Monday, 4 June 2007

Roxio Toast Titanium

Ive been very lapse at updating this blog as I have been very busy with Photography stuff since starting it up but I have spent a lot of time learning new stuff on the Mac so heres the first in a splurge of new posts!

Its funny how swapping from PC to a Mac can change your whole pereception of a company but this is exactly what happened to me recently when I was looking around for a good backup solution/CD/DVD burning application for my Mac.

On Windows burning software is a "no brainer", ive been using Nero for many years and its a great piece of software and despite regularly trying new and updated alternatives that have been released over the years I am yet to find anything that comes close to the reliability, features and ease of use of Nero.

So stop number when I was looking for burning software for the Mac was the Nero Home Page but a quick look around I realised quite quickly that they didnt support the mac .. hmmm

I have to say at this point that prior to this I had learned that you dont need to buy software for CD\DVD burning for your Mac as they come ready to burn straight out of the box, just pop a blank CD or DVD in the drive and drag the files to the disk icon that appears on the desktop. After that you just have to ctrl+click or right click on the disk and choose the burn option and it will burn the disk, and of course because this is a Mac you can continue to do work whilst its doing this with no fear of corrupted disks.

The method above is fine if you want to just burn a few files to disks but what I wanted to do was a bit more involved than that and wasnt really supported with the sofware thats included.

When we shoot a wedding we shoot raw files which means we can end up with 15+ gigs of data per wedding when we shoot the whole day (which is the norm) obviously this is too big for a single DVD so the files must be spanned across a number of disks. This would be fairly easy to manually, we could just divide the files roughly into 4Gb chunks in seperate folders and then write them to disk individually, it wuld be a bit of a pain though as we normally split the day into sub folders anyway but by the timings of the day, so Prep Shots, Ceremony, Groups, Evening reception etc and it never works out that each one of these si teh right size to occupy its own DVD, enter Roxio Toast Titanium.

I searched long and hard for a cheap or free app that would burn just how I wanted which was ideally just dragging a single top level folder into the burning app and then it would span all the files and folders below that into a series of DVD's. I tried a few free apps to start with and read a ton of reviews for software I could purchase to do it but couldnt find one that would do it just how I wanted, some were close but ultimately all of them meant we would have to add extra steps to our workflow which is one thing we didnt want to do.

I had found Toast on a few of my first searches but because of my experiences with their windows software in years gone past (Easy CD Creator was pretty poor for quite a versions that I tried) I steered clear of it but my searches kept bringing me back to it. Digging a bit deeper I read all the blurb on the Roxio site about the features in Toast and then also went and read a lot of independent reviews and it was obvious that if it did what everyone said it did then this was just what I was looking for.

Having bought it I have to say I am very very pleased with it as it works just how I wanted it to, it lets me drag a whole folder of files and sub folders straight into it and it creates a spanned archive set on DVD or CD depending on what I choose and once youve set it going all you have to do is keep feeding the disks in.

Theres options to make the disks windows compatible which I always do as I do still have Windows PC's and also it seems a safer bet keeping mac compatability for future use.

After burning a 20Gb folder and sub folders set to DVD I tested the disks in a windows XP machine and was very impressed with the options that were presented to me. It hadnt done anything fancy so I could still browse the disks and pick off individual files and folders and when a folder was spanned across several disks it had tagged them as that to let me know that.

As well as being able to browse and copy individual files from the disks it also gave the option to restore the whole archive set and once activated this worked the reverse of how the disks were burnt in that it just kep asking me to insert the next disk, excellent! Obviously you get all these same options when you put the disks in another Mac.

It has a ton of other features such as Disk Catalogueing, DVD copying and compression, Blu-Ray disk burning, photo disks creation and many more that I could go on about now for a long time even though I havent used many of them yet but this posts already long enough so for further info check out this link HERE and I will summarize by saying that this software is great for what I want to do and has changed my opinion on the types of product that Roxio provide.

Heres some screenshots of some of the features listed above.

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