Cut, transpose, transform
VideoWave is ideal for first-timers, since it offers a clear, intuitive layout, making it hard to get lost. Once you create scenes and transitions within your video, they're organized in a row along the top called the Storyline. Buttons for basic tasks are along the left (including editing, special effects, transitions, publishing to the Web, output to video, authoring your DVD, and more), a video preview pane is on the right side, and a blank area on the bottom of the screen displays commands specific to whatever tool you've chosen. The printed manual covers VideoWave basics in a series of tutorials that are more useful for beginners than for experienced users.
VideoWave's intuitive design gets footage onto your PC in just a few easy steps. Simply plug in your camcorder and select Capture. Press the Play button under the preview pane to start the video, then select Video + Audio from the Capture menu below. VideoWave doesn't break your video into scenes automatically, as Apple iMovie does, but a handy tool called Scene Detector searches for scene breaks, which makes for easier editing. You can change the sensitivity of the detector with a sliding scale at the right to make it more accurate.
VideoWave's strong suit has always been easy-to-add, professional-looking visual effects. In this version, you can choose from 60 transition effects, make text scroll across the screen any way you like, and use the TimeWarp feature to speed up or slow down certain sections of footage. You can also put two video clips on one screen or superimpose a clip onto a background image. This package features infinitely more editing choices than, for example, iDVD or MovieFactory, which offer only basic transitions or rearranging.
We knocked version 4.0 for its lack of full audio-editing and timeline controls. Sadly, audio control remains a chore this time around. VideoWave doesn't offer the multiple timeline controls found in iMovie that make controlling audio streams easy. Instead, you first must import audio files to the library (only WAV and MP3 files will work), then double-click a file to add it to a preselected video. You can change the insertion point of an audio clip with the timeline under the preview pane, but to change the end point, you'll need to select the audio file, then press the Clip button on the bottom of the screen. VideoWave shouldn't require this extra step to set an end point for audio.
DVD-authoring tools are version 5.0's big news. They're a bit rough around the edges, however, and the DVD-creation features lack the polish of VideoWave's other tools. Press the Author DVD button on the task menu, and VideoWave asks you what type of disc you want to create: DVD, DVD on CD (better known as SVCD, or SuperVideo CD, a video CD that supports DVD menus), or VideoCD. From there, VideoWave opens a new screen for DVD menu creation. That's easy enough, but after that, VideoWave starts to falter.