Dazzle DVD Complete review:

Dazzle DVD Complete

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Easy-to-use interface includes wizards that make DVD creation a snap; sophisticated design controls; lets you add motion menus and intro movies; automatically designs DVD labels.

The Bad Can't import QuickTime video files; no Mac version.

The Bottom Line Dazzle DVD Complete offers more sophisticated DVD-authoring features than any other PC-based, sub-$100 DVD program. It's ideal for beginners and intermediate moviemakers who work on a Windows machine and don't need video-editing tools.

9.0 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Aug '02

Every so often, a piece of software lives up to its promise. Such is the case with Dazzle DVD Complete, one of the most sophisticated consumer DVD-authoring programs for Windows PCs. Dazzle is not a video editor; you use it to bring together your existing video clips, design a custom menu, then burn the video files to DVD. But for simple authoring, the $99 Dazzle DVD Complete offers total control for advanced users and simple wizards for beginners, plus it tosses in a few professional features. Every so often, a piece of software lives up to its promise. Such is the case with Dazzle DVD Complete, one of the most sophisticated consumer DVD-authoring programs for Windows PCs. Dazzle is not a video editor; you use it to bring together your existing video clips, design a custom menu, then burn the video files to DVD. But for simple authoring, the $99 Dazzle DVD Complete offers total control for advanced users and simple wizards for beginners, plus it tosses in a few professional features.

Wizards o' delight
Once you install PC-only Dazzle--a simple process--the program automatically searches for any DVD or CD-R/RW drives on your PC. You can then import video from your hard drive or capture directly from a camera in MPEG or AVI format. Unfortunately, Dazzle can't import movies in the popular QuickTime format.

The next step is compiling your DVD. Dazzle offers a slew of beginner-friendly wizards that guide you through each step in creating a DVD, from adding video and audio to choosing menu designs. The wizards perform a wide range of tasks. Some compile very basic DVDs, while the Hollywood DVD Wizard helps you create incredibly complex DVD titles that include short movies before the menu display; special features, such as outtake clips or subtitles; and multiple menus. Only Sonic MyDVD offers as many features, but the $79 MyDVD lacks Dazzle's opening movies and dramatically customizable menus.

Impressive design tools
Once you're through the setup wizard, Dazzle automatically opens its design window. In this area, you can type in your own title text or change the layout and design of your DVD's menu. Unlike most consumer-oriented DVD programs, such as Sonic MyDVD or Pinnacle Express DV, Dazzle DVD Complete offers an impressive variety of design tools, both for DVD screens and for printed DVD covers. The program includes 20 menu themes, which offer a starting point for your design, but you can customize nearly every element, including the typeface, the position, and even the image that you use to represent specific chapters on your DVD. For more variety, you can buy additional theme packs for $20 per pack. Once you've created a complete video file, Dazzle DVD Complete lets you export to both DVD and VideoCD formats.

Solid support
We didn't hit a single snag while testing Dazzle, but if you do, the company offers a full complement of tech support, including e-mail, a helpful online knowledge base and FAQ, and driver downloads for CD- and DVD-burner support. Unfortunately, phone support (available via a toll call from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday) is free only for the first 30 days after purchase. Once that period elapses, you can pay for a variety of support plans, starting at $24.95 per call.

It's a winner
With features that work well both for beginners and more advanced users, Dazzle's DVD Complete stands out among the many consumer DVD-creation packages. Ultimately, we'd like to see Dazzle import more digital video formats, especially QuickTime movies. In the meantime, this app remains the best program available to turn your videos into complex, professional-looking DVDs.

Dazzle DVD Complete's wizards let you quickly and easily compile the basic elements of a DVD. They're perfect for beginners, but some of them will please even the most advanced users.

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