I positively, absolutely HATE “ambush-ware,” (a term I just made up).

Okay, I’m working on a project for a friend. He needs some video clips converted to a certain format, and a DVD made. A few years ago I’d take a day or two and use Adobe’s neato software to put together a custom animated DVD menu in After Effects, process the audio in Audition, put everything together in Premiere Pro, then author the final DVD in Encore. Except Adobe quit supporting Encore, the software that actually creates the files necessary for a DVD – they say. “The trend in the video and broadcast industry is moving away from physical media distribution. The future is in cloud and streaming content. Therefore we are focusing more on products that deliver to streaming services. For example, Adobe Media Encoder and Adobe Premiere Pro CC include a new feature allowing users to create iPad-ready video with QuickTime chapter markers.”

Okay, I can go back and download an older version of Encore that may or may not work properly, but I don’t really have time for that. So I turn to my old standby, iDVD. I know Apple stopped providing iDVD a few years ago for the same reasons Adobe stopped selling Encore – people tend to look at video online now rather than on DVDs, but I managed to keep an old copy, and it works fine… Except, well poop. Okay, it WORKED fine, now it doesn’t. And Apple doesn’t support the software any more.

Okay, I just need to find a way to author my friend’s DVD. I work with video every single day, but it’s all online stuff. I’ve not burned a “you need to put this disk in a DVD player” kind of DVD in years.

A quick search online gave me a lead to some free software that looks like an iDVD clone of sorts. Swell, I don’t have much time, I’ll just download that quick, burn the disk and be on my way. It’s free, so I expected it to be ad-supported – but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the software to find that it wasn’t all cluttered with ads and it worked just fine. It’s a very simple program, I figured the company released it to showcase their more advanced stuff. I was reasonably impressed. It took me an hour to get everything all figured out and ready to go, and within another half an hour it had rendered the files and burned a disk. I was giddy with glee. Giddy.

Until I looked at the final product.

There’s a watermark. Not just a little logo in the corner, but a HUGE watermark across the entire screen that makes the entire disk unusable. Turns out that you need to pay $50 for the “pro” level of the software to get rid of the watermark.

Supercrud. This has happened to me before, and I should have seen it coming. Ambush-ware. “Okay, you’ve spent a considerable amount of time downloading the software, learning how to use it, getting your project to look exactly right – NOW we’re going to hold you hostage for money. If you don’t pay us, all that time has been wasted.” Back to their website. Yep, the software is clearly labeled “FREE.” Now I’m getting angry. No, I shall not pay fifty bucks for your software, dammit. I’ll find another way to do this…

Pushy, sneaky sales tactics will make me walk away every time. Every. Time.

One thought on “Whammo!

  1. Dude Awesome Who Happens To Also Be Awesomely Handsome

    I HATE that! “Yes it’s free! Totally free! Free free free!!! Oh, but it’s $50 to remove our logo, didn’t we mention that? our bad. Still $50 though…”

    That happens a LOT with windows stuff. I do all the techy stuff for our church, but of course there is zero money in the budget for it. (there’s apparently thousands for the women’s ministry that they don’t use, but that’s another story) So I am always looking for free software. More often than not it’s ambush-ware (totally going to use that from now on!) and it’s never until the finished product that said ambush happens. Makes me want to hack their servers and change all their logos to say “Buttface” instead of their brand name.


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