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Review: Inside DVD Studio Pro

February, 2004

System Requirements: Viewable Only on a Computer Minimum of 256 MB RAM
Mac: OS X; G4 Processor
DVD Drive Minimum screen resolution 1024 x 768

DVD Includes: Over 6 hours of video-based lessons
35 Lessons of DVD Studio Pro 2 Instruction Project Files (to work along with the instructor)
Company: Magnet Media Films

lafcpug Price: $84.15

Available for purchase in the lafcpug Store

Reviewed By: Craig Musni

­ Ed Note: Magnet Media Films is a sponsor of, however this review and all reviews published on are the opinion of the author and author alone and's policy is to not edit or influence the author's opinion in any way, shape or form.­

Great DVD Studio Pro 2 Training DVD!

Inside DVD Studio Pro 2 is my second foray into Magnet Media's innovative method of training creative folks on new software and upgrades. I had been a user of DVD studio pro since it's inception and upgraded as soon as version 2 was released. Being a typical guy I plunged into the interface without a thought to the user manual or online PDF file. I figured I'm pretty good at figuring stuff out...that manual and tutorial stuff is for beginners, I mean, look at the interface - just like iDVD! How much simpler could it be? Plus everything online I had been reading sang the praises of how simple this program is and what an improvement over 1.5 this was, yadaa yadaa yadaa. You can imagine my frustration as I delved into the program and was spit back out time after time again. The program didn't crash mind you. I was left with a spinning beachball one minute and nothing to show for it on the other. My pride had taken too many blows and I needed help. Not to mention I was in the middle of several projects that needed resolution and my frustration level was to the "deinstall and re-install 1.5" level.

Along comes magnet media to the rescue. Along with your trainer, Zeth Willie, you 'll take a tour of some of the basic and advanced aspects of DVDSP2. 6 HOURS worth of touring. Granted, I don't have 6 hours to sit and watch training (I had a tough time justifying the LOTR trilogy) but the beauty of this style of training is you can pause, stop and go when you have the time. I myself took the training in snipets here and there, or when I was stuck in a project and needed a refresher. I keep an image of the disc handy at all times and still refer to it often. even after having completed the training.

I was pleasantly greeted with a familiar interface having used Magnet Media'a Inside Editing with Final Cut Pro 4. While you cannot run the training and DVD studio Pro 2 at the same time, you can do what I did which was to run the quicktime movies sans interfacve on an opposing PC while you work through the training sessions. The DVD is broken into three sections, an introduction for beginners, an intermediate and an advanced section. Despite my experience with 1.5, I found the introduction a great ice-breaker for navigating the interface. While most reviews I've read suggested the mild learning curve of pro 2, I was lost. The introduction gave me the push over the hump I needed to start producing with 2. Admittededly, after the first section, I completed several projects and started discovering pro 2's features by trial and error. but the process was vastly quickened by Magnet and Willie's help.

Enter the next section (actually a subsection of the introductory section). Now it starts to get fun. Not to get too techie, but things that I myself have left up to the program I wanted to learn about. Square versus rectangular pixels, quicktime compressors versus pro 2's built in mpeg2 compressor, and whatever the heck GOP markers are, you will have a greater understanding of these concepts after completing this section.

Many users of pro 2 can stop here. They will have enough background to complete most of their DVD projects easily. If you are like me however, once you have the basics under your belt, you'll want to start customizing your own motion menus, creating video loops and overlays for customs navigational buttons, even submenus and scripting. Magnet can hold your hand here too. Willie takes us on a tour of a sample DVD he's creating for some local New York band he likes, and shows us the importance (again) of Pixel Aspect ratio as it relates to your custom made graphics. Ever wanted your menu-to-clip flow to have a transion clip? Willie shows you how. How about handling multiple audio clips and soundtracks? Covered. All along the process Willie and Magnet demonstrate how to do the technically sophisticated aspects of "Hollywood style" DVD's while also showing good asset management and time-saving technique. My workflow was dramatically changed because of this training.

The Advanced section I watched mainly for reference. I honestly don't use many of the advanced features of pro 2 (web access and advanced scripting) but if the need arrose, I have the training material to tackle that task. It's interesting stuff just the same. I had a few "I didn't know I could do that" moments in the advanced section.

As I stated earlier, DVDSP 2 is for advanced users. The great thing is you can ease into the program ala iDVD-style interface, then move up to intermediate and advanced interfaces as you hunger for more control. Magent's DVDSP 2 training DVD is the ideal way to jumpstart your using of this software. Plus, you will have an invaluable reference at your disposal as you move into the more advanced features of DVDSP 2. I believe this to be money well spent that will rewards you with better workflow, less frustration and more professional-looking DVDs on the menu level as well as on the Playback level.


© copyright 2004 Craig Musni

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