iDVD

Over the last year or so, Apple has given us loads of new software. It started with iMovie and iTools, more recently iTunes, and now iDVD. The common theme of these software packages is that they’re cheap – or free – they’re powerful, and, most importantly, unbelievably easy to use. After using other DVD-authoring software, I couldn’t imagine how Apple could make such a high-end and complex process simple. One glance at the application, and it was obvious that the companies making professional DVD software are just having a laugh at our expense. It isn’t difficult – iDVD can be mastered by a seven-year-old kid in ten minutes. Themed frame
The first step is to choose a theme – there are 13 presets and you can add your own. Once you’ve chosen the theme, you import your movie. When selected, your movie will appear on the screen in a themed frame. You can choose a movie frame to appear as the title frame by moving a slider across the top of the image. You can add three types of icons to the frame, a movie, a slide show or a folder – which may contain another frame. With folders, you can hold lots of different clips and movies that are easily navigated with your DVD controller. Once you’ve chosen your theme and imported your movies and still frames, it’s just a matter of typing in some titles. When you’re happy with the DVD, the next step is to preview it using the virtual-DVD control. You can navigate around the presentation and play the movies as if using a finished DVD. Finally, you arm the burner by clicking on Burn DVD. This reveals a button that looks like it will launch a nuke; actually it starts the burning process. The tragedy is that although we have this software, the machinery to make it work isn’t available yet. Apple has said that the Power Mac G4/733 with the SuperDrive should be available by the time you read this. If you’re unimpressed by this exciting new technology, take a look at the previous technologies. Before iDVD, the only way you had of burning a DVD involved thousands of pounds worth of hardware and software. It was an extremely complex and long-winded process taking 25 times longer than the source material to record – a one-hour movie would take 25 hours to burn. Not exactly consumer friendly. Performance boost
Although we don’t have the requisite machine to test, we have been told that the G4 733MHz will be able to record an hour of material in two hours – a huge improvement on previous options. You may be thinking that this sounds like an ideal option for pirate DVDs. Some people have cracked the DVD encryption, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that hooky DVDs could be the next hot item to appear at your local flea market. It’s almost certainly possible to do this with some jiggery-pokery, except for one reason. The recordable DVDs that work with iDVD are only one-hour long, not long enough for a Hollywood blockbuster. Coincidence? I think not – Steve Jobs wouldn’t like Mac-created pirates of Toy Story 2 flooding the market.

OUR VERDICT

So long as your reason for wanting to be able to record DVDs is honest, you won’t be disappointed by iDVD. It makes recording DVDs fun and childishly simple. Having to buy the most expensive Mac on the market to access this technology is unfortunate, but I’m sure the technology will trickle down to all Macs over the next couple of years.

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