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Just a right-click away
WinProducer comes in two flavors: a $79 version that burns only to CDs and a $149 DVD creator, which we tested. WinProducer 3.0 DVD's interface is divided into four sections. The top left shows import and export options, the top middle displays the video that you're editing, the top right shows filters and effects, and the bottom section lets you add audio and video tracks to your masterpiece.
To give WinProducer a neat and tidy appearance, the app doesn't feature a lot of buttons and menu options. Instead, the most important functions are accessible by a right-click. Any tool that you can't see within five seconds is probably a click away. For example, you can right-click a selection of clips to trim and align them.
Want to import video clips into WinProducer? No sweat. The program grabs footage from VCRs and FireWire video cameras and inputs video from your hard drive in MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX, AVI, and DV formats. (Using DivX requires a separate installation of the DivX codec, which isn't included.) WinProducer also boasts an impressive range of output options, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, DivX, DV Type 1, DV Type 2, and WMV.
Manage your tracks
Unlike other editing programs, such as Apple iMovie, WinProducer doesn't detect scene breaks while it imports a clip, but if you right-click a clip you've saved, you can make WinProducer break it into scenes. Unfortunately, this feature was problematic in our testing: WinProducer broke up only the first 11 or 12 minutes of a 26-minute test clip. This feature isn't much use if it doesn't work on longer clips.
Sophisticated layering options
Despite its scene-detection shortcomings, WinProducer appeased us with a pro-quality video-editing tool. It lets you add as many layers of video or audio to your movie as you'd like, and you can add multiple filters or effects to your clips to boot. We don't know of any other low-end, consumer editing tool that lets you layer effects. You can also choose to hide a particular track while working on another and use the timeline to create precise edits. Unfortunately, browsing through tracks can be a pain. We found that the picture jumped around when we dragged the preview bar to a new location, and scrolling proved sluggish as well.
Poor DVD-creation tools
Most editing and DVD-authoring tools on the market, such as DVD MovieFactory and VideoWave, are really two programs grafted together: one for editing and one for DVD creation. WinProducer is refreshingly different; it integrates its DVD abilities into the same interface. For example, you can select a DVD menu from the confusingly labeled group Themes and add chapter markers within your video timeline as you edit. Other programs make you edit first, then compile your DVD--an unintuitive process.
While we like the integration, WinProducer falls flattest in DVD creation. You can't preview your DVD menu or test it out, as you can in NeoDVD Plus. Worse, you can't burn multiple videos to the same DVD--you can assign only one movie to a given DVD menu. Thus, although you can include multiple chapter markers on your menu, you can't add a second piece of footage to a DVD that you've already compiled.
We weren't impressed by the tech support, either. If you have a problem, you can read an FAQ or send e-mail. Responses take two business days, which is a long time to wait if something has crashed. For $149, we want someone on the phone.
WinProducer 3.0 may be long on editing power, but it's weak on DVD creation--the bread and butter of the digital-video craze. Hopefully InterVideo can get the DVD features spruced up for the next version, though, because the rest of the program stands up to the competition.