3D: love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. It’s infiltrated movies, taking over television and now it’s working its way into Roxio’s home video editing software. We got our hands-on with the latest version, Roxio Creator 2011 Pro, to see if adding 3D will make it an Avatar-style success, or just daze and confuse users.
The software lets users transform videos and photos into 3D, as well as edit true 3D video recorded on a 3D camera. Unfortunately, with both videos and images, the old-fashioned anaglyph cyan/red conversion procedure sometimes adds a subtle feeling of depth to the action – other times, it does nothing at all. It’s both temperamental and difficult to use.
Obviously, this isn’t Roxio’s fault. The cost of converting a feature-length film into 3D sometimes racks up into hundreds of millions of dollars – and it still doesn’t produce great results (Clash of the Titans, anyone?) The idea that it would work flawlessly in reasonably-priced home software is optimistic at best, lying at worst. Despite offering to convert 720p HD movies on-the-fly, Roxio’s 2D to 3D conversion is not worth the steep-learning curve.
That’s not to say the entire 3D offering is bad. If you have a native 3D camera (either anaglyph or stereoscopic), this is one of the few pieces of off-the-shelf software that lets you edit it – you’ll get an infinitely better effect than conversion. 3D monitors and camcorders are yet to really penetrate into the market, however, so this really is for more specialised users.
Once edited, you can output in a variety of industry-standard 3D formats: standard side-by-side, one over the other (for playback on a 3D projector) or even old-school red/cyan. Roxio’s even included the option to upload directly to YouTube 3D.
While 3D may be a bit of a letdown, there are definitely two features that make Roxio worth looking at. The first is the Roxio Streamer feature. Running this adds a DLNA-compatible server to your PC, which allows you to stream content from your computer, over the local network and into compatible devices (game consoles, media hubs). It also connects to a web service, so you can stream over the internet to other PCs.
It can also serve files to Android and iPhone smartphones – as long as your pay a £15 annual subscription to be a “Premium” user. The extra costs are a constant annoyance: more effects, more soundscapes for the audio manager, Blu-Ray playback – all optional extras.
The feature that keeps Roxio on our hard drives, however, is the automatic video editing. Simply drag and drop in your video files, choose a mode, some timings, pick a soundtrack and Roxio will mix it together and output it to a format of your choice – all automatically. The results are surprisingly good – like a slideshow for your videos. It’s great for mixing-down holiday videos, removing the labour of stringing all those clips together.
It’s certainly better than the old Roxio, taking the best bits and adding more. The 3D addition is decidedly average, however, and if you’re interested in making your old 2D movies into 3D, you should probably give this a miss. In fact, maybe give up altogether. For native 3D editing, this is as powerful a solution as you’ll find on the mass market – but you’ll need the equipment to make the most of it.