Broderbund Makes Videos as Easy as Print Shop
By Jim Bray
For more than fifteen years now, Broderbund's "The Print Shop" has
been empowering home and home office users who need a quick, easy, and
affordable way to do basic publishing chores.
And now the company has introduced Movie Shop, a home
video editing studio designed to be as easy to use as Print Shop.
And for the most part, theyve succeeded. See here for our Movie Shop review.
But back to Print Shop, a program that has always been incredibly
easy and flexible, so much so that, other than making technological upgrades
like the jump from 16 to 32 bit Windows several years ago, and the addition of
the requisite media libraries and many new features, "Print Shop" itself had
hardly changed from its initial incarnation.
Print Shop 10 was the last version we reviewed, and though the
look and feel had changed from the good old days, the basic virtues
of the program remained: ease of use, power, and flexibility.
Now we have version 15, which has been trimmed to four CDs
from its previous 9 (also available on DVD), though in my experience I never
use even one per cent of the media Broderbund includes - and even if I did they
have an online component that, while not free, lets you download images from
the Internet instead of having more CDs piling up on your shelf.
The new version obviously lets you do all the nifty stuff you
always could, like designing or adapting from a template your own greeting
cards, signs, banners, calendars, etc. You can save your designs as HTML files,
too, so you can throw 'em up onto the world wide web. Its no
"Dreamweaver" or "Hot Metal Pro," but it doesnt pretend to be.
And now you can also output to PDF, the Adobe Acrobat files that
are becoming the industry standard for transmitting print document
Another interesting feature is Create Stationery Set,
which is a nifty way to design a whole set of business cards, letterheads, fax
cover sheets, and the like, all of which has a consistent look - and you get
plenty from which to choose. Its very easy and, if youve filled in
your personal information on installation, lets you point and click your way
through the process, even to adding a picture to the collection. I wish there
was space for a slogan, but what do you want from such mainstream software?
Besides the usual greeting cards, banners, and signs, you can also
create things youd probably associate more with programs like Microsoft
Publisher or higher end graphics/publishing software - like brochures,
newsletters, forms, etc.
When youve created your masterpiece you can print it out
normally, as a PDF, or export it to a variety of file formats. You can even
upload your file to the Internet to have it printed out professionally and
delivered right to your door - for an extra charge, of course.
You can also take advantage of Print Shops extensive
pre-designed templates and layouts that add a lot of flexibility to your
projects as well as adding from the seemingly innumerable pieces of media files
like clip art, background sounds or videos.
I like beginning with a pre-designed project rather than starting
from scratch (which you can also do), and adapting it for my own use; it's a
nice and easy way to get started, yet the finished product usually bears little
if any resemblance to the template with which I started.
How much you deviate from the templates is limited by your own
creativity. I generally write my own greeting cards, using Print Shop as the
starting point - but if you want to you can choose from an abundance of
sayings, quotes, or best wishes from the software's collection.
You can make multi-page calendars and photo albums, borders, and
even do some photo editing.
Its image manipulation capabilities let you add drop shadows,
transparency effects, and stuff like that.
Now, Print Shop Deluxe isn't going to put Quark or PageMaker out
of business - nor will it give CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator/PhotoShop a run
for their money. It isn't meant to, though. Print Shop is designed to let the
average computer user do the basics of all those heavyweight apps, and unlike
its industrial strength competition you can use it right out of the box, with
no special training, and it doesnt cost an arm and leg.
In short, Print Shop Deluxe 15 is a delight, as expected, with a
no brainer interface and enough built in stuff to let the average person get up
and running with virtually no learning curve.
Professionals may sneer at Print Shop, but they're doing it a
disservice - and it isn't meant for them anyway.
If you're someone who wants something quick, easy, and incredibly
flexible, that unleashes your creativity without sending you back to school,
check out this product!
And now theres Movie Shop Deluxe,
the easiest video production software Ive used to date. It aint
perfect, but its certainly simple to use.
Once youve captured your video footage, you can use Movie
Shop to transform your clips into honest to goodness video productions,
complete with music, titles, special effects, etc. You can output in quality
ranging form DVD (DVD burning capability is built in) to Web quality, the
former of which is great for optimizing quality while the latter is ideal for
sharing your videos over the Internet. Naturally, you can take advantages of
quality and formats in between as well.
When you fire up Movie Shop deluxe youre greeted by a little
menu asking if you want to start a new project, edit an existing one, or view
the tutorial. Choosing a new project brings up the menu of quality/file choices
and from there youre whisked to the main program.
And that program is so simple a child could use it. Check that;
children are often far ahead of their parents, so maybe I should say its
so simple a senior citizen can use it (and please don't write to complain about
me being ageist - its just a joke).
In fact, its as easy as 1-2-3. The main window
is laid out in steps, with a timeline at the bottom and a preview window to the
top right. When you first reach this screen, an animated arrow grabs your
attention and tells you to drag media clips here. Well, that
couldnt be much simpler.
So you drag each of your clips there, after which the prompt moves
to step 2, with the same drag media clips here label. This is the
storyboard, where you actually assemble your video, laying out the
clips in order and even (using the menus) trimming them to eliminate stuff you
dont want in your final production. Below that is the Timeline display,
which shows your clips in order along with their running time. Here, you can
slide your clips around to choose such things as the overlap time of the clips
(for dissolves etc.).
Broderbund gives you a good selection of transitions (wipes,
dissolves, etc.), effects like film noise and motion
blur and audio fades. Using them all is pretty straightforward.
You can also capture footage, and stretch slice or rotate your
Once youre ready to create your Emmy winner, just click
File, Save Movie and direct Movie Shop to the folder
you want while telling it what file format you want. You can save to MPEG 1 and
2, Real Media, Windows Media, QuickTime, AVI, etc.
You can also burn directly to a disc from the File
Movie Shop also comes with a media manager with which you can
organize your digital photos, MP3s, video clips, and other media files, and you
also get a fair selection of pre-made content including design kits
with which you can give you footage a consistent look, including titles and
frames. You also get music and sound effects, and a variety of video clips
including countdowns, titles, and the like.
For the $70 US price, its a pretty fully featured
A great bonus is The Little Digital Video Book by Michael Rubin, a
guide to digital video editing for beginners and intermediate users. Another
bonus is neoDVD Standard, another very easy to use program that lets you create
DVDs right from the initial video capture.
Now, just as The Print Shop isnt going to
replace a graphic designer and /or page layout expert working with a high
quality professional print house, Movie Shop isnt going to put DreamWorks
out of business. But if youre an amateur working on your home movies, it
can do a nice job for you, whether you want to share your footage over the Web,
on VHS, PC, or DVD.
And thats not bad!
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think