at the timeline window where you select the next free panel and do this all over again until everything is in place. For people coming from a classic editing layout, like Premiere and Studio DV, where timeline is at bottom, controls are right, this seems awkward at first, but you get used to it very quickly.
Video capture :
Videowave 5 can capture from an DV source, or any device supported by windows VFW or WDM driver.
VFW i an older standard. If you capture for these sources the actual control panel will change since this driver type brings its own control panel along.
WDM ( Windows Driver Model ) are drivers specifically written for Windows 2000 / Xp and can not be run on windows 98 or millennium. Newer hardware often comes with these drivers. It offers a uniform interface to the application controlling the device trough such a WDM driver.
When you are running 2000 or Xp and have such a driver then videowave will show you its own control panel. The image above shows a Sony Camcorder hooked up to the firewire port. Since this is a WDM based device you get full device control immediately from within VideoWave.
Here again you can capture form any source, but also directly form a CD. Simply pop in the CD and select Audio Capture.
You can Enable cd control for Videowave so it can control your computers CD drive directly from within the program. Simply click on Settings and make sure that under audio the checkbox "enable CD control" is checked.
The process is amazingly simple. Just drag the clip of your choice from the source material bin to the timeline and drop it.
Arrange all the clips in the order of your choice. Done! Nothing more to it. Dead easy.
Other video editing tools show you so called A/B timelines with transition inserts and more information that might confuse a beginning videographer. Videowave shows you simply a strip of film that represents the chronological happening of events
The filmstrip on the left shows two rushes (video segments) on the timeline. The only thing that i missing is the transient in between But that is for later in the editing process.
You can change the duration of a clip ( called 'cutting' )just click on the trim buttons. The preview monitor wilt show a button to set the start and stop of the clip. Presto !
Once the mix is complete you can add transitions by simply selecting the transition menu and dragging the transition of your choice on the timeline.
When you drop it between 2 clips that's where it will be inserted.
The Transition panel offers plenty of interesting effects. A nice feature is it shows you what the effect looks like when putting the mouse cursor over it. Interesting is also that in the preview they still us the familiar A and B designation like so many other editing tools, although the program doe not realty have an A and B timeline. Oh well it is clear and that is the most important thing.
All the standard effects found in most other editing tools that target this audience are present. So nothing new or revolutionary here.
You can change the duration of the effect and some other parameters ( depending on the effect chosen ) using the function control area.
The tool offers a bunch of special filters that allow you to do things like color correction and time base correction.
Color correction is a matter of selecting the clip of your choice and dragging the correcting filter of your choice on to it. The preview window will show you immediately what the result looks like.
Here again you have the chance to modify the settings using the function control panel at the bottom of the screen. You can also save your presets to the effects browser.
Special effects are different form transitions in the way that they work on one rush instead of gluing two rushes together.
Normally such effects should be used very sparingly but they can add an extra touch to a lead-in or lead-out for the movie, or to spiff up a title roll.
One good usage for these effects is when you import a still image and want to create the feeling of motion.
Applying these effects will 'animate' the otherwise still image.
Titling and Title effects
Once your masterpiece has arrived at this stage you might want to top it off with some titles or comment.
To add a title just type some text and select the font and color of your choice.
Text is per default static but can very easily be animated. The library browser shows some preset animation, but you can modify these at will and add even your own.
On the image below you see the text editor
The left gray square is where you enter the text. Hit the font button underneath to set font and size. Color is set by the sliders on the control panel. The next gray panel is used to animate. You see tree tabs at the bottom Start - Hold and Finish. You can set the position for each of these three phases by simply clicking in the area of your choice in this position grid ( the second gray panel that shows the hourglass in the image below )
On the left is a view of the predefined animations.
To make your life easy you can just take one of these presets and tweak it if necessary.
They are also great to look how a certain effect is accomplished. Again just as with the effects, when you simply put your mouse over any of these icons, the icon will animate so you see instantly what the effects look like.
Producing The Movie
Videowave can create an impressive number of outputs for your project.
Besides DV in Pal and NTSC it can Generate MPEG1 (PAL and NTSC) MPEG-2 PAL and NTSC) Microsoft WMV in about 12 or 13 different bit rates and formats, Real video for Broadband and for modem, Video CD and plain AVI format.
If that is still not enough you can also create your own settings And save them as a template in the Produce Templates.
The MPEG encoder for instance allows for complete customization of bit rate, image size an sound sampling frequency ( MPEG2 only)
Variable bit rate is not supported, The codec's use constant bit rate only.
Last action you will be required to perform is give a filename and hit the produce button.
Now you might want to go for that cup of coffee you have been postponing. While the tool is fast in operation during edit, it does not create any temporary files for the all of this work has to be done now. Every frame that is calculated is immediately encoded into the final output stream. This save disk space, since no temporary files are created, but has a penalty on the speed. But again, the tool runs swiftly while editing editing, and that is far more desirable, so the slow output speed is not really a nuisance.
Creating the Disc Project
When you are done editing an the final video file is made you can enter the Recording engine.
Start by creating a new project and select the disk type you wan to create.
Videowave supports 3 types of output media.
DVD : Select this only if you indeed have a DVD recorder in, or attached to, your system.
Mini DVD : This is basically the same information structure and compression system as a DVD, except the target s a CD. You can consider this as a DV with only 650 megabyte of storage. You should realize that, while computers can play these, very few standalone DVD players can use these.
VCD : And then there is finally VCD. This is the plain vanilla video-on-a-cd format using MPEG-1 compression. Note that SVCD is not supported by this tool.
Setting up the Menu
You can freely add a background image, audio, text and buttons to the menu. A manu can be a simple one page, or can contain multiple pages. There is unfortunately no wizard that can generate one for you. But building form scratch is not that hard to do. It' a matter of just dragging and dropping the elements where you want them.
Backgrounds: These can be still images only. Just pick one and drag it to the preview monitor
Background Music : Same here. Just pick a track from the library and drag it to the preview window.
Free text: Drag any of the available font style to the preview window, click it in the preview window and you can edit the text. A text can be one line only. So in the image above i had to add two texts. One says "LABDV TESTS" the other is "VIDEOWAVE 5".
Video elements: Just drag the movie strip you prepared earlier onto the preview window. You can resize or change the shape. Just pick one of the predefined shapes and, again using drag and drop technique, drop it on the video strip of your choice in the preview window.
These images are PNG format and you can create them yourself using your favorite graphics tool. You can also change the text under the video strip by simply double-clicking that text. You can not reposition it, nor can you change the font or size of it.
Video elements can be in any format tat videowave recognizes.when transcoding is needed the tool will do this the moment you give the Burn command.
These are created by adding a simply adding Menu page. On the top of the interface is a menu browser. Simply click on the tab "menus". Then click on the ADD menu icon. A blank page will appear. Simply select that page and build this menu using exactly the same method you used to build the previous menu.
To link form one menu to another, first insert a button onto the originating menu. Then you drag and drop the menu page to link to onto the button you created. So its much the same as adding a video segment.
You can also create chapters by double clicking an already placed image file on the top bar ( where the timeline normally sits ). A chapter creator pops up and you can add as many as you like. There is no method to link to these from within the menus, but you will still be able to control them with your remote control.
Burn baby Burn !
All that remains to do now is create the actual disk.
Here you can specify what video standard to use and if you want to do region control (DVD only)
You have the option to create the file set, burn to disk or do both.
Create files set : This creates the file structure in the specified path. You can use these files from within other CD/DVD burning tools in case you want to add other files to the disk image.
Write to disk : this enables the recording of the created files. Note that if you have Create files set to off these files will be temporary and they will be discarded once recording is complete.
MPEG quality. The MPEG encoder quality can be called fair for its speed. The codec is reasonably fast for the job at hand.
An overall nice program that comes close to the user friendlyness that an Apple Macintosh might offer. On a par with other tools as Ulead Moviemaker
It levels out slightly below pinnacle's Studio DV but Videowave is easier to use for aspiring videographers. Videowave keeps you focused on the job at hand. The user interface setup is different than that of most video editing tools, and that is not for the worse. Roxio, has dared to differ and they did a good job. The workflow is linear and well organized.
This tool is excellent to process your home movies, but lacks the power for more advanced productions. But then again those tools are a different price category altogether.
Some side notes :
During the test of this product i ran into some troubles. After a couple of days the Disk authoring tool would no longer run. After contacting Roxio i found out that Roxio's Photo suite can conflict with this program. and indeed troubles happened after installing that program.
If you do install Photo suite it i necessary to download the latest patches for both Photo suite and Videowave 5. Roxio has a users forum at www.roxio.com. You can use that same address to get the latest updates of this, and other, Roxio products
Author: Vincent (July, 2003 )