iLife for PC – If You Build it, They Will Come
(UPDATE: I have a review of the Sony Imagination Studio Suite HERE)
About a year ago, I wrote a post about the iLife suite for Mac (which to be honest, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – I tried to use it at work and Garageband is the best, and only decent, program in the suite) and that some companies should try to come up with a PC version of the iLife suite, if Steve-O Jobs didn’t want to release his beloved suite. I even put together some bundles of PC software from Sony, Adobe and Open Source/Windows built in software to show how these could work together.
It turns out, Sony was listening. Not only that, but they also appeared to take quite a bit of my advice. 😉
Now I don’t know if they were reading this blog per se, but since I had been writing about it, and the biggest hits on here by far are my iLife for PC posts, and that I’ve got just enough of an ego to think I had an impact, 😉 I’m gonna say the crew at Sony Creative Software (great people by the way, I met them at the New Media Expo – more on that later) and Sony picked up on the need for a content creataion studio for PC vibe and created a new suite that includes the software I mentioned before (Vegas Studio, ACID Studio, Photo Go, and Sound Forge) with an addition I hadn’t thought of – Cinescore Studio, so soundtrack music is quickly available for any length of video you wish to create.
This new suite of software is only available from Dell, another interesting move since Dell was also offering a small studio from Adobe that was Dell only. A big move for Dell, getting a nice suite of software to compete with iLife that you (might be able to) get on preloaded on a Dell.
So ladies and gentlemen, let me present you with Sony’s new content creation studio – the Sony Imagination Studio Suite.
Sony’s Imagination Studio includes all of the tools you need, sans iWeb, to create content and get it up on YouTube or Sony’s own AcidPlanet (what? you expected them to export to the nightmare that is Mobile Me?).
So what is in this new iLife for PC possibility? Let’s take a look at the tools!
For Video Editing, there is Sony’s really well done Vegas Movie Studio software. I’ve been tooling around with the free trial version (what, you think I can afford to drop $179 (ED: $199, the price already changed on me!) on Imagination Studio right now? Unlike the iCabal, I work for a living. 😉 ) and I really like it. There is a lot you can do to include music pieces from Cinescore (which I’ll talk about in a little bit) that DJ Papi Love, from the AcidPlanet Waveform podcast showed us at the New Media Expo. And unlike iMovie, it gives you tracks to work with, unlike the one track that you can drag along in iMovie. And DVD Architect Studio serves the same purpose as iDVD, only in a grown up fashion.
For Audio Editing and Loops, there’s Sound Forge Studio (audio editing) and ACID Music Studio (loop creation, management and some audio editing). I’d like to see a combination of the two programs eventually, like you get with GarageBand (which, by the way, is an excellent program and the jewel of the iLife suite), and one thing I haven’t found yet in Sound Forge is the ability to use images for enhanced podcasts, like you get with GarageBand, and the ability to move loops around in the same file, although I like the ability to move around between ACID and Sound Forge.
An added bonus to the Imagination Studio is Sony’s Cinescore Studio. Built off of Sony’s soundtrack software, complete with additional music to quickly create any kind of royalty-free soundtrack your podcast/movie/masterpiece. This is another piece I haven’t played with yet, but am looking forward to in the near future. From what I saw at NME, there are a lot of scores to work with, and a lot of variation of those scores you can use as well.
For image editing, a la iPhoto, there is Sony’s Photo Go. I’ve use this a little bit as well, and it’s decent, much like iPhoto or Google’s Picasa. I prefer Windows Live Photo Editor or even Photoshop/Paint.Net for basic photo editing. Then you can add your photos to your Flickr account via Flickr Uploadr or Google Account via Picasa.
There’s no way around it, iWeb is a joke. With some nice, built in templates to work with to add your basic content. Microsoft has the Visual Web Developer Express Edition, which is free but not as easy to work with. But you can use this software in tandem with some of the excellent templates at the Open Source Web Design site, or other sites (they are mentioned on my previous post here) to create your own nice Web sites. And the added benefit to these sites… you can host them where you want!
So Sony gets a tentative “A” for the Imagination Studio, until I get a chance to really dig into it and see how it work, and once again Dell get’s big ups for reaching out to software creators for these tools. But y’all already know that I’m a big fan of what Dell’s been doing. 🙂