With DVD burners - including dual-layer models - cheap enough to be fitted in new PCs as standard, DVD-authoring software is a rich seam. It can be divided into two main camps: professional applications, which can be difficult to use but provide complete control, and home-user packages where simplicity is key.
Ulead DVD MovieFactory falls into the latter category, promoting itself as a program that can get footage from camera to DVD in three steps. In most cases, you'll want to follow a couple of diversions, but in general it is slick and simple to use.
The program is available in two versions - a standard package that provides basic editing and burning to disc, and the Disc Creator edition for an extra £20. The latter supports additional features such as creating music and photo discs.
For those who wish to produce a disc as quickly as possible, the latest version of MovieFactory includes a number of improvements. Most useful are the features for capturing Mpeg-ready video from your DV footage, as well as enhanced chapter points for easier navigation.
With Auto-Fit to Disk, MovieFactory 4.0 calculates how to fit your video on to one disc at the best possible quality. Considering the proliferation of dual-layer burners - also supported by this release - this is probably less of an issue than it was, but it's still useful. On the other hand, the ability to capture digital video broadcast (DVB-T) on the fly is less so. If quality matters so much, you should be using a professional application.
Easy - not simple
Previous versions of MovieFactory were criticised for sacrificing a little too much complexity in pursuit of ease of use. This is something that seems to have been addressed in the latest version - or in the Disc Creator package at least. Anyone who purchases this title will also be able to create music CDs or DVDs including MP3 and DVD-audio discs. You get some of the new features mentioned above, such as Auto-Fit, as well.
For home or occasional users, one of the factors that can make or break a program like this is the quality of bundled templates such as menu layouts and navigation presets. The material here is usable and will give your disc a superior finish.