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April 16, 2004

Table of Contents

TOPPAN and Sony Develop 25GB Paper Disc
Canopus Announces ProCoder 2.0 Availability, Imaginate 2.0
Audavi Corporation Announces Introduction of 20GB 1.8'' Mini-HardTape
VtoDVD Systems Launches 'RocketDVD Professional' at NAB 2004
Ulead to Bundle Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite with Professional Digital Video Products
Sharp Introduces Notevision XR-1S Portable DLP Projector
Digital Television Requires Digital Identity
Spectrum Digital Services Now Offering HexaLock CD-RX, Copy-Protectable CD-R
Review: Editor's Choice-Ulead DVD Workshop 2.0

TOPPAN and Sony Develop 25GB Paper Disc

TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD and Sony Corporation have announce the successful development of a 25GB paper disc based on Blu-ray Disc technology. Details will be announced at the Optical Data Storage 2004 conference to be held from April 18th to April 21st at Monterey, California.

Using the disc-structure of Blu-ray Disc technology, the new paper disc has a total weight that is 51% paper. The two companies jointly began this optical disc project approximately a year ago. Blu-ray Disc is commonly known for allowing more than 2 hours of high-definition program recording.

Hideaki Kawai, managing director, head of corporate R&D division, TOPPAN CO., LTD commented: "Using printing technology on paper allows a high level of artistic label printing on the optical disc. Since a paper disc can be cut by scissors easily, it is simple to preserve data security when disposing of the disc".

Masanobu Yamamoto, senior general manager of Optical System Development Gp., Optical Disc Development Div., Sony Corporation said: "Since the Blu-ray Disc does not require laser light to travel through the substrate, we were able to develop this paper disc. By increasing the capacity of the disc we can decrease the amount of raw material used per unit of information."

The worldwide production of optical discs is approximately 20 billion per year and optical discs are being adopted widely. The combination of paper material and printing technology is also expected to lead to a reduction in cost per disc and will expand usage. TOPPAN and Sony will continue development of the disc for practical use.

www.sony.net
www.toppan.co.jp/english

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Canopus Announces ProCoder 2.0 Availability, Imaginate 2.0

Canopus Corporation, a leader in digital video production solutions, has announced ProCoder 2.0 that will be available by the end of the month. ProCoder 2.0, an update to the company's acclaimed professional video transcoding software tool, includes a host of new features such as watch folders with network support, an easy-to-use Wizard interface, and a batch manager tool to boost productivity by streamlining the transcoding process. Additional encoding options, such as HD and MPEG transport stream encoding, MPEG-4 encoding, and the ability to combine separate audio and video files into a single file have also been added to make this new version of ProCoder an extremely powerful transcoding solution for video professionals. Canopus will be demonstrating ProCoder 2.0 in booth #SL5805 during next week's NAB 2004 convention in Las Vegas.

The new Watch Folder feature lets ProCoder 2.0 automatically encode any video file placed in a designated watch folder. For added flexibility, the watch folder can be placed on a network, so any video professional on the network, including those using Mac OS-based systems, can encode video with ProCoder 2.0. ProCoder 2.0 fully supports HD resolutions (720p and 1080i) and can transcode between HD and SD resolutions and frame rates seamlessly. ProCoder 2.0 can also transcode between HD-compatible formats, including MPEG, DivX, Windows Media High Definition Video (WMV HD). and QuickTime. In addition, ProCoder 2.0 lets users encode MPEG-4 files with QuickTime or DivX Pro (full, licensed version included) for high-quality, low- bitrate Web or CD-ROM videos.

ProCoder 2.0 will be available by the end of the month through Canopus and its authorized dealers and system integrators for a suggested retail price of $499. Registered users who purchased ProCoder before September 11, 2003 may upgrade to ProCoder 2.0 for $149. Those who purchased ProCoder after September 11, 2003 will receive ProCoder 2.0 at no charge. ProCoder 2.0 supports Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional operating systems.

Also at next week's NAB 2004 convention in Las Vegas, Canopus Corporation (booth #SL5805) will unveil Imaginate 2.0, the newest version of its acclaimed still-image animation software. Designed to increase productivity, new features in Imaginate 2.0 include a Storyboard editing mode with multiple image support, soundtrack capabilities, and a collection of smart productivity tools that make the set up and configuration of projects easy and straightforward.

Imaginate 2.0 will be available in May 2004 from Canopus and its authorized dealers and system integrators for a suggested retail price of $199. Registered Imaginate users can upgrade to Imaginate 2.0 for a special upgrade price of $49. Imaginate supports Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, and Windows XP Professional.

www.canopus.com

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Audavi Corporation Announces Introduction of 20GB 1.8'' Mini-HardTape

Audavi Corporation expanded its HardTape product line with the availability of its new 20GB mini-HardTape cartridge. Mini-HardTape is a high capacity, high performance, portable, 1.8-inch hard drive that has been ruggedized to withstand 5,000G shock and features a flexible interface that can be used with FireWire, USB 2.0, or PCMCIA. The rapid increase in multimedia content and the focus on convergence make all of these features a "must have" in selecting a portable storage solution.

"Having a rugged, portable storage solution eliminates the need to spend endless hours burning CD's and DVD's or moving files from one hard drive-based device to another. Maintaining all your audio, video, and data files on one portable device with multiple interface capability will significantly decrease the cost of many new consumer electronic devices, allowing them to include hard drive functionality without adding a hard drive,'" said Mike Bergkamp, CEO of Audavi.

Featuring an aluminum casing for additional durability, the 20GB mini-HardTape cartridges are pocket-sized, measuring just 90mm x 80mm x 17mm and weighing only 4 ounces. A 40GB model will be available later this year. The whole family of HardTape products including the new mini-HardTape model will be being showcased at NAB 2004 in Las Vegas next week.

Suggested retail price for the mini-HardTape 20GB cartridge is $199 and is available through the company's Web site.

www.hardtape.com

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VtoDVD Systems Launches 'RocketDVD Professional' at NAB 2004

RocketDVD Professional is a fully automated DVD authoring and production system. RocketDVD Professional is the first DVD authoring system to incorporate high level authoring features in an automated solution for DVD creation and duplication. Ease of use and automation were the two focal points in designing RocketDVD while incorporating a set of advanced features including: real time video and audio capture, DVD format creation, DVD menu creation, DVD package printing, and disc output (single or multiple copies). You can see RocketDVD Professional in booth SL5502 at NAB 2004.

Two software components are used to interface with the system: RocketDVD and MenuMaker. RocketDVD is a GUI-based software package fashioned after a standard video deck. User-selectable features include: encoder settings (video input, VBR or CBR, audio settings etc.), type of DVD (menu & chapter selections etc.), disc output (local DVD-R drive or DVD Duplicators), disc printing (labels or directly on disc using duplicator printer), DVD case-wrap, and insert printing. MenuMaker is a comprehensive DVD menu creation tool that enables users to create professional menus (static or motion) for their DVD and save them as menu themes for use with RocketDVD. Menu themes can be saved and reused in many jobs by selecting the menu theme as part of the job in the RocketDVD software. Utilizing this strategy enables users to have a variety of menu themes created in various styles ready for use or saved as templates for easy modification and reuse.

Once the user has completed their job setup, all that's required is to push the play button on the control panel. Once this is done the system does the rest including: encoding the video/audio, creating chapter points and associated bitmaps, applying selected menu theme, outputting to selected DVD-R drive and printing all assets (disc image, case-wraps and inserts) without user intervention.

RocketDVD Professional is a turnkey system available in both desktop and rack-mount configurations. The system uses industry standard hardware and includes a flat screen monitor (with desktop only), keyboard, and mouse. Video inputs include: component, S-Video and Composite. Audio inputs are Balanced XLR and unbalanced mini-din (captured in Dolby AC3 or MPEG Audio).

www.vtodvdsystems.com

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Ulead to Bundle Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite with Professional Digital Video Products

Sorenson Media and Ulead Systems Inc. have announced an agreement to bundle Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite for Windows with two of Ulead's award-winning products--Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7 and Ulead DVD Workshop 2. The Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite will enable Ulead's digital content creators to easily encode and deliver video for Apple QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, RealNetworks RealMedia, Microsoft Windows Media, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 formats with advanced encoding options and superior results.

The bundled version of Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite includes all of Sorenson Media's professional codecs--Sorenson Video 3 Pro, Sorenson Spark Pro, and Sorenson MPEG-4 Pro. Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite also supports One-Pass and Two-Pass Variable Bit Rate (VBR) encoding. Intelligent presets automatically adjust the bit rate, frame rate, filter controls, and many other settings without requiring an extensive knowledge of the complexities of video encoding.

MediaStudio Pro 7 with Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite for Windows is available for an MSRP of $549. DVD Workshop 2 with Sorenson Squeeze 3.5 Compression Suite for Windows is available for an MSRP of $599. Both bundles are offered via video resellers nationwide and through Ulead's Web site.

www.ulead.com
www.sorenson.com

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Sharp Introduces Notevision XR-1S Portable DLP Projector

Sharp introduces a sleek, lightweight, personal DLP projector that can easily fit into a carry-on bag with a laptop. The Notevision projector, model XR-1S, combines high brightness and high quality Carl Zeiss optics, making it ideal for both data and video projection. About the size of a pair of paperback novels, the XR-1S measures 9.7 (W) x 2.5 (H) x 4.8 (D) inches and weighs just over three pounds. Set-up is a snap with a faster start-up than traditional projectors, on-screen interactive help for easy set-up and operation assistance, color-coded connectors, and backlit operation keys. To control the presentation's pace and appearance from anywhere in a presentation room, the projector includes a credit card-sized remote with mouse, resize, and freeze functions.

For precise image reproduction from a laptop, the XR-1S has a native SVGA resolution and is compatible with up to SXGA+. It can project a brilliant image in any room or run any application with a vibrant 1500:1 contrast ratio for realistic black tones. Users can vary the projector's brightness, choosing between the "standard" operating mode (1100 ANSI lumens) or low-power "economy" mode (970 ANSI lumens). The low-power mode provides a low total cost of ownership since the projector can run for up to 4,000 hours, or about four hours a work day for four years. The XR-1S low power mode also provides reduced fan noise and power consumption, making the projector both quiet and economical to operate.

The Notevision projector creates a crystal clear picture for an occasional home theater set-up or to show the big game in high definition at home. The XR-1S supports all image formats up to a 1080i HDTV resolution. Sports fans, movie buffs, and video game aficionados can choose between standard (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) images to match the content source. It has a high-quality scaler that transforms TV signals into non-interlaced representation for a better picture.

The new Notevision XR-1S will be available in May 2004 through authorized dealers, retailers and resellers at a for a suggested list price of $1,895 and an estimated street price of $1,299.

www.sharplcd.com

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Digital Television Requires Digital Identity

Two influential global standards bodies, the Liberty Alliance Project and TV-Anytime Forum, announced a joint initiative that could ultimately provide consumers with even more choice and control in broadcast programming. The two organizations will work together to address the requirements for digital identity in the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) market, including issues of privacy, security, and interoperability in TV-Anytime's upcoming Phase 2 specifications.

Digital television, the Internet and the convergence of communication technologies have created an overabundance of programs and personalization options from which the average consumer can choose. The popularity of DVRs, devices that record, store and playback live television, have skyrocketed as a means to manage and automate viewing preferences. According to industry analyst firm IDC, worldwide DVR shipments reached over 4 million in 2003, fueled by strong demand in the United States and Japan. IDC expects shipments to increase at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 50 percent over the next five years, reaching over 28 million global shipments by 2008.

The TV-Anytime Forum was created in 1999 to develop a universal standard for DVRs. Now working with the Liberty Alliance, it will expand on existing work to address new content types, emerging technologies and ongoing issues such as privacy and security of viewer preferences. TV-Anytime's Phase 1 standard has already seen success. Since its delivery in 2003, it has become a mandatory technical standard by organizations such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and Japan's Association of Radio Industries and Business (ARIB).

Phase 2 of the TV-Anytime standard will next address how additional types of multimedia content (games, enhanced TV, graphics, music files) can be transferred and stored throughout home networks. For this the standard will need to enable the secure management of content within and among compliant devices, as well as ensure the privacy and security of data associated with user identity and interaction.

Liberty Alliance, a consortium of 150 organizations around the globe, has been working to address these business and technical issues around identity management for over two years. Liberty Alliance and the TV-Anytime Forum mutually sought a liaison agreement to investigate how digital identity and Liberty's Federated Identity Architecture could play a role in TV-Anytime's Phase 2 standard.

Through the liaison agreement, Liberty Alliance and TV-Anytime will work together on business use cases and best practices for the industry, as well as address technical issues for scenarios such as permission-based sharing of viewer information, television commerce (t-commerce), compliant advertising distribution, and peer-to-peer transfer of personal content.

www.projectliberty.org
www.tv-anytime.org

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Spectrum Digital Services Now Offering HexaLock CD-RX, Copy-Protectable CD-R

Hexalock, Ltd., a leader in CD copy-protection technology and digital rights management solutions has announced that Spectrum Digital Services, LLC, Hartland, WI, has become an authorized reseller of HexaLock CD-RX media and its associated copy protection software. HexaLock CD-RX media is the first truly copy-protectable CD-R available in the market.

"Not only does it provide world class copy protection, it was specifically designed to be easily integrated into our customer's titles and automatically duplicated on select Rimage Producer II and Microtech CD-R publishing systems. HexaLock's solution simply ‘plugs' into the existing system architecture, enabling users to create secure, copy protected CDs," said Russell Gnant, president, Spectrum Digital Services.

Founded in 1998, Spectrum Digital Services, LLC was the first facility in the United States dedicated to recordable disc printing. Today, it is the largest facility of it's kind in North America. With customers in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, Spectrum Digital leads the world in helping companies solve problems and meet objectives using recordable disc technology.

HexaLock develops and markets copy protection and digital rights management solutions worldwide. Headquartered in Shefayim, Israel, HexaLock opened its U.S. offices and began developing its solutions for the U.S. and Canadian markets in April 2001. HexaLock CD Copy Protection, Version 2.8.07, newly released in January 2004, offers protection for both CD-ROMs and HexaLock CD-RX media. Both products are available, worldwide.

www.spectrumdisc.com
www.hexalock.com

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Review: Editor's Choice-Ulead DVD Workshop 2.0

Synopsis: Is DVD Workshop 2 a worthy successor to its Editor's Choice-winning forerunner? Happily, the answer is an unqualified yes, primarily because of the design flexibility and enhancements incorporated into the new version. Compared to its peers, we found DVD Workshop much more accessible than Adobe Encore, while offering a greater range of design options. Workshop stands up well even if you throw Photoshop and After Effects into the creative mix, especially if you consider development efficiency.

Version 1 of DVD Workshop shipped in June 2002 to a shower of well-deserved praise. Much has happened since then, however, including the introduction of the merged editing/authoring design paradigm by Pinnacle Studio and then Pinnacle Edition, and the entry of the 600-pound gorilla into the DVD authoring market, aka Adobe Encore.

Given these changes, we were curious to see if Workshop 2 (MSRP $495) would prove as impressive as its forerunner. Happily, the answer is an unqualified yes, primarily because of the design flexibility and enhancements incorporated into the new version.

Let's take a quick refresher course in Workshop's interface and functionality and then dive into the new features.

Visually, Workshop is dominated by a large preview window in the middle, with libraries of assets and effects on the bottom left, control tools on the upper left, and a filmstrip for menus and content on the bottom.

The program directs workflow with five tabs on the top left (Start, Capture, Edit, Menu, and Finish), each containing unique sets of context-sensitive tools. The fixed interface prevents the clutter endemic to Adobe Encore with no real negatives. It just works.

Capture
Unlike Encore, Workshop can capture video from camcorders and perform modest cutting and trimming, as well as timecode-based and content-based scene detection. This makes Workshop useful for projects like tape conversions that need minimal editing.

In addition to capturing in AVI format, Workshop can also capture directly into MPEG-2 format, speeding the DVD creation process. We tested this capability by capturing a 50-minute file, and Workshop delivered excellent quality and perfect audio synchronization. Workshop can also import the video from non copy-protected DVDs, essentially allowing your DVDs to serve a true archival role.

We'd like to see Ulead change to project-based asset libraries, since Workshop's permanent video libraries quickly become unmanageable. The best approach is to build custom libraries for each project, which you can delete once the project is complete.

Editing
After capturing our assets, we moved to the Edit phase. Beyond the cutting and trimming mentioned above, here we performed several critical functions.

First, and typically most important, is identifying chapter points, or key spots in the videos that you want viewers to access directly. In our sales training project, we divided the captured video into multiple files covering major topics like "qualifying the customer" or "handling objections." We designed the menus so that users could directly access each major section.

In addition, we created chapter points at key spots in the discussion to further enhance the viewer's access to the content. Once again, Workshop's timecode and content-based scene detection came in handy, identifying scene changes from the periodic titles that appeared in the video. Encore can't detect scenes, though it can convert markers set in Premiere as chapter points (Workshop can accept markers from editor sibling MediaStudio Pro, but not Premiere).

Within the editing window you can also add audio and subtitle tracks to your content, two key new features in Workshop 2. Both offer significant advantages over the equivalent offering from Encore.

For example, those developing subtitles within the program will find Workshop's alignment controls vastly superior, facilitating consistent text placement throughout the project. Color codes prevent you from overlapping subtitles, and Workshop can display metadata from your source DV footage as a subtitle, an easy way to display the date and time of scenes shot in DV.

Workshop also can export a subtitle track into a text file that contains the content and timecode, font, and text placement information. After translating the content into another language, you can import the new subtitle track, a process which worked perfectly in our tests. Encore has more caption import options, but is more awkward if you're creating subtitles in the program.

On the audio front, we liked Workshop's ability to set volume asset by asset. If you're using content recorded at different times, this provides an easy mechanism to ensure that volumes are consistent. While true volume normalization would have been better, the Workshop approach is much more convenient than Encore's. With no volume control, Encore essentially forces you to normalize volumes in a third-party program.

Workshop also boasts enhanced slideshow capabilities. To create a slideshow, you drag the source images into a frame in the content filmstrip. Workshop then exposes controls for arranging and rotating images, inserting transitions between images and matching slide duration to the background audio track, all capabilities that Encore lacks. Also worth noting is the new Screen Grab feature, useful for those publishers that like to use screenshots as backgrounds for menus.

Menu Creation
Once your assets are prepared, it's time to build your menus, an area where Workshop truly excels. Though Workshop can't match Encore's ability to "round trip" menus back and forth between it and PhotoShop, it can accept layered PSD files as a starting point and offers a wealth of creative options that even the Encore/Photoshop/ After Effects troika can't easily match.

First, however, the basics. Workshop offers three approaches to menu design. Most novices will prefer working with the Menu Wizard, which builds a completely linked title in only two steps. From there, of course, you can customize at will, but if you're in a hurry, this approach can't be beat. Alternatively, you can start with a template, modify it as desired, and do your own asset linking, or start with a clean slate.

From a design standpoint, Workshop offers multiple tools that simplify the production of professional quality titles. New in version 2 is a design grid, which complements Workshop's extensive alignment and sizing tools. We especially like the ability to copy and paste attributes, which makes short work of tasks like ensuring that all thumbnail images are identically sized, which can be very time consuming in other programs (note to Ulead: assign hot keys to copy and paste-attribute functions to streamline design even further).

Other design enhancements are almost too numerous to list. For example, you can easily customize button selection and activation colors, with a great full-screen preview. You can apply image overlays to the menu to change its appearance, and garnish your video thumbnails with frames and overlays. You can import a library of animated objects that complement Workshop's motion menus or motion buttons.

You can rotate all menu elements, enabling tilted motion thumbnails, a first in this class of DVD authoring programs. You can create invisible buttons that don't appear until selected, and auto-activate buttons so they execute upon selection. These are far beyond the basic design capabilities of Studio/Edition, and though a skilled After Effects or Photoshop developer could create most of these, it would take hours, not minutes as with Workshop.

Workshop's new navigational capabilities enhance its use in kiosks and other similarly unattended modes. You can now set menu durations, after which the menu times out and any specified menu item starts playing. You can also loop motion backgrounds, activating menu choices after the specified time-out period. Another new feature is the ability to preview motion buttons and motion menus without rendering, which most programs in the category cannot do.

The only major frustration is the inability to set the order of the buttons in the menu, so users who use the right arrow button to navigate through the menu may jump around unexpectedly. As it turns out, this is one of the functions that Encore performs extremely well.

The Crown Jewel: Playlists
On the other hand, Ulead scooped Adobe by debuting a playlist function that lets you string the playback of multiple assets together, activated by a single button. While this sounds simple enough, the impact is incredibly dramatic.

For example, in our tests, we converted a 55-minute sales training tape into a DVD. There were sections on the normal sales stuff like prospecting, qualifying, presentations, proposals, and getting on your knees and begging for the order. Our first goal was to make the information more accessible, so we created a button that linked to the start of every major section.

Next, with the playlist feature, we created a 15-minute beginner's course that incorporates beginning elements from each major section, and a 15-minute advanced course that skips the basics and focuses on higher level issues. Then we created a five-minute "highlights" reel to act as a quick refresher course.

The only way to accomplish this in Encore, Studio, and Edition would be to cut and paste the segments together in the video editor, and include the completed file on the DVD. Not only does this take more editing time, it converts our 55-minute video to a 90-minute DVD, which means a lower bit rate and thus drops the video quality perceptibly.

The potential uses for playlists are almost endless. Marketing videos could customize presentations for different customer demographics, using many of the same core assets. Corporate communications videos could customize presentations for analysts, trade press, and financial press, again, with little cost in terms of disc real estate.

In contrast, Encore and Edition have the ability to set an "end action" for each video, which automatically directs the viewer to another menu or video. While useful for navigation control, end actions obviously doesn't offer near the same customization opportunities as playlists.

Render and Burn
Ulead bolstered their rendering capabilities with support for DLT drives, DVD-9 projects, region coding, CSS encryption, and Macrovision support, all important primarily to Hollywood types (although the demographics who use DVD-9 may change a bit with the introduction of dual-layer media and compatible recorders). Corporate users and event videographers will appreciate the ability to store data files on the DVD, allowing, for example, a training disc to include PDF files of the manuals, or a marketing disc to include product collateral. In both cases, of course, the data files would only be accessible on a computer (not a DVD player).

Ulead's pre-rendering error-detection capabilities could be beefed up a bit; the program doesn't check for buttons without links or unlinked content. It does alert you if buttons overlap, or if subtitles overlap in any of the subtitle streams, but that's about it.

However, Ulead added one absolutely critical feature, a slider bar to the preview window, which lets you slide to the end of a video to test its end action, or see if the selected playlist executes. Ulead also lets you control which assets get recompressed during rendering, and continually updates the amount of disc space required for the assets in the project. Another noteworthy feature is the ability to import and pass through Dolby surround audio and to encode into stereo AC-3.

To test encoding speed, we produced a simple ten-minute project in both Encore and Workshop on a 3.2gHz Hewlett-Packard xw4100 workstation. Encore finished in 10:58, while Workshop completed the job in 9:25.

During our testing, we completed about ten discs with Workshop, using a variety of source formats including DV and MPEG-2 and producing discs up to two hours in length. Not only did Workshop create all discs without error, it didn't crash once during our tests, and this on a computer shared with other programs like Premiere, Encore, Photoshop, Pinnacle Studio, and Sonic Solutions MyDVD. This makes Workshop one of the most stable products ever tested.

Creating our Sales Training DVD
The best way to illustrate the fluid and logical workflow and accessibility of Workshop 2 for the mid-level audience Ulead is targeting is to go step by step through the project we created during the evaluation.

Here goes: First, we captured the video directly into MPEG-2 format to speed the production process. On our 3.2gHz HP xw4100, this proceeded without a hitch. Nothing extraordinary here, so we'll spare you the screen shot.

During the Edit stage, we divided the clip up into general categories like Cold Calling, Qualifying, and Proposals using the Cut Title button in the upper left. We further divided each section into chapter points, using the Add Chapter button, which are represented on the filmstrip on the right. Finally, we created the subtitles shown in the middle of the interface; note the nifty text-placement tools.

In the menu phase, we created the main menu. This links to the Segment menu, that contains all of the sections of the original tape. We also used the playlist function, on the left, to set up beginning, advanced, and highlights presentations, plus a single button to press to see the entire video. To create a playlist, you simply drag the assets into the playlist box, one by one. Similarly, you link the main menu to the segment menu by dragging the segment menu icon from the bottom filmstrip to the "Segment Menu" text.

To link the individual sections into the Segment menu, we simply dragged them from the filmstrip onto the menu, which automatically created the link, and then resized and aligned them using Workshop's excellent alignment tools. The yellow boxes identify the assets that the buttons are linked to. Oops, the box on the upper left tells us that we have an overlapping button.

The Power of 2
Compared to its peers, we found DVD Workshop much more accessible than Adobe Encore, while offering a greater range of design options. Workshop stands up well even if you throw Photoshop and After Effects into the creative mix, especially if you consider development efficiency.

We're definitely fans of the Pinnacle-inspired merged editing/authoring paradigm, though Workshop clearly bests both Encore and Studio in terms of DVD-related creative and navigational options. The fact that neither Pinnacle product offers AC-3 audio output is also a big deterrent for many producers.

Ulead DVD Workshop 2.0
www.ulead.com
$495

System Requirements:
• 800mHz+ Pentium 3 running Windows 2000/XP
• 128MB RAM (256MB+ recommended)
• 500MB available hard disk space for program installation
• 14GB hard disk space for video capture and conversion
• Microsoft DirectX 9
• DVD-ROM drive
• Real-time preview requires at least Pentium 2.4gHz or equivalent and 512MB RAM

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