When a product is as compelling and simple as iDVD, it’s difficult to see how it can be improved without hampering its ease of use. Apple, though, has done a good job with iDVD 2, offering extra features without overloading the interface, or spoiling usability.
There are five new themes, all of which use the new background-movie feature. This lets you take a clip of up to 30 seconds and use it as the background for the menu. When you try this, you’ll realise how difficult it is to do as tastefully as Apple has with the presets. Each background movie can have its own music, and you can add your own, too – but remember the 30-second limitation.
You won’t find features such as this in any other consumer product, on whatever platform. Apple really has cornered the market in providing the ultimate in consumer software. All the iSoftware in the Apple range is simplicity itself, rarely requires a manual, and costs little or nothing to the user. It almost makes me wish all my software was made by Apple.
People using iDVD aren’t just limited to being home-movie enthusiasts. You can use it to create DVD business presentations and portfolios that are bound to impress.
If you’re in the TV business, it’s an easy way to keep a record of shows. A limitation of iDVD 1 was that you could get only an hour of footage on a disk. Now, you can cram up to an hour and a half, which might be a bit much for a home movie, unless you lead a very exciting life.In reality, having the extra capacity will do more to break-up long home movies, letting you go to the best bits. Slide shows of still images also help add to the features on your DVD.
Now that I’ve whet your appetites for the wonders of iDVD, there is some bad news: you will need a DVD recorder, and only the internal Pioneer SuperDrive supplied with the high-end G4s will work with iDVD 2.
This means that you’ll be looking at over £2,000 (including VAT) for a G4 with the SuperDrive in. There
are external DVD recorders available, but external drives work only with DVD Studio Pro for making DVD videos. Only those who’ve paid top dollar for a new
Mac get iDVD – with one exception.
The one way you can get around buying an expensive Mac for the job is to buy the internal drive separately. Pioneer sells the DVR-A03, which the more adventurous among you may wish to install, instead of your current CD drive. I can’t vouch for its reliability – there may be a way for Apple to knobble the retro-fitted drives. However, if they’re the same as the ones Apple fitted in the first place, this will be difficult.
Obviously, this isn’t an Apple-approved option, and it will undoubtedly void warranties and mean software agreements are invalidated. Most importantly, it may force Apple to charge more for iDVD.
Apple makes products like the Cinema Display, iPod, iMovie and iDVD Mac-only because it needs to give people a reason to buy a Mac. By bypassing the intended specifications for iDVD, you’re getting software that is worth hundreds of pounds for next to nothing.
If you have iDVD and use it, then the upgrade, at only £13.99, is a no-brainer. Equally, it could easily be a good enough excuse to go and buy yourself a new Mac.