It's easy to locate all the essentials of basic to not-so-basic DVD creation in Creator Plus. Between buttons and pull-downs, it's all there on the opening screen—Edit Mode—which pulls you right into the action with a combined preview and storyboard area into which you can import already-captured video content or switch to Capture Mode, in which you can capture video in real time from your DV camera through an attractive graphical screen.
Back in Edit Mode, you can have Creator Plus perform automated scene detection, arrange scenes in the storyboard, add transitions and music, preview video, and trim scenes with a standard scroll approach (by entering the audio/video manager). You can also switch to Timeline Mode, which is useful for seeing the impact of your scene-trimming.
With your video set, you move on to Author Mode, in which Creator Plus presents you with a palette of background choices for menu creation. You can also import your own stills for a background (Edit Mode also has a still-capturing function if you need to do this in Creator Plus). Advance to the Theme Editor and get to work on chapter and button creation. Creator Plus presents you with three tabs—Themes, Main Menu, and Chapter Menu—and these give you all the working room you need to build your DVD.
Creator Plus will then burn your title to VideoCD or DVD, like the competition, and at a variety of bitrates (distinguished by the less-technical term "quality," or available time, as in most of these products). Creator Plus also offers Direct Recording, which means quick and easy direct-to-disc DVD creation straight from capture or imported AVI file, and skips over the menu creation stages and combines rendering and recording in a single process. Ironically, even as some of these tools make pretensions to corporate or semipro features and appeal (Creator Plus has fewer than most), it's in this direct-to-disc workhorse mode that these products just might get over with the corporate or pro bunch, especially when they find them bundled with their recorders. But WinDVD Creator Plus makes its case clearly on consumer terms, and by all appearances, it's a strong one.