|Overall Rating:||5 Stars|
|Ease of Use:||B|
Company: Roxio, Inc., 455 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050; Telephone: 866/280-7694 or 408/367-3100; Fax: 408/367-3101; Internet: http://www.roxio.com/.
Price: $100, list price. The program can often be found for around $70. At the time of this review, the company was offering a $20 mail-in rebate for online purchases.
Audience: High School students, teachers, and anyone interested in working with digital media.
Format: CD-ROM or online download.
Minimum System Requirements:
For Windows systems only. Requires Microsoft
Windows XP (Service Pack 1 or later) or Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4 or later).
Remember that this is a suite of programs designed for working with video and photo with varying requirements. In general, Easy Media Creator 7 requires a considerable amount of hard drive space, depending on the function, and lots of RAM. The greater the computer's speed, the better.
Burning music and data discs requires a 500 MHz Intel Pentium III or equivalent and 128 MB RAM. DVD, slide show, or video authoring requires a 1.2 GHz Intel Pentium III and 256 MB RAM. Real-time MPEG-2 capture and burning requires a 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium 4 computer.
The typical installation of all components requires 1 GB free hard drive space. Every 5 minutes of video for video capture requires another 1 GB hard drive space, and copying requires a minimum of 4.5 GB free hard drive space.
In addition a 1024 x 768, 16-bit color graphics card is required (24-bit or 32-bit true color is recommended), as is a CD-ROM drive.
Napster 2.0 uses Windows Media Player 7.1 or higher and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or higher. An Internet connection is required for registration, product updates, sharing or downloading content, e-mailing, and CDDB support (to retrieve CD artist, album, and track information).
Optional needs are a multimedia compliant CD- or DVD-recordable drive for burning and 16-bit, Windows-compatible sound card and speakers for sound.
Video capture requires OHCI-compliant IEEE 1394 FireWire card (for use with DV camera) or a video capture device.
Description: Easy Media Creator 7.0 is a comprehensive, integrated suite of CD- and DVD-burning tools composed of more than a dozen programs that can be accessed from a central, easy-to-use interface. The program offers CD or DVD burning, music, photo and video editing, slide show creation, and more.
Installation: Installation is easy enough; just insert the two CD-ROMs and follow directions. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Easy Media Creator 7 is a Windows 2000/XP suite of tools for working with digital media.
To give an idea of the size and flexibility of this program, here's a list of supported formats. Input formats for video include AVI, DV-AVI, MPEG-1/2/4, VOB, DivX, Xvid, MOV, and WMV. Audio input formats cover CDA (converted to WAV), MP3, WAV, WMA, Dolby Digital, Ogg Vorbis, and MPEG-1/2. Supported graphic formats include JPG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP. Most of these are supported as output formats also.
Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 supports DVD, Video CD (VCD), Super Video CD (SVCD), and Mini DVD. Video disk formats and supported recordable media formats are CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM.
This program is a relatively easy to use tool for burning (copying for the uninitiated) and working with all digital media. Full versions of the award-winning PhotoSuite 7, VideoWave 7, Napster 2.0, Easy CD & DVD Creator, and other applications have been integrated into a single product in which all of the programs work together seamlessly.
All digital content can be organized with Media Manager. Still photos can—among other things—be transformed with excellent pan and zoom effects. Professional-looking VCDs (Video Compact Disc, basically a CD that contains moving pictures and sound), SVCDs (similar to a VCD with better quality), or DVDs can be created—complete with animated menus, resizable buttons, background themes, and Hollywood-standard Dolby Digital sound.
Users can record their own voices for use in these formats to be played in many DVD players, as well as computers with CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives. The suite's many features allow users to do more than CD burning—including organizing, editing, preserving, and sharing digital photos, music, video, and data.
Wow! That's a lot of ground to cover—and it seems really complicated. Fortunately, Roxio has designed a customizable user interface (Home) that is intuitive and easy to use. In addition, tutorials are available as part of each application. And, each component has a user guide available in PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader) for those who, like me, prefer a hard copy manual to work with along with the program. More help is available online, if needed.
I became interested in Easy Media Creator 7 when working on several personal projects. I have a number of 35 mm slides and photos that are yellowing with age. Some of the photos from both sides of the family are nearly a hundred years old. I decided I wanted to digitize them by scanning to preserve them. (The Epson Perfection 3170 Photo Scanner reviewed in this issue is the scanner I use with this software.) In addition, I wanted the photos organized to be easily accessible. I also wanted to use the best to make slide shows in CD-ROM or DVD format to share with members of both sides of our family and to be viewed on a television.
I have relatively little experience with digital media and did a considerable amount of research before purchasing Easy Media Creator 7. My research involved the help of an excellent Web site—VideoHelp.com at http://www.videohelp.com/—to learn basic concepts and terms. Here I found that, generally, Easy Media Creator 7 is regarded as one of the best on the market at what it does.
I have made excellent progress with Easy Media Creator 7 and am thoroughly impressed by the programs and what I can do with them. So far, my only real complaint is that I may end up buying another computer (a faster computer), when I thought I'd never need one.
Obviously, no matter how easy the interface, Easy Media Creator 7 is a complicated set of programs that take time and effort to learn. Currently, I am motivated enough by my desire to preserve my old slides and photos to learn to use this program—and even purchase new equipment if needed.
As I think about using this program in school, I can see it included in the photography, art, and television production classes offered in high schools, in digital media classes, and in a few other situations.
I recommend the program for teachers as well as students. Interested teachers could use Easy Media Creator for a variety of projects, including special event follow-ups, introductions, and more.
For example, every year in our district, every fifth-grade class is taken to the middle school near the end of the year to be introduced to teachers and the building in preparation for the next year. This would translate nicely into a student-produced video or slide show with narration and special effects that could be viewed on classroom TVs.
The program could also be used with photos or videos to create a viewable narrative of a class project or trip for later discussion and sharing with parents. Our district fifth grades go to camp every year; a DVD- or CD-ROM-based slide show or video would be an excellent way to communicate with the parents.
Our district pays an individual to create a CD-ROM account of our graduating seniors' last high school year, which is a great memento. A similar project could be created by a digital media, computer, or TV production class.
Teachers with enough interest could create subject-specific programs to show on a class TV, in much the same way that many use PowerPoint presentations. In this case, however, the presentations could be enriched with more digital media.
I could go on and on with a long list of what could be done with Easy Media Creator 7 in K-12 education, but, in general, the program offers an excellent means for teachers to enrich instruction and for capable students to learn to use the digital media becoming an increasing part of our lives.Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: As these programs go, Easy Media Creator 7 is easy to use. However, the complexity of the processes it deals with and the scope of the suite make it necessary to spend some time and attention to learn the effective use of the product. Ease of Use Rating: B
Product Support: Technical Support pages are available online at http://support.roxio.com/. Those who qualify for complimentary support and have a valid TSID number can get support online or by contacting technical support directly via e-mail from the Web site.
Customer service is available for some issues at 905/482-5200, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. Note that some of the different parts/programs of Easy Media Creator 7 have different technical support phone numbers and Web sites. Also note that most phone calls to Roxio are to Canadian telephone numbers.
All of the support opportunities and the excellent online help and PDF manuals lend themselves to an A rating here. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: I highly recommend Easy Media Creator 7 for anyone interested in working with digital media, in nearly any way—
including audio, photo, and video. Highly recommended.