Review Price free/subscription
The good work continues when it comes to video. The Video Copy and Convert component will work with video on the hard disk or direct from DVD and output it to a DVD or ISO, a new file or a portable format without any fuss. Presets for the iPod, iPhone, Blackberry 8800 series and PSP are included, and the options hit a nice balance between giving you a solid choice of file formats and quality settings and overloading you with highly technical adjustments/enhancements as some popular freeware converters/encoders are prone to. Basically, it works and puts out a decent end result, and the only thing you really need to watch is whether any subtitles are being placed on your output file by default (if they have been and you forget to switch them off in the Language Options, you'll have text splashed over half of your lovely new iPod-friendly movie).
Of course, there is one issue with all this easy file conversion loveliness, and that's copy protection. If a file or disc is copy protected or DRM-enabled, Creator 2009 won't touch it. By now, most of us who want to make personal copies of our legitimately purchased content for mobile use will have found ways around this, but if anyone is expecting Creator 2009 to be an all-in-one solution for getting films from DVD to iPod, then they need to be aware that this is the case (and will be with most consumer packages until Hollywood wakes up and smells the coffee).
If you're more into making movies than just watching them, Creator 2009 still has you covered. As before, video editing facilities are split between one program, Cinemagic, which creates a movie automatically from a selection of clips, photos and background music, and a more fully-featured editing package, VideoWave, which gives you a greater level of control, a choice between clip and proper timeline views, and a full range of effects and transitions for you to use (or abuse) as you will.
CineMagic efforts can be a bit cheesy - the preset themes seem to have been designed with a US family audience in mind - but if you just want a collage of clips and photos of the kids to send to older family members, it's fine. VideoWave, meanwhile, is only a little better than the free Windows Movie Maker in terms of features and general usability, and is certainly no match for either Adobe's Premiere Elements or Corel's VideoStudio Pro when it comes to real editing power, but again, if you just want a solid, working tool with which to put together short movies, then it handles all the basics very well. Plus, this is the first edition of the package to support HD footage from AVCHD camcorders.