Roxio’s DVDit Pro HD disc-authoring program impresses me: It’s easy to use, and it offers fine control over the look and feel of menus. At $500 it’s not for the average user, but it is currently the only option for editing menus on BD-AV (Blu-ray) discs unless you want to step up to Sonic’s $5000 Scenarist, a program aimed at professional editors.
DVDit Pro HD provides a number of advanced features unavailable in low-end editors: It lets you add content protection, using the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), to Blu-ray Disc projects (and Content Scrambling System, or CSS, protection to DVDs); create high-def slide shows with PCM audio on Blu-ray Discs; encode video to 1080p, 1080i, and 720p; and create DLT (DVD) and CMF (Blu-ray) masters for duplication houses. Unfortunately, DVDit Pro HD lacks Scenarist’s support for interactive Blu-ray disc menus and HD DVD discs, which is especially unfortunate since HD DVD burners should be available soon. These shortcomings are deal-killers for some pros.
The program’s interface, easy to learn and use, is borrowed largely from Scenarist, to great effect. Unlike “beginner-friendly” approaches, the interface doesn’t force you into a workflow. You can tweak any part of your creation at any time. You can create menus with the included templates, use your own images to make custom templates, or create a menu in Adobe Photoshop and import it. The interface is less obtuse than that of Adobe’s Premiere and Encore DVD (neither of which currently supports Blu-ray), yet it still allows you complete control over the placement of menu components. A handy project window lets you easily track menus, video, and playlists, and a simulation window allows you to preview your project before burning it. The interface has some oddities, such as the inability to select multiple titles in a project for deletion, but by and large the authoring process doesn’t get much more efficient.
Don’t go near this program with anything less than a top-of-the-line CPU and 1GB of memory, though: DVDit Pro HD is a memory hog that takes its time with everything–forget multitasking while this program is processing video. For some reason it also redrew my XP desktop with each element it loaded at startup; I also managed to crash the program once by simply editing the text of a menu item.
At the moment DVDit Pro HD is the only remotely affordable option for video authors who need Blu-ray Disc menu editing (the $299 DVDit Pro writes DVD masters). Despite its lack of interactive menus and HD DVD authoring, DVDit Pro HD works well. As a $199 upgrade from eligible versions of MyDVD or Easy Media Creator, it’s an attractive step up, but most users will be fine with the rudimentary BD-AV menus and DVD authoring of cheaper products such as Roxio’s own Easy Media Creator or Ulead’s DVD MovieFactory.
Jon L. Jacobi