I'm not a professional video producer, but neither am I a total newbie. I was looking for a decent video editing program under $200 (the wife would kill me if I spent more), and went in to the process recognizing that I would have to make some compromises for that price.
I used Pinnacle Studio 7 and 8, and found it to be so buggy and slow as to be utterly unreliable and unusable. Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator 6 was stable enough, but the image quality of rendered DVD movies and menus was poor. ULead Movie Factory was nice, but too basic in its capabilities.
Sony Screenblast Movie Studio, by comparison, is extremely stable -- not a single crash so far -- and provides a number of sophisticated capabilities not found or only partly found in other packages. For example, compositing, separate audio tracks and text tracks, and high-quality MPEG rendering. I also like that the Screenblast UI is pretty much "Vegas light," so the skills you develop using this program are somewhat transferable to professional-level UIs.
For me, the only downside to Screenblast -- and the reason I only rated it a 7 for Functionality -- is menu authoring. Screenblast does not provide integrated menu authoring (an inheritance, perhaps, of the model used in its professional siblings), but includes Sonic MyDVD 4.5, which is a really weak menu authoring package. It's unfortunate, but MyDVD, while stable, is so limited in its capabilities that it's pretty well near useless for the sorts of things I want to do. Having said that, it's not really much better or worse than the menuing components included with the Roxio, Pinnacle, or Ulead products. MyDVD drags down an otherwise outstanding product.
Bottom line: Screenblast is a really great video editing package. You can use it to edit videos for a variety of output formats, not just DVD, and its export capabilities are more numerous than its competitors. The program works extremely well for creating output for DVDs, but you will probably want to add a 3rd-party DVD menu authoring program like DVD-lab.
Review by sfordin
Feb 15, 2004 Version: 3.0a (build 100)
OS: Win2K Ease of use: 9/10
Value for money: 10/10