Review: Roxio Creator 2011

September 1, 2010 – 11:45 by in Reviews Print Share 12 Comments
Overview
Manufacturer: Roxio
Price (RRP): $99.99
Best Price: $69.99 (save 30%)
Platforms: Windows XP (32/ 64-bit), Vista (32/ 64-bit), 7 (32/ 64-bit)
Requirements: 3GB free hard drive space, IE 7 or 8, QuickTime Player 7 or later for some functionality, iTunes 8 for some functionality, 3D red/ cyan glasses for anaglyph viewing
Softwarecrew Rating:
 
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Browse the extremely lengthy Roxio 2010 Creator feature list and it’s easy to assume the suite contains all the media-related features and functionality that you could ever need.

But that would be a mistake. The brand new Roxio Creator 2011 includes everything that went before – disc burning, video editing, music ripping, photo fixing, desktop publishing, file conversion and more – and yet still manages to cram in a host of interesting new capabilities.

The new suite has a powerful set of 3D features, for instance: it’s able to convert regular 2D images and movies into 3D, can play 3D movies on your PC, and is even able to create 3D DVDs for watching elsewhere. You’ll need 3D glasses for all of this, but the basic red/cyan cardboard type are fine, and if you don’t have any to hand then there’s a pair bundled in the boxed edition of the program.

If 3D seems too much of a gimmick, then maybe you’ll prefer the video additions. You now get video stabilisation, for instance – and rotation, too. There are many new high-definition video DVD templates, and improved hardware acceleration with support for CUDA, ATI Stream and OpenCL.

And benefits elsewhere include easier disc burning, a file-based backup tool, quick upload or images and videos to Facebook, the ability to create stand-alone slideshows, and an option to share your media collection over the internet. Amongst other things.

There’s plenty of power available here, then – but is there anything that really stands out from the crowd? We took a closer look.

Interface

Navigating such a bulky suite on your own could take a while, but fortunately Roxio Creator 2011 provide a front-end that makes it reasonably easy to find what you need.

The first page you see provides icons for common tasks like “Burn Data Disc”, “Create DVDs” or “Copy and Convert Video”.

If you don’t quite see what you need, then four tabs to the left of the screen – Data/Copy, Video/Movies, Music/Audio and Photo – allow you to see more detail. And there’s plenty of detail to see, with for instance the Music/Audio section providing a further 19 options all on its own (although they’re all well-named and have tooltips with more information, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way around).

A few of these functions are carried out from this front-end application, which is handy as you don’t have to load and then find your way around one of the full-strength apps. To burn a data disc, say, you’d choose that option, drag and drop your files onto the work area, and click Burn – simple.

In most cases, though, choosing a menu option will fire up the relevant Roxio application, and while this takes a little longer, it does at least give you access to the full power of the suite.

3D

3D is the latest must-have feature for media suites, and Roxio Creator 2011 has more to offer in this area than most.

There’s a tool to convert 2D images into anaglyph images, for instance, that provide a 3D effect when you view them through two-colour glasses. The quality of the results depends on your source material, but you’re able to adjust the image to tweak the effect, and in general we found it works very well.

Roxio MyDVD can now create standard DVD or high-definition (AVCHD) movies, in anaglyph, RealD and a variety of other formats, ready for display almost anywhere. Which is great, although curiously Roxio don’t help you much with their format lists. You can create 3D videos that will be watchable on NVIDIA 3D Vision glasses, for instance, but you’ll need to know that “Side-by-Side, L-R” is the output option to select.

Conversion speed is good, though. Importing each minute of 2D footage took around 30 seconds to convert to RealD, 10 seconds if you’re happy with anaglyph.

And if you have 3D videos already, then they can easily be added to your compilation. The program accepts existing anaglyph, RealD, Fuji 3D and Side by Side clips, amongst other formats. You can even edit these clips using the video editor.

If you simply want to try watching a 2D movie with a 3D effect applied, though, then just launch CinePlayer, Roxio Creator 2011’s movie player. It can now convert 2D movies into 3D for you, and display them on a variety of monitors: regular 2D, various 3D anaglyph types, DLP, active shutter, line polarized and other display types.

None of this convinces us that 2D to 3D conversion is anything more than a gimmick. And we suspect most people will play with it for a few minutes, then move on, never to use the option again.

The ability to display, burn and edit real 3D videos is a definite plus point, though, and shows that Roxio is taking the technology seriously.

Video editing

If you need to edit a video then Roxio Creator 2011 allows you to import your footage from most camcorders, directly open a video file (and, thankfully, MKV files may now be imported), or even import video from an (unprotected) DVD. And you can then begin to work on it.

The simplest option is to click Edit Video – Automatically, which launches Roxio CineMagix Assistant. Drag a video here and the program’s scene detection option will split your movie into chunks. You can then manually choose the scenes you’d like to include, or just allow CineMagix to select scenes of a particular type: “People”, say, or “Action”.

And after a click or two more, the program is ready to burn your project to disc, create a video, or share it online at YouTube, or (new in this version) Facebook. So for instance you could share a 3D video immediately, and anyone with 3D glasses could see the effect.

There isn’t a great deal of control here, so for instance you can’t tweak the sensitivity of scene detection. And, annoyingly, you don’t get the option to keep your original audio: you must replace this with your choice of audio file, or have silence. If you can live with that, however, it’s still a time-saving option, especially as you can also use the program to create video slideshows from your choice of photos and music.

Of course the real power comes in Roxio VideoWave, which takes a more traditional and effective approach to editing. There’s a storyline or timeline view of your project; you can import your movies, carry out more controlled scene detection, then drag and drop your clips into place and organise them however you might like.

Any scene within your movie can then be customised with almost 100 video effects. Many of these are quite basic – blurs, simple sepia tints, colour shifts and so on. There are plenty of more advanced 3D options that will, say, convert your image into a cube, or display it on a torus, or cone, though. And with more than 200 transitions, various themed overlays (add a “Birthday” or “Halloween” frame to your film) and a host of text effects there’s plenty to play with.

And of course there are the headline new features. Finally VideoWave gains a couple of options to rotate video 90 degrees clockwise or counter-clockwise, for example.

A new “Fix” panel includes a single “Stabilize Video” option. This zooms in a little, but you can define how much, then does its best to compensate for shaky camera work, with reasonably effective results in our tests.

And once you’ve finished, your masterpiece may be shared on Facebook, as well as YouTube, saved as a video file, or sent to Roxio MyDVD for burning to disc.

There’s nothing revolutionary here, then, but overall VideoWave proves likeable, easy to use and with plenty of features, a very capable and effective consumer video editor.

DVD authoring

Roxio MyDVD can create 3D DVDs, as we’ve seen. Blu-ray authoring isn’t available in this version unless you add a plug-in (out September 2010 for $19.99 US, £14.99), or upgrade to Roxio Creator 2011 Pro. We were interested in regular 2D DVDs, though, and so chose that option first.

The program opens with the most basic of DVD menus, a single thumbnail and text title. Fortunately that can quickly be changed. In a click or two you can add an intro movie; change the menu style to one of more than 100 options, with varying animation effects, soundtracks and so on; or set the menu background yourself (and this can be a movie, or an image).

You’re also able to add as many sub-menus as you need, while a Project View keeps of everything and allows you to jump quickly from one page to another. It’s not as easy to use as we’d like, but there’s plenty of flexibility here.

Drag and drop your movie files onto the program (MKV files can now be imported, but FLV support is still missing), and MyDVD will offer to import the clips as individual clips or a single movie.

Once you’ve sorted that out, a click of the Burn button will allow you to burn your DVD to disc, an ISO image, or its component DVD folders.

And while comparing burning performance is tricky (menu variations make it difficult to ensure your DVD mastering programs are doing exactly the same thing), MyDVD seemed speedy to us, marginally outperforming Nero Vision in our trials.

Disc Burning

While competitors like Nero Burning ROM provide a single burning application that handles many disc types, Creator 2011 spreads its functionality around. So basic data discs are burned in one part of the front-end app, basic audio discs in another; then more advanced burning tasks are handled by entirely different apps: data discs in Roxio Creator Classic, audio files in Roxio Music Disc Creator, and so on.

This can make things a little confusing initially, as these tools have quite difference interfaces. In Creator Classic you can select files from an Explorer-type interface, for instance, then drag and drop them onto your disc project, or you’re able to browse your media libraries directly. Music Disc Creator has no such integrated conveniences, though: you must click Add Audio Tracks instead, then choose your files in a separate dialog box.

Issues aside, though, disc burning proved fairly straightforward. It doesn’t take long to figure out how everything works, and in reality you know the basics already. Choose some files in Explorer; drag or drop them onto the program; set an option or two; click the Burn button; then wait while your disc is created. Not too long, though, as performance is good, with our test discs generally being burned within a second of the times we achieved in Nero Burning ROM.

Music

Roxio Creator 2011 has a long list of music-related functionality.

It can burn audio CDs, as we’ve seen. Discs can be ripped to all the usual formats (aac, ac3, flac, m4a, m4b, mp3, wav, wma), and with plenty of options available to help control the quality and file size of the finished file (bit rate, bits per sample, CBR/ VBR, stereo or mono setting, and so on).

A “Batch Convert and Transfer” tool crams plenty of features into a compact interface. It can import tracks from CD, DVD, or audio files; batch edit audio tags; convert all your chosen files into a particular format; or rename or move them into a particular folder structure based on their audio tags, perfect for bringing order to a messy music collection.

The “Digitize LPs and Tapes” tools helps you convert your old vinyl record collection into a more convenient digital format. There’s plenty of help to ensure you get everything connected correctly, and optional silence detection will try to split each side of an album into separate audio files for each track.

There’s a simple audio file editor, too. You can use it manually to trim unwanted silence from a track, for instance. And there are automated effects to clean up poor quality audio, split a long file into component tracks, tweak volume and balance, add a stereo effect to a mono track, and do other useful things.

We also like the “Capture Audio from Sound Card” tool, which allows you to record whatever you’re playing: very useful for capturing streaming audio that you can’t record in any other way. But there’s also an audio tag editor, an audiobook creation tool, a publishing program to design and create basic CD labels, and even a media manager.

These aren’t all great – actually, the media manager isn’t very good at all – but you do get plenty of useful features, and there really is something here for every music fan.

Photos

Your photo editing requirements are handled here by Roxio PhotoSuite. It’s not too sophisticated, but if you just a need something to handle basic image correction duties then it’s more than up to the job.

The AutoFix option, for instance, will automatically analyse your image exposure, saturation and brightness, detecting any problems and fixing them with a click. You can manually tweak these settings yourself, if you need more control, and there are additional options to crop and straighten images, fix red eye, adjust brightness and contrast, remove wrinkles and blemishes, rotate, resize and crop your photos.

A batch processing tool will do most of these things automatically. So if you’ve got 50 new family photos that you’d like to share with someone, say, then you can drop them all on to the program, and have them all AutoFixed, resized, renamed, and converted to compact JPGs in just a few seconds.

There are also plenty of creative possibilities, with simple tools for creating 3D photos (as we’ve seen), panoramas, and labels and covers for your CDs and DVDs, as well as a basic desktop publishing wizard that will walk you through the process of creating calendars, greetings cards, collages, posts, gift tags and more.

And the Roxio Slideshow Assistant accepts your favourite photos, can accept a slideshow of your own or create one automatically, then export the resulting slideshow as a movie file (only WMV format, unfortunately, but exporting it to VideoWave offers many more options).

…And everything else

Look elsewhere in Roxio Creator 2011 and you’ll find a simple file-based backup tool. This lets you choose the files you’d like to back up by categories (email, documents, pictures, music and so on), or location; you can run full or incremental backups, use encryption or compression, and schedule backups to run at a convenient time. It’s a small but very capable program.

The new Roxio Streamer helps you turn your PC into a DLNA-compliant media server, allowing you to share your media collection across the internet, so you can access your favourite music (for instance) from almost anywhere. Streamer has been around for a while as a free stand-alone product, but it’s still good to see it here.

And, perhaps more generally appealing, we also found Roxio Video Copy & Convert, a very handy video copy and format conversion tool.

Add a few videos here, and the program will quickly convert them to formats and resolutions suitable for a range of devices: the iPad, iPhone, various iPods, cellphones, the Zune, Blackberry, XBox, Playstation, PSP and more.

Handily, there’s also a Video profile that lets you simply convert your video into another format. There’s not much choice – MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264 or WMV – but it’s enough to get by. And fortunately you’re also able to tweak the fine details of every profile, if you like, to ensure you get the video file quality, size and resolution that you need.

Whatever the settings, support for hardware acceleration technologies like CUDA and ATI Stream mean conversion won’t take long . Our CUDA-enabled test PC converted a 32 minute DVD resolution MP4 file into an iPod Touch-friendly version in a very acceptable 4 minutes 20 seconds. (Even market leader CyberLink MediaEspresso wasn’t too much faster, processing the same file in 3 minutes 35 seconds.)

There are a few issues with the program. It really needs FLV import support, for instance. And like many Creator 2011 interface, its file browsing interface can be very slow: click on a folder with a lot of files and we could be waiting 30 seconds or more before it became usable again.

Still, you can always just drag and drop in the files you need, so this isn’t a fatal problem, and the ease and speed of conversion mean the program is, like so many Roxio Creator 2011 components, well worth having.

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Verdict:
Roxio Creator 2011 has a few minor issues, but it's packed with useful functionality, and delivers where it really matters. If you're looking for a new media suite then this one is definitely worth a look.
We Like:
Lots of functionality, easy to use, imports/ creates/ plays and edits 3D files, wide 3D file format support, easy upload of media to YouTube and Facebook, fast video format conversion, simple file backups, handy batch conversion tool for audio files, DLNA media streaming
We Don't Like:
Some modules lack advanced controls, weak media browser, Blu-ray support a chargeable extra, no FLV import, file browsing interface can be slow
Softwarecrew Rating:
 

12 Comments »

  • Nic says:

    Unfortunately the Roxio software conficts with any other video editing/burning software installed on ones computer, even inserting a CD or DVD into your computer “opens” the Roxio programme even without propting, and this cannot be dis-abled rendering the Roxio software useless for many.

  • JO says:

    @ Nic, with Windows 7, one CAN have numerous editing/burning software on one’s computer. I have roxio creator 2011 Plus, Windows Live Movie Maker, AND ConvertX to DVD on my HD and am able to use whichever one I decide would do a better and/or faster job of burning a DVD. I have never had any issues of “software conflict,” as you stated. Depending on what style of “menu” I want on my DVD, determines which one of the three video editing/burning software I use.

    You can also “choose” which program you want to use for “autoplay.” All one needs to do is go into “control panel” click on “hardware and sound” then click on “autoplay.” You can set different programs to open different types of CD, DVD, etc.

  • JO says:

    I almost forgot, Mike, my software is able to import .flv files and will also then convert and burn them to DVD (or to iPod, Blackberry, etc), from any website I want the .flv file from. It also came with the Blueray option FREE. Maybe it has to do with the fact that mine is Roxio Creator PLUS…not PRO, but PLUS. ?????

  • Zedbeat says:

    I can’t believe Roxio Creator 2011 will not open a wave file for editing! There must be something that needs tweaking that I’m not doing but I’ve had to download Audacity – a free audio editing program do some very basic things like split large audio files and save .wav files as mp3’s. Quite disappointed in this product.

  • David says:

    I’ve used Roxio for years with great success. I purchased 2010 pro when I purchased a new PC earlier this year and it has worked perfectly. I also have multiple Apple products including ipod, itouch, iphone and ipad. Under the convert and copy feature in 2010 the ipad isn’t listed but all of the other Apple products are. In 2010 pro I use the iphone option and convert to MP4, save in my itune folder and then download to my ipad and it works perfectly. What does 2011 do for the ipad that 2010 doesn’t?

  • Steve D. says:

    I have a Nikon camera (s8100) that shoots 1080 HD quicktime. When I create a DVD with Roxio 2011, it appears to be working, but playing back that disc on a ‘regular’ DVD player, there’s no audio. Video looks good, correct aspect ratio, just no audio. I just ‘added’ the clips into the Roxio creator program – do they have to be converted to something else first? Thanks.

  • Sarah says:

    I just purchased windows 7 and Roxio Creator 2011, but the program won’t open. I keep getting the error “roxio creator 2011 has stopped working,” but it never worked once. Reinstalls haven’t helped and I’m feeling ripped off by this purchase. Anyone know what’s going on?

  • chester says:

    I like the roxio creator 2011,i create movie into 3d,but guess what? The audio is out of sync..how can i fix this????

  • Mary says:

    Sharah,
    I feel the same way! I have purchased two Roxio Creator Pro 2011 one for each computer, and it seems that it is very touchy. Doesn’t seem to work unless it wants too. Some days it will open, other days it won’t. I have contacted the technical support and they send me pages of things to do, that would take a computer greek to do. I don’t think that I could recommend this piece of software to anyone. I have gone back to using windows DVD Movie Maker that came on the computer. It does a great job and helps me to keep my sanity. Only problem is, I was out around $160.00 for the two sets of this software!
    ANY SUGGESTIONS THAT A NOVICE CAN ACCCOMPLISH WOULD BE HELPFUL.

  • BoZz says:

    I have an .avi movie file with a separate .srt file which are the subtitles. Is there a way of creating a DVD with the subtitles in Roxio 2011? I can see no where how this is possible. Please help. Thank you

  • Debbie says:

    Mary and Sharah.

    I know it’s been sometime since you posted problems you were having with Roxio 2011.

    If you still aren’t sorted, can you just give me the following info please:

    Operating System:
    Processor:
    Memory Installed:
    Hard Disks (Internal and USB) with sizes:
    Display Card:
    Audio Codecs (All of them):

    Video Codecs (All of them):

    The easiest method of getting this is by typing “msinfo32” into the “Search programs and files” box at the bottom of the Start Memu.

    You should be able to find all the info using this tool.

    Let me know if you have any problems. Once I have an idea of your system, I can start to offer you more detailed advice.

  • Troy says:

    Bought Roxio Creator 2010 and it does not work properly. Reinstalled but to no avail. Tried to work with photos…keep getting PhotoSuite 11 has stopped working or run errors. As far as I am concerned it fails miserably. Every Roxio software I have received or purchased, fails every time. I doubt I would recommend it to anyone.