This came packaged with Ulead Movie Factory 2 with my Pioneer A06 DVD burner. I've historically hated Ulead's products dating back to Video Studio 3 and 4, but i have found one very worthwhile use for this program. (In the bundle, at least) it can encode 100% compliant AC-3 (Dolby Digital) 2.0 audio. It didn't do this originally, but entering the lines:
into, well, basically any section of the *.ini files that come with the program, especially the [MPEGVIO] and [VIODriver] sections of UVS.ini and DVDMF.ini . this will enable advanced settings in the SE version under the MPEG-2 template options, making this an almost usable program.
The video quality is not great, I often demux the AC3 stream from the finished file and use it with the original video, since one of Ulead's shortcomings is the inability to output an AC3 file without it being attached to an MPEG-2 video. Mine will play AC-3 off the timeline. (I also have this site's freeware AC3 codec installed, and possibly some older version of WinDVD 2000). I can play/edit/re-encode files captured with any other program i've tried (Vdub, ATI MMC, AviCap).
as far as the interface, it's not really that intuitive, and more than that, it's bulky. You have to split the audio from the first video stream if you need to move it on the timeline, the preview is huge and not resizeable if you want to work with bigger thumbnails of the timeline. The cuts don't look frame-accurate. (Who'd have thought you'd go to a submenu of "Share" at the end, instead of "Encode" or "render"...; instead of looking at a giant cartoon speaker on audio preview, how about a waveform?..., etc...). when you change settings in your encoding templates -- max bitrate, avg bitrate, encode quality -- the program seemingly using a random formula and changes them.
if you want a real clean, intuitive interface, get a Sonic Foundry product, like Vegas Video or Video Factory. The only drawbacks to those are a) vegas is $$$, b) older versions had the fairly crappy Ligos GoMotion MPEG codec. (the newer ones use the MainConcept MPEG codec, which is far better. Ligos does OK at DVD-level bitrates, like 5Mbps, but noisy/blocky at VCD or SVCD bitrates)
for a free add-on to my DVD-burner, I'm pleased it makes 100% compliant AC-3 (which BeSweet and ffmpegui don't -- try it on a pioneer player) but that's about the extent of its usefullness. I've also found that TMPEG DVDAuthor is a much better solution than the packaged Ulead DVD Movie Factory 2 tool. Use the packaged Nero Xpress to burn the TMPG projects, no sync issues as with the Ulead MF2.
Review by patrickm
Jan 18, 2004 Version: 7.00.0140 SE DVD
OS: Win2K Ease of use: 5/10
Value for money: 4/10