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Apple DVD Studio Pro 2.0

Professional DVD Authoring and encoding suite By Dave Nagel
As Apple releases DVD Studio Pro 2.0 this week, it's not just the commercial DVD authoring community that's paying attention. With the software's drastically reduced price point, ease of use, enhanced functionality and integration features, this comprehensive software suite opens itself up to the entire creative production market--from presentation professionals to videographers to post-production houses to broadcasters. DVD Studio Pro 2.0 is simply a must buy for anybody working in the DVD medium.

Version 2.0 is the "Eureka!" release of DVD Studio Pro, the turning point at which this suite goes from being a decent authoring and encoding tool to a great one, allowing you to get the job done efficiently and with more creative controls than ever before. It will also be a turning point for the user base, as the new price point and streamlined workflow will, no doubt, tempt users away from entry-level software packages. For this reason, I'd like to get into the new interface and workflow--or, rather, interfaces and workflows--first.

The streamlined interface
Whatever your level of authoring experience, you will feel comfortable working with DVD Studio Pro 2.0. This is owing to the fact that Apple has gone to extreme lengths to provide a suitable environment for all skill levels--or, rather three distinct environments for all skill levels. When you fist launch DVD Studio Pro, you're presented with an option to work in Basic, Extended or Advanced mode. (These modes, incidentally, can be switched on the fly through the Window menu or keyboard shortcuts, allowing you to work in the most efficient manner possible at any given stage of your project.) In Basic mode, users migrating from consumer-level DVD authoring programs like iDVD will instantly find themselves at home with the simple two-window setup providing access to the main menu editor and template selector.

As with basic iDVD operation, DVD creation is Basic mode in DVD Studio Pro 2.0 is a simple drag and drop affair, with templates and assets appearing in a single side palette.

For more advanced operation, the Extended and Advanced modes provide easy access to the program's complete functionality, including asset management, item properties, outline and story views and the brand new timeline.

Whichever mode you work with, switching to a more advanced or more simplified workflow is just a keystroke away. And you can save and load your own configurations suited to your workflow needs.

General workflow enhancements
But the workflow enhancements in DVD Studio Pro 2.0 don't end with the new interface. Rather, the enhancements can be found in every aspect of this program's functionality. And I do mean every aspect. For example, DVD Studio Pro not only offers drag and drop functionality, but contextual drag and drop. So when, for example, you drag an asset over your menu background, you'll see this list of options pop up automatically after a second or so.

Dragging the same asset over an existing button calls up a different contextual menu.

Similarly, you'll find deep contextual menus abounding throughout the entire interface.

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