Is Nero’s latest upgrade worth the cash? We are leaning towards yes. With 8, Nero have shown renewed focus on what it is consumers are most interested in, and as a result, have made the application much easier to use. Read on as we explore all that’s new and notable.
One of the most substantive improvements found in Nero 8 is with the new version of Nero Vision, which promises to make movie creation and burning incredibly easy and flexible.
The main menu here allows users to burn video to basically any known format. Nero 8 adds support for editing and burning to HD-DVD (via additional plugin), Blu-ray and ACHD, meaning that Nero Vision 5 will allow users to burn pictures and movies to pretty much any media available. I do not have the necessary equipment to test HD-DVD and Blu-Ray burning, but there is a lot of functionality that has been added to the creation and editing process that users will appreciate regardless of the media they use.
This is the main menu that is used to create both videos and slide shows in Nero Vision 5. Media files are dragged into the top right pane where they are displayed. The top left pane is used for previewing, ‘cutting’ segments of video out of video files, taking snapshots within video files, and recording voice-overs to a .wav file directly from your microphone. Snapshots are saved as .png files and must be added to the project manually, while any audio that is recorded is automatically added to the list of media files in the top right pane.
The horizontal bar at the center of the window is where additional effects are added during the course of the movie. On the second tab, the video track’s progress is shown in the center, up to two additional audio tracks can be played at any time, and there are also various video effects and scrolling text that can be applied. The picture below shows some of the options.
Once individual video files are edited, the first tab can be used to determine the transitional effects between the files, of which there are plenty to choose from.
Once the video file is edited, it must be exported before it can be burned. Clicking the export button brings up another menu.
Here, users can export to video and audio files, as well as to a camera, e-mail or website. Supported websites include YouTube, MySpace and MyNero. The output format can be configured many ways depending on format selected by the user. Custom resolutions and refresh rates can be set, audio encoding and compression can be changed, etc. A typical configuration menu for an MPEG-2 video gives a good idea of the kind of control the user has.
Supported video formats include: AVI, AVI (DV), MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Nero Digital, Nero Digital AVC, and AVC. Once the video files are ready to be burned, users will find this familiar menu when they choose to create a video disc.
This menu incorporates the main menu from Nero Vision 5, and allows chapters to be set up. Continuing allows the main DVD menus to be set up using basic templates that can be customized with different colors, text, picture, video and audio backgrounds.
The additional editing features offered by Nero Vision 5 make it a home video maker’s dream, striking a great balance between ease of use and editing options. Compared to its predecessor, Nero Vision 5 has far more tweaking ability and templates/creative assets to choose from.
SoundTrax is a comprehensive audio editing software suite capable of creating just about any combination of tracks, mixes, scratches, etc.
The main window is where audio files can be dragged/dropped into the mix, and the overall layout of the track can be set. Loops, scratches, beats, volume and pan curves can also be inserted and manipulated in this window fairly easily, and the tempo can be adjusted. Most video file types (non-copy protected) can be dropped here for editing as well.
The soundbox and scratchbox programs are easy to understand and offer a lot of options that can be easily added to any tracks. Recordings can be made in 8 to 32bit stereo or mono.
For fine editing of individual audio tracks, Nero Wave Editor 4 offers a literal plethora of options that could take weeks to detail. The interface is comfortable enough for beginners to figure out, but there is plenty of depth for the more experienced.
Next, we will take a look at audio ripping, Photosnap and Nero Recode 2.