Toast 16 Pro has “Pro” interface, more apps for creativity and security

Corel Roxio quietly released Toast 16 with a new accessory app, MultiCam Capture. As tradition wants it, the Pro bundle includes yet other new apps, including FotoMagico 5, WinZip for Mac, Corel Painter Essentials and Corel Aftershot 3. I went through all of the new offerings, but not without first taking a good look at the new Toast features. After all, the suite’s core still is Toast, the app to burn DVD’s, Blu-Ray discs and CD’s.

I’m happy to say Toast 16 itself has been given an interface revamp. It now features a dark look that’s more in tune with Apple’s Pro applications such as Final Cut Pro X and Motion. Except for the dark interface, Toast hasn’t changed. You’ll find your way around very quickly and that’s a good thing. The burning software still does the best job of burning anything from a lowly CD to a 100GB M-Disc Blu-Ray (a feature for which I specially asked Verbatim to send me one of those — reviewed here).

But Toast 16 Titanium, as well as my test version, Toast 16 Pro, are no longer just for burning DVDs and Blu-Rays flawlessly. They’re now aimed at creating and publishing movies and audio as well. So, while Toast 16 itself still has the most extensive support for industry standard optical recording, the “satellite” apps are what make the offering really interesting.

There are two ways in which Roxio wants Toast 16 to stand out: publishing and security. On the one hand, you have those apps that support mostly visual information creation and distribution — Corel Aftershot, Corel Painter Essentials, FotoMagico 5, MyDVD with its 100+ templates, MultiCam Capture, LiveScreen Capture and the Blu-Ray Disc Authoring plug-in — while on the other you have apps like Secure Burn and WinZip for Mac.

It’s a complete suite, but some apps are more useful than others — it all depends whether you’re a basic multimedia creator or an advanced one. People who already create screencasts, for example, won’t find LiveScreen sufficiently powerful, while those who only occasionally do so will love it. The same goes for MultiCam Capture. This new member of the family makes it simple to capture synced footage from your screen, webcam and supported cameras to help create videos and presentations, all simultaneously.

It’s not a direct replacement for Telestream’s ScreenFlow with its myriad capabilities, but it does shine in one area: it will capture all of your live cameras, microphones, etc., simultaneously. With multiple angles recorded, you can explore a variety of creative options, including picture-in-picture effects or switching between camera angles to add interest and draw in viewers.

It’s not a competitor of ScreenFlow, simply because it has a few flaws — recording your screen to AVC, for example, at 3.9Mbit/sec, recording your camera using the MJPEG codec — and you can’t edit with Multicam Capture. Still, it’s very decent for an app that’s basically a giveaway with the basic version of Toast 16! I tested it with my iMac’s built-in FaceTime cam and quality was surprisingly good at 720p.

Pro apps

With Toast 16 Pro, you’ll get all of the functionality that you get with Toast 16 Titanium and digital media apps for a total value of over $250. For example, you’ll get FotoMagico 5, which allows you to turn your photos and videos into HD photo slideshows. You’ll also get 80 additional nicely designed MyDVD templates, which is excellent news for those who want to save DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for their family memories, but also for those who need to present creative work where cloud access is shaky or non-existent — or simply for presentations containing sensitive information. Closely related is the presence in the Pro suite of the Blu-ray Disc plug-in for Toast 16 and MyDVD. This is the only way on a Mac to burn your videos to high-definition Blu-ray Discs to watch them on any Blu-ray player.

A great addition is WinZip Mac 6, an app that lets you easily zip, unzip, protect (encrypt) and share your files with direct support for iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and ZipShare.

Finally, the two Corel applications included with Toast 16 Pro don’t need an introduction. Painter Essentials is a good way to get an idea of how easily you can sketch, draw and paint with Natural-Media brushes — and in the process learn about the full version of Painter (or stay with this slimmed down version, but I doubt you won’t want to upgrade).

Corel AfterShot 3 is a competitor for Adobe’s Lightroom. It has strong metadata support, lens correction and profiling, layer-based editing capabilities and plugins — both free and paid with the ability to buy the latter right from within the app. With Corel AfterShot 3, you can also apply adjustments to one or thousands of photos at once.

Conclusion

Toast 16 Pro offers a lot of functionality for a decent price. The Toast app itself now looks modern and professional. The MultiCam Capture app has some nice unique features, which will appeal to those who want to create multi-angle presentations, screencasts and tutorials.

WinZip for Mac and Secure Burn are essential to create secure data containers, while Corel’s “light” apps are probably “heavy” enough for most users and offer a lot of value for the money.

But to me, Toast 16 all by itself has one major appeal that makes it into my must-have application: burning data to an optical disc ensures data longevity (certainly with M-DISC recordings) and rules out hacking disasters. Combined with off-site storage, you just can’t go wrong. To me, that makes Toast indispensable, even in the age of iCloud, DropBox and other cloud services.

Toast 16 Pro costs $149.99, which is a pretty low price in view of what you get. Toast 16 Titanium costs $99.99.

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