There’s an old saying that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
It may be true in the building of your house but when you’re building your multimedia content library, everything is different and everything seems to require a different tool. That has meant loading, learning and using a wide range of software and then hoping you can find the content â€“ audio, photo, video â€“ when you wanted to share or enjoy it.
The new InterVideo MediaOne Gallery puts an end to your cluttered media center desktop and stores your content so it can be quickly found and used. It’s the first of what will probably be a new category of content suite software that lets you access nine different applications from a single opening screen.
The minute MediaOne is opened you have a complete selection of utilities you can use, depending upon your project or what you want to do. With one click you can choose from nine different applications including a wide array of content generation tools and the ability to customize the applications to the way you work.
It includes all the video tools you want:
WinDVD is included so you can enjoy DVD, VCD or video files, complete with Dolby Digital sound. We especially liked the QuickClip feature that allowed us to skip some of the video (such as commercials) and how seamlessly smooth it performed the reverse playback.
The WinDVD Creator package will never be confused with the InterVideo Ulead VideoStudio software which was designed for the serious videographer in the house. But it does make it easy to capture, edit and author your video files. We found it very easy to add an audio soundtrack, include our own titling and even incorporate smooth scene transitions and a few special effects. We always remind people who are new to video post production that even though there are hundreds of special effects and transitions available it is best to use a limited number and the best effects are the ones you don’t really see. MediaOne’s Creator includes just enough to produce a very good video but not enough to get you in trouble or embarrass you.
The Photo application was easy to use when we imported photos from our digital camera. With the software we were able to put them into digital photo albums and edit photo slideshows. The software allowed us to upload more than a year of digital photography so that it could be quickly categorized, sorted and edited. The software also allowed for fast, reliable searches using a feature called SceneMatch so we could define the picture/text we were looking for in the library of about 200 photos and quickly find the corresponding shots.
The direct-to-disc capability let us connect our TV to our PC and download three episodes of The Unit which we’ll be able to watch during the reruns. We also tested the software while on holiday and diving off Kauai. We connected our DV camcorder after taking it out of the underwater housing and archived two hours of marine videography direct to disc so we could edit it when we got home and had some spare time.
Viking Electronics at CEDIA
InterVideo’s DVD Copy won’t let us do anything illegal like making copies of protected DVD movies. But it was fast and easy for us to make perfect copies of our underwater videos which we sent to the kids.
Even though you don’t normally think of InterVideo as a music software company we used the DiscMaster application to produce our own multi-session music CD as well as make perfect 1:1 copies for our two cars. By ripping the music in MP3, WMV and WAV formats we were also able to load the music to the wife’s iPod so she could enjoy her own music mix while exercising.
MediaOne Gallery gives you three ways to backup files. DVD Copy lets you do a clone DVD or VCD disc of your DVD videos or data discs. DiscMaster makes it easy to backup data or music onto a write-once or rewritable DVD or CD. We were pleasantly surprised at how fast, easy and reliable Smart Backup was to use for what we like to think of as serious backup. It enabled us to back up files, folders, partitions, discs and even our hard drive and restoration was a snap. Smart Backup includes all the features you’d expect in a stand alone backup package â€“ automatic scheduler and fast restoring of files, folders, partitions from the last backup.
With the software’s intelligent launchpad we were able to quickly create shortcuts to our key operations so we didn’t have to go through the normal step-by-step process of the complete package. The launchpad allowed us to select from five groups of predefined tasks so that we could bypass the various steps and almost immediately get to the specific task.
Very nice touch when all you want to do is simply download and burn a TV show or make a copy of a video for example.
One of the features we liked most about InterVideo’s MediaOne Gallery was made possible by the company closely integrating all of the key multimedia applications into a single package.
This was the ability to finally sort, organize, file and find any and all of the content we had stored on our 500GB hard drive including videos, music, photos, slideshows and data files. This digital asset management capability allows you to search and automatically arrange files into manageable sizes and grouped into intuitive categories. It allows you to tag content according to your specific preference so it can be immediately located.
If you’re like us you you’ve got a year or two of digital photos in a huge photo file you’re going to get at, a hundred or so songs you’re going to organize by genre or some criteria that makes sense to you, 3-4 family videos you either finished or are going to work on and maybe even downloads of your favorite TV shows like 24, The Unit and a few PBS specials. That is on top of business/home spreadsheets, work files, company presentations and research/interesting web downloads.
We knew the content we were looking for was on the drive it was simply a matter of searching file by file, folder by folder.
Because of the application integration, MediaOne Gallery enabled us to auto-scan and -organize our media content library in no time at all. It was able to intuitively sort files by file type, tag, rating, date, folder name. Then it created a thumbnail library which we could easily browse to get quickly to at least the right area.
This capability alone was worth the under $70 price for MediaOne Gallery. It was like getting the other 8 video, audio, data applications as a bonus.