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Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2.0 review: Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2.0

Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2.0

Troy Dreier
4 min read
Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2.0 is part of an emerging group of video apps that are light on editing power but streamline the process of saving video to DVD. This program is meant for someone who wants to share video footage quickly, without the bother of editing out the rough spots. If that's all you want, Dazzle DVD Complete and Pinnacle Expression are stronger tools; each has a more pleasant and simpler interface than DVD MovieFactory. Get MovieFactory 2.0 for simple archiving--especially if you want to transfer video directly from your camera to DVD or capture and burn video from a TV tuner card. Insert the DVD MovieFactory 2.0 CD, and you'll see an installation page for the app itself, as well as for some related helpers. You can choose to install a photo tool that can also make CD labels (awkwardly named Photo Express 4.0 My Custom Edition), plus a QuickTime player and other add-ons. (Be careful not to overwrite newer versions you may already have, however.)

From the start page, you can select from DVD MovieFactory's four main options: Start Project, Edit Disc, Direct To Disc, and Copy Disc.
Once you've installed DVD MovieFactory itself, you'll see a sparse interface with a bland gray design that's no joy to look at and makes only minor improvements over the previous version's. From the main screen, you can choose your job from four buttons lined against the window's left edge: Start Project, Edit Disc, Direct To Disc, and Copy Disc. Whatever job you choose, DVD MovieFactory will move you along with a wizard-style interface and Next buttons located on the lower right of the screen. Click Start Project, then the Next button, and you'll be brought to the Add/Edit screen, which lets you add new videos to a project, add a photo slide show, or perform simple trims. It's easy to follow, but we prefer Pinnacle Expression's colorful interface and friendlier work flow.

This Add/Edit screen lets users add new videos to a project, add a photo slide show, or perform simple trims.
DVD MovieFactory 2.0, a Windows-only tool, is perfect for specific needs, such as saving video footage from a camera or a TV tuner card to DVD quickly. Specifically, MovieFactory's direct-to-disc option lets you save footage from your video camera to your DVD in one step--no stopping at the hard drive. In our tests, the process was fast, but we noticed a short pause between video capture and DVD burning. This option can also save footage to VCD or SVCD--great for archiving video footage quickly and far more cheaply than burning to more expensive DVD media. The ability to save directly to CD is a rare and welcome feature--only a few other programs, such as WinDVD Creator Plus, provide this option.

DVD MovieFactory offers 67 attractive, customizable DVD menus, although none has motion backgrounds.
DVD MovieFactory can grab footage from TV tuner cards; it can also accept MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI, QuickTime, VOB, and DAT files. One particular bonus: when capturing video, MovieFactory lets you set a start and end time in the recording--a nice touch that saves you the chore of manually stopping the recording when it reaches the right point. We're also happy to see QuickTime support, since many low-end titles, including Pinnacle Expression, don't support the format. DVD MovieFactory can also save footage directly into DVD-ready MPEG files (so it doesn't need to be converted as a later step), make photo slide shows, and save unfinished projects to DVD-RWs and DVD+RWs for later editing.

Be careful not to doze off while looking at DVD MovieFactory's soporific save and export screen, which lists output options simply but without any trace of interface design.
While all of the aforementioned features are nice, DVD MovieFactory's simplified editing tools are subpar. Even making basic trims is drudgery, since the video image doesn't advance quickly when you move the jog bar, located beneath the video, through the clip. You need to move the jog bar, then wait a second for the image to catch up. There's no way to add transitions or superimpose titles on clips, either. The included version of Photo Express, which you must launch separately, offers only a few paltry label templates and crude editing tools.
When it comes to burning and arranging a DVD, you'll find 67 menu templates, none of which support motion backgrounds (moving video behind scene buttons); Pinnacle Expression, in comparison, has 44, but 6 of those support motion backgrounds. MovieFactory burns discs quickly, although we found a slight glitch while making a Disc-Direct VCD: we could change the title text on our DVD menu, but not the text alongside our video clip. Service and support are easy to access from the Ulead Web site. Simply go to the DVD MovieFactory page and click Tech Support or Customer Support from the lower-right corner of the screen. You can get phone support Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. In our testing, we had to wait an average of 12 minutes for someone to pick up our calls. (If we waited more than 15, a message informed us, we'd need to leave a number so that someone could get back to us within one business day, which they did.) The tech-support people we spoke with were helpful and knowledgeable. Online FAQs and forums are also available, but there's no e-mail support.

Ulead DVD MovieFactory 2.0

Score Breakdown

Setup 5Features 6Performance 0Support 8