I had the first version of iDVD waaaaay back when. Looking at the new iDVD in iLife ‘06, I’m trying to figure out why I got excited back then.
The original iDVD only worked in SuperDrive Macs, had blah-lah themes, menus were static, and stability was always just around the corner.
Today’s new iDVD 6.0 adds just a few features from last year’s model, but just the right features.
Tops on my list is iDVD’s ability to deliver a widescreen DVD. Now I have to go buy a new Sony widescreen HD camera. See how all this works. I’m sure Apple gets a commission.
Old video cameras shot video at an aspect ratio of about 4:3. Think early PC resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels. Think TV screen.
Movies, on the other hand, are usually shot at a ratio of 16:9; widescreen. The new HD cameras shoot widescreen.
iDVD now takes those movies and makes widescreen DVDs.
Also new to iDVD are 10 menu themes, designed for both 4:3 ratio, and the widescreen 16:9 ratio.
The themes include Pass Through, Travel, Road Trip, Mirror, Watercolor, Brushstroke, and others.
All include subpages for main and chapter and additional user menus.
iDVD is better organized than last year’s model. Look for the Media Browser. Integration with iPhoto and iTunes and iMovie (movies) is there.
Organization is extended to iDVD itself. Last year’s model put the theme into iDVD’s package, making the application huge. This year, the themes go into /Library/Application Support/iDVD, which makes housecleaning and back up much easier.
My favorite feature in iDVD has been enhanced (though still missing on element). Drop zones (which also make an appearance in iMovie).
Drop zones let you drag a movie or photo into a “zone” on the moving theme, which adds motion to your menus. They just look great.
The only thing missing is the ability to add or subtract drop zones from a theme. One theme has eight drop zones, so you’d better add eight movies or photos, otherwise blank spots roll across the screen.
Last year’s model of iDVD had a OneStep DVD function that let you capture movies from a DVD and burn direct to disk. Ugly but fast (well, as fast as burning DVDs usually is).
iDVD 6 adds a neat feature called Magic iDVD (look for the Magic in iMovie, too) which gives you an interface for themes, movies, photos, slideshows, etc., and iDVD creates a DVD movie with minimal clicks.
Magic iDVD isn’t really magic. It’s just fast. No DVD aspect ratio control, no slideshow timing, none of the control you might like (though, if you skip using Magic iDVD, and just use the “controls” you get, well, control).
For those of us who love slide show DVDs, iDVD 6 helps out by increasing the number of images in a slideshow. It used to be 99, now it’s over 9,000.
Carrying the integration to new heights, iDVD has 13 slide transitions (only one per slideshow), and music for slide shows (but the music can’t fade when the slide show ends).
Apple always preferred you burn DVDs on their own SuperDrives. No more. iDVD can see other DVD burners, even external burners, which means getting a Firewire DVD burner can keep an old Mac alive a little longer.
Again, the theme for iLife ‘06 is integration. iDVD was well integrated before, and it’s still well integrated with iPhoto, iMovie, and iTunes.
The new widescreen feature, new themes, and better organization make iDVD worthy to be a part of the iLife ‘06 suite.
Say goodbye to brushed aluminum looks. Guess what we’ll see in Leopard? Platinum plastic. iDVD 6 gets a thumbs up.
Same here. This is a sweetly mature application with many nice touches. I love the fact that we’re no longer restricted to SuperDrive for burning.
iDVD is one of my favorite media applications. I’m planning to sell DVDs of my baby, Tera. What’s your address?
Jack D. Miller
The Windows world has a dozen applications that burn DVDs. Why does iDVD look so good and integrate so well? Sweet.