Serif MoviePlus 5 DVD authoring software

At the start of any year you can expect a flurry of activity from online security services. In much the same way, with the advent of the summer and its promise of long hours of video capture, so the software companies update their DVD authoring packages.

At £60 (inc. VAT), Serif MoviePlus 5 isn’t the cheapest DVD authoring found, that honours much go to Ulead MovieFactory 5, but that doesn’t mean it's lacking in features.

Among these new features are a number of specials effects filters, including lighting effects and drop shadows for title text. MoviePlus also allows effects to be animated through the use of keyframes. Also the ability to create picture-in-picture modes is new. So it’s possible to show two scenes from a holiday, for instance, with maximum impact.

You’ll need just over 1GB of space to install this program and we found it took a long time to install. The interface isn’t the most user-friendly we’ve seen but is built around the standard Timeline frame with files that you want for any project, but haven’t yet used, are stored in plain site in the Media Pane. The main problem, though, is the amount of information on the screen, as there is no clear layout for everyday simple tasks, which may well scare off the casual user.

Once you’ve got you’re footage together, the DVD Menu Designer comes into play. With plenty of templates to choose from, you can add menus, backgrounds, navigation buttons and even music to your DVDs without needing to source extra material. Once again, being wizard driven, you can see results in a matter of minutes, which really helps take the strain out of building a finished product.

Where would a new package be this year without support for High Definition? HD DVD and Blu-ray support is built-in as standard, so as long as the footage you’ve recorded has been captured on a HD camcorder you won’t have too much trouble making HD discs. What’s more, this version sees the addition of support Apple’s QuickTime both as an import as well as an export. So, you can save files off in this format for playback on an iPod.

Verdict

If you’re wanting to edit your family videos and give them a semblance of professional flourish, this really is a comprehensive package.

The interface and menu system isn’t the most clear and really needs to be streamlined, which may deter the casual user, but if you give it time and a great deal of patience, you’ll get great results from MoviePlus.