Review: Adobe Encore

Adobe Encore DVDWith DVD writers now being shipped as standard with many PCs many companies can now seriously consider producing DVD video content, however the software that usually ships with DV (firewire) interfaces tends to draw the line at basic video editing and output - if you're lucky you will have the option to output the file to DVD so that it will simply play on insertion. But what if you have either a series of clips or a lengthy piece of film, or you want to add a bit of polish to the CD to give that extra impression of professionalism? There are still only a handful of DVD menu authoring packages available, so Adobe were quite late in the day to release Encore DVD. Was it worth the wait?


Encore could be described as a cross between PhotoShop and Premiere. Menus are created using Premiere's timeline-style interface, which can consist of video, audio, still images and text subtitle tracks. The Photoshop 'feel' comes in through the way Encore DVD uses layers for positioning and animating menus. Text manipulation is also extremely well catered for, although some functions are lacking, such as the ability to save a text style for re-use. Therefore, many users will have to create items first in Photoshop and then come back into Encore to use them. In reality this is not a major hardship, but for larger projects it might become cumbersome.

Like many of the other products in Adobe's video and graphics range, the beauty of Encore is its integration with its siblings. For example, adding a marker in Premiere Pro to a video will automatically create a chapter point within Encore (for use in your 'Scene Selection' menu). Once a video has been added to Encore you can still modify the file in Premiere, however you'll have to re-render it again in Encore - this can be time-consuming for larger clips but again in the real world you're likely to be using Encore once you've created all of your material in Premiere Pro or After Effects.

Where Encore leaves its competitors standing is in its more advanced features. You can region-code discs (so that, for example a Region 1 disc will only work with Region 1 players for the US market). You can also produce stereo AC-3 audio and add CSS protection to a disc. Content can be written either directly to DVD or DLT drive without even writing to the hard disc.

If you want a basic front end menu to accompany your DVD movie content, then Adobe Encore DVD is likely to be over-priced and overkill. But for those looking to create a comprehensive DVD product with slick menu transitions, high quality sound in a secure format then this is the product for you. The similarities between Premiere and Photoshop compliment the product well, making it relatively accessible to those new to DVD authoring. The 3-star rating therefore reflects the high-end price and the fact that DVD authoring is still a requirement for a relatively small number of companies.

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Marketing your Business - 4 star award 

Pro's: Straightforward interface. Can create professional DVDs with a high level of data security (such as CSS, Region coding etc).

Con's: Maybe overkill for most requirements. Quite expensive in comparison to low-end products. Re-rendering after editing can be tiresome on slower machines.

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