Looking for a low-end, easy-like-Sunday-morning video editor? Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator, a $49.95 bare-bones video editor from the makers of the well-known Easy CD Creator, comes closer than any product we've seen to date to making the process a no-brainer. If you simply want attractive results in a hurry and don't plan to make complicated edits, it's a smart buy. If you want a more advanced video editor, check out Ulead VideoStudio 7.0. Looking for a low-end, easy-like-Sunday-morning video editor? Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator, a $49.95 bare-bones video editor from the makers of the well-known Easy CD Creator, comes closer than any product we've seen to date to making the process a no-brainer. If you simply want attractive results in a hurry and don't plan to make complicated edits, it's a smart buy. If you want a more advanced video editor, check out Ulead VideoStudio 7.0.
A new name
In case you missed the news, Roxio just added video editing to its list of titles by acquiring MGI, creators of VideoWave. Movie Creator is formerly MGI's Cinematic, but has been redubbed to benefit from the VideoWave brand.
When you install Movie Creator, you choose between quick or complete setup; the latter adds a CD's worth of additional content, such as background music. Either method works simply and smoothly. Start the program, and you'll see a Welcome screen that displays the program's main areas: Easy Capture, CineMagic, Story Builder, Story Line Editor, and Video CD/DVD Maker.
Simple tools; quick creation
Easy Capture copies your video from a camcorder, a capture card, or a USB video camera to your hard disk. You can set it to automatically split your footage into separate clips, but we found that it sometimes didn't pick up on natural screen breaks.
If you merely want to create a no-muss, no-fuss video, look to Story Builder, a module that breaks down the movie-creation process into nine simple steps. This tool edits and composites your video automatically using whichever template you pick. Since it lacks editing tools, Story Builder doesn't produce jaw-dropping results, but it's a good choice for newbies.
Use VideoWave's CineMagic tool to create interesting music-video-style clips in an instant. Just select the source video from VideoWave's library of your imported video, which sits on the right-hand side of the screen. Then, use the Explorer-style interface to add music to the music library. CineMagic supplies only 5 video themes, including Personal, which highlights faces, and Old Film, which produces a grainy look--far fewer than the 24 you'll find in ACD's VideoMagic, a competing editing tool.
A word of warning for those of you who run other video applications: When we first loaded CineMagic, our test system completely froze. With the help of tech support, we figured out that our problems stemmed from a conflict with another video app, but we were never able to isolate which. We quickly got VideoWave running without a glitch on a second PC, however. Unfortunately, conflicts like these are fairly common.
Editing: the weakest link
Editing is the only area where Movie Creator falls flat. It combines a standard timeline with a well-intentioned but initially confusing Storyline Editor that requires you to group or ungroup selections of clips before adding effects or audio tracks. Even though it's not especially easy to use, Storyline Editor includes 87 different transitions and 92 audio tracks, as well as a slew of overlays and text styles.
At least partly compensating for its sorry editing skills, Movie Creator includes nicely integrated CD- and DVD-burning options. The CD/DVD tool offers 20 menu choices and lets you select which image will show on the clip's button. You can also preview the finished menu onscreen, unlike with WinProducer 3.0, another entry-level video application.
Roxio targets Movie Creator toward video novices just getting their feet wet, and we give kudos to the company for one of the best manuals we've seen in years. It not only explains the software well, it defines video formats and offers shooting tips, too. For those who want to add simple effects to their home movies and don't want to spend a lot of time learning a program, Movie Creator is a good choice. You won't make the next E.T., but you won't be frustrated by the experience, either.