Pros: QuickTime support, background transcoding, Styles palette, After Effects integration and some essential revisions all improve this highly integrated application.
Cons: No feature for adding menu transitions apart from with After Effects Pro 6.5. The software is expensive, and it’s unlikely to make an appearance on the Mac.
The previous version of Encore DVD was great in terms of its integration with Adobe’s other video applications, but it suffered from narrow file support and a fiddly approach. However, on firing up version 1.5, the interface improvements are immediately evident, and QuickTime is now supported as an asset. This brings Encore up to speed with DVD Studio Pro.
The lack of background transcoding, another gripe from the previous version, has been addressed too. It now takes place automatically, or you can set it manually in the properties palette.
The workflow is as simple as ever. You import all assets and elements into the Project window, then set a default button in the Library palette – revamped for this release with more menu element types and better organization. When you drag a video clip to a menu, Encore creates a video button for the clip, and creates a link from the button to the video and back to the menu.
Motion menus are straightforward to build – you just Alt-drag a video clip onto a menu background – and there is added support for Premiere Pro and After Effects files. You can choose Edit>Edit Original to re-open the original project in Adobe Premiere Pro (something that the previous version had difficulty doing) or After Effects Pro.
Up to date
You can select Create After Effects Composition to send a menu directly into After Effects 6.5 to allow you to create more complex animated backgrounds and intros. Unfortunately, it has to be After Effects 6.5 – this feature won’t work with older versions. Photoshop layers and elements are preserved within the Menu Editor as before, and you can enjoy a live update of the file when working between applications. Version 1.5 boasts support for Photoshop Guides, as well.
There is a new Styles palette, complete with predesigned effect styles (Text, Shapes, and Images) that you can apply to the elements in your menu. Styles can be dragged-&-dropped onto elements in the Menu Editor to apply or replace an existing style effect. A new Set button has been added to the Properties palette to control or disable user operations for individual timelines, menus or a whole disc.
There’s a new project preview function for use anytime, and a new Check Project feature that looks for structural problems in the project.
Adobe has generally cleaned up the program, fixing various niggles, and adding some much needed enhancements to keep it in the running with the competition.