on 23 March 2011
I have downloaded and spent several weeks using the trial versions of, Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10, Cyberlink Power Director 9 Ultra 64 and this new offering from Corel.
I want to be able to take footage from my Sony HDR CX115 camcorder, edit it, add some nice effects and transitions and burn it to a high definition DVD format that will play on my Blu-Ray player with nice intro menus etc. (I do not have a Blu-ray burner).
Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 is cheaper, and in many respects has more powerful features such as key framing for transitions and powerful media creation tools. However, after spending a couple of weeks using it I still found it quite hard to remember how to do things. Unless you are using this software all the time, its powerful features and professional type interface does make the learning curve very steep. I also found that this software was painfully slow at rendering AVCHD video - up to 14 minutes of processing for every minute of video!
Cyberlink Power Director 9 Ultra 64 is easier to use than Sony's offering and is much faster at rendering - about 5 minutes to render 1 minute of AVCHD video at the highest quality setting. However, despite using every possible option in every possible configuration I could not make this software work correctly with the 1920x1080 50i footage produced from my camcorder - everything ended up blurry with lots of visible artefacts!
So, the third piece of software I trialled, I have now bought - Corel Video Studio Pro x4. It works beautifully with the footage created from my camcorder. Despite not being available as 64bit software (Cyberlink is 64bit, Sony is 32bit) it actually renders better looking AVCHD video quicker than Cyberlink Power Director 9 Ultra 64. Video Studio renders 1 minute of AVCHD on my computer in just under 3 minutes, and even quicker if you choose the Smart render option. The software includes loads of features, but lacks some of the functionality of Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum. I really like the fact that the user friendly interface means that you can create great effects such as picture in picture very easily and quickly with a small learning curve. The time lapse function is also brilliant - you could probably produce the same effect from the other software by manually picking frames, but it would take ages - Corel Video Studio does it all for you. The 3D function however is a nice toy to play with, but do not buy this software for this function - it is fun but very limited in what it can do.
So I now have the best software for my needs - it does everything I want easily and quickly - so 5 stars!
I suggest that if you have any doubts about the software, take advantage of the 30 day trials that Corel, Cyberlink and Sony offer and try them with your system and see what works best.
(My Computer is a laptop running 64bit windows 7 with 6Gb of Ram and an AMD Phenom II triple core 2GHz processor)
**I used this software on my computer with specs of Windows 7, with 2GB RAM & a AMD Athlon 64 X2 Duel Core Processor 5000+ 2.61GHz.**
When opening the start-up file from the disk it will give you two installation options; 'Install VideoStudio Pro X4' or 'Install Utilities', if you do not have Apples quick time or Adobes flash player, I would highly recommend installing these first via the utilities option, however most computers should already have these installed.
The main installation took around 21 minutes for me and fully completed without any errors, a huge bonus for me was that I didn't have to restart my computer like other software's require after installation, so I could jump straight in.
Upon start-up of the program you will be greeted with a message that will give you a variety of options to choose from, one being a tab that gives you a tutorial of the software if you feel that you may need it.
The interface feels very clean and simple to navigate, if you have ever used 'Windows Movie Maker' before, then you should have no problems at all in using this to edit your movie clips & adding special effects/transitions, however if you have no experience at all, then it may take an hour or two to get used to it.
One of the best things about this software is that it supports tons of different video formats; normally I had to convert my videos from my camera to a WMV format when using Windows Movie Maker, however with this software I didn't need to do this as it accepted the video straight up.
I would like to point out that when I was playing around with non-HD material I had no problems at all, however when I was selecting videos with a 720p resolution I found now and then a slight lag, this was bearable as I'm used to Windows Movie Maker crashing on me all the time, so this slight delay was nothing compared to that, so if your looking into editing a lot of HD material, I would personally recommend over 2GB RAM.
Overall I found it really easy cut and place my video files where I wanted them whilst adding some really cool transitions and FX, the end result on making my project into a video files was also very pleasant, giving me a good variety of options to choose as the output; SD, 720p & 1080p in many different formats like mpg, avi, wmv and more.
So in all, I have to give this product top stars!
on 6 June 2011
I have used X2 and X3 alongside Pinnacle Studio and for many projects Video Studio works better esp multiple tracks.
I decided to upgrade to X4 but I am still struggling to justify the cost of upgrading. It has some new features and does work faster that X3 but not sure if extra features are really worth the cost.
On the downside the instant projects are a waste of time and very disappointing. It is fiddly ro replace the sample place holders to put your own pictures in. The supplied manual is pathetic & on line help gives no adequate help how to use this feature.
Overall, if you are new to Video editing a good package, whether worth upgrading from X3 I am not yet convinced.
Since using it more plus points the cataloging systme is better. Downside: stability is a major rpblem. It has freezed up several tiems now. It seems to do this particulary when trying to preview music/sound clips. Not only that but in spite of clicking wait until program recovers, it never does and it has to be closed down and restarted. To its credit (and maybe devlopers knew it was unstable!) it does have an autosave/recover feature so it does get back to neraly where it crashed out. It does waste o a lot of time though when it crashes out.
VideoStudio was new to me. The first thing that struck me was how easy it was to get started, relative to other packages I've tried such as Windows Movie Maker and Sony Vegas. The main window offers Capture, Edit and Share tabs; it could hardly be much simpler or more self-explanatory than that. The interface, highly customisable if you must, maintains this clean, logical approach throughout, making it easy to achieve quality results quickly. If you do need help, perhaps with the more advanced features, the instructional videos are very useful.
`Capture' focuses on importing clips. Switch to `Edit' mode and a timeline appears along with `explorers' for a huge range of effects, transitions and titles. You can choose between storyboard and timeline editing modes, switching between them at will, depending on how much precision you want. When you've finished editing, `Share' lets you preview the project and export it to DVD or a sharing site.
You can modify the workspace to suit yourself, docking and undocking various elements. Best of all, you can save three different versions of the desktop, so can play around until you find a layout you like, reverting to an earlier one if necessary. Multiple monitors are supported, if you're lucky enough to have them.
That's enough to make this package a top-buy for many users but VideoStudio offers some fun features too, namely time lapse, stop-motion and 3D. The first of those lets you take a series of stills and turn them into a movie; it works well. Stop motion lets you create animations, using your camera attached to you PC - great fun although I didn't have much time to experiment. Must buy some plasticine! 3D was disappointing though. It doesn't create true 3D movies with separate left/right images. In fact, I wasn't quite sure what it did and gave up on it. Maybe I'm missing something.
Installation was straightforward. Performance-wise, I did most of my testing with a powerful new laptop but also tried a four-year-old machine and was impressed with how smoothly it ran on both. No problems at all.
Bottom line - I'd recommend this highly for ease of use and quick results. Unless you're into very serious movie-making, it isn't worth investing time in learning a more advanced package.
I must admit that for the first time I am editing a review based upon some exceptional customer support by Corel. After posting my original review here which was on the lower side due to my inability to install the software, they contacted me with some helpful advice which worked first time. Since this is showing that they care enough about their product to keep an eye on amazon reviews and respond accordingly I was suitably gratified to give the product another chance.
For interested geeks, the problem which was resolved was the need to have Microsoft .Net 3.5 installed, so if anyone out there reads this, make sure that you have that installed. That will be available for free download on the Microsoft website.
So, I now have a working install. Opening the software understandably takes a few minutes and on first loading one is presented with a cool black screen with an open dialogue offering preliminary options including help, learning and downloading tutorial options. Very useful since whilst I have a background in Computer graphics, I havent really used any movie editing software for a good decade or so, so a fast way to get up to speed is certainly welcome.
There are also a load of demos which can be ran straght away and (of course) fiddled with. The software is powerful and a result of this is that it is quite complex so it is important to be prepared to invest some time to just play with the interface and then work through the manual. There is no need to have a video to upload straight away as one can play with the examples which are already present; you will of course get more out of the tool by playing with your own stuff.
Animation and video files are generally quite large and in many tools it takes ages to edit them due to their size. however I found that here editing is quite fast and responsive so it is possible to make a change and see its results very quickly.
You will find that there is a great deal of satisfaction in preparing your own videos, editing them and producing them. This tool can help you to achieve that.
If home movie making is your thing this is highly recommended.
This software isn't really a rival to software such as Adobe Premiere, but then it's probably a tenth of the price and is a good budget option.
Actually, for the price, you do get some surprising stuff, such as automatic advert removal (for those who want to process recorded TV), and there's other really useful functionality tech such as scene detection.
You can view your video project in a clip or storyboard view. The former allows you just to drop video clips into a sequence (if you don't need to edit anything) and the latter allows you to fully edit your tracks. You can overlay multiple video and audio tracks, and there's stacks of transitions and filters to alter your video as you see fit.
Generally, the user interface is very well laid out in a 3-step format, and it's easy to pick up. Also the colour scheme is very good, and easy on the eyes, which is useful because no doubt you'd be spending plenty of time staring at the screen as you edit your videos.
You can output to a variety of formats including DVD, DV, HD-DVD and BLURAY (which I guess are all variants of MPEG), and the software takes away all of the effort required to ensure your video streams are compliant with the chosen output.
I was also pleasantly suprised that it allows you to output your video in 3D, which seems superb (and it meant I could use the free 3D glasses that came with the software). I tested the 3D output against some professional footage I found on the internet to compare, and to be honest, I really couldn't make out the 3D on the video outputted from this software. So it seems a bit of a gimmick, but the free 3D glasses was nice, so I'm not too bothered about this. I'm not a massive fan of 3D anyway as it gives me headaches, so it wouldn't influence my choice, but for the people who it would, you may want to think twice if you're buying the software for this functionality. Saying that, it probably would be useful if you were using it with 3D-filmed footage, if you had a camera capable of doing it.
I tried a few different video formats too, and I found AVI to work fine, but the MP4 sources I used made the software crash furiously. Which was quite annoying. I didn't notice crashes elsewhere but I'd recommend saving your work regularly.
I think this software is good for beginners or those who want to train in non-linear video editing, who will later progress onto professional software such as Adobe Premiere.
If you simply just want to process your recorded telly, I would go with the free alternative AviDemux, and it allows you to easily copy streams if you didn't want to recompress, meaning you don't lose any further quality from your video.
Overall, I would say this software is perfect for beginners or people who don't need the professional tools found in more expensive software. A decent performer.
Having never used the previous versions, I must say that overall this fairs favourably in comparison to similar video editing software I have used such as "Sony Vegas", "Adobe premiere" and "Ulead Video studio".
The package quite squarely aims itself at somewhere between beginner and professional level with an appropriate price point to match (ie not to expensive) and given its features I think Corel video studio has got the balance of features and usability about right. The learning curve to achieve the main sorts of tasks is about right whilst still handing you a good level of control flexibility and power all at the same time, whilst not inundating too much. The results you can achieve in a relatively short space of time are excellent whilst investing a little more time you can unlock some of the more advanced features available.
The main new features are stop motion and time lapse tools, both offer easily achievable and excellent results. The stop motion allows you to create frame-by-frame animations simply using a webcam, a traditional onion skin view helps you line up your animations by overlaying a translucent copy of the previous frame, or by importing a set of still images.
Time lapse tool, meanwhile, allows you to import a series of still images or video clips , slow them down or speed them up and drop frames, then render them into video clips. Both tools are great fun to play with, but also allow you to achieve good-quality results quickly.
Another feature to note is the disc authoring element of the software into the main program, and adds 3D support, you can now output your project as an anaglyph clip to watch with the pair of red/cyan glasses (included in the box). The 3D output doesn't however offer very much in the way of control/ flexibility over the 3D footage produced, perhaps the next version may expand on this.
The work-flow can be thought of as comprising three stages - Capture, Edit and Share - Video Studio X4 as a whole is much easier to get to grips with than some of its rival products. The interface is clean modern and uncluttered with options being unobtrusively available until you require them.
-Uncluttered screen layout
-Great value package
-Professional looking editing
-Comprehensive video production
-easy to add effects and transitions
-Downloadable content available
-Video Tutorials help available
-Multitude of Conversion options for video uploading
-Stop motion animation / time lapse tools
-Efficient memory usage
-3D Glasses included in box
-Choppy playback at times makes editing difficult
-Not as comprehensive for more professional applications
Video Studio is practical and easy to use and in my opinion more suited towards the novice or casual user. A good introduction and for editing the odd family footage more than enough. It installed fine enough, my system being an AMD quad core with 8gb of ram and a mid-range graphics card.
With Capture, the timeline vanishes and is replaced with information about the clips you're importing, Edit restores the timeline and the explorers for transitions, effects and titling and Share lets you view the whole project in the preview window and select from a number of export options such as DVD or sending it online to something like Flickr or Youtube. You can also bundle all your files together for sharing across a network, handy in this age of powerful home networking.
You can move between storyboard and timeline editing modes. The former makes it easy to cobble footage together shot by shot, the latter allows for precise frame level adjustments. Using storyboard mode makes it easier to see your entire project at a glance. It also has a nifty feature where you can edit your footage in low resolution before building it into high res, lowering the impact on less capable systems.
The Instant Project function, accessed from a button just above the timeline, is not a movie creation wizard. Instead, it creates a generic movie template in the current timeline, with either opening or closing titles plus transitions between a dozen or so placeholder clips.
There are a number of basic template styles (different opening graphics, different typefaces) are included by default, with more templates available from Corel as downloads.
X4 features a few effects, mostly artistic effects like noise removal or a filter to simulate camera shake. Most people will find the camera shake removal filter useful.
It's possible to convert exported movies to 3D which is a novel feature and comes bundled with some glasses. It also features integrated blu-ray and dvd burning software which I've not used as yet but again a nice touch streamling the creation process making this a one stop shop.
Overall a nicely featured product for easy video creation with a straight forward interface. The package includes some tutorial video's as well to get you started. For the home user this package is ideal. I've not used previous Video Studio's but found this pleasant and easy to use and more than enough for the average home user.
on 8 April 2012
Having owned a camcorder for the past 10 years, and using editing software for most of that time, I decided, that, having purchased a new Camcorder (Samsung SMX-F70), I would invest in a new editing suite.
I have used in the past, 'Pinnacle 7' with Windows XP, and latterly, Magix 'Video Easy' with Windows 7.
The former was was easy to use, once you had gone through the usual 4 hour learning curve, despite it seizing up from time to time, and the latter, very basic, but successful.
'Video Easy' would only allow one to burn a single sequence onto a DVD, which resulted in a collection of DVDs with only about 10 minutes of video on each - very expensive.
I wanted an editing suite which would allow me to burn a number of different sequences on one DVD.
I therefore, downloaded a number of trial versions which included Windows 'Moviemaker', Sony 'Vegas', Cyberlink 'Power Director 9, and Corel 'Videostudio Pro x 4'.
'Moviemaker' is rubbish. 'Vegas' too complicated and 'Power Director' the same.
'VideoStudio' is clean, uncomplicated, and once you have gone through the 4 hour self-educating learning curve, is fairly straightforward.
The instruction booklet enclosed, is, as usual, a waste of time and paper, and the only way to learn is to load your un-edited video and practice, practice, practice!
Even the Corel website help pages are not very helpful.
The main page is very clean with the option of either a timeline or thumbnails, and the drag and drop feature for transitions and titles is simple.
The one small downside - when wanting to improve the contrast, brightness or Gamma settings it can only be done one frame at a time (very time consuming), and the small buttons moved by the mouse, move at an alarming rate, so one needs very steady fingers!
The transference of video to edit can be done in a number of ways but I have found that the best way is to transfer on to the hard drive via a memory card reader, and then to move into 'VideoStudio'.
Overall, a very easy to understand software package which give professional results.
I purchased mine from Amazon when the price was only £32, which represents an absolute bargain!
Corel Video Studio X4 is a relatively simple package. It's a simple 3-step process: capture video, edit it, and share the finished product, although if you have already loaded your video onto your computer, the "capture" phase is unnecessary.
I want video editing software that can let me do simple things like split a video stream into scenes, trim the video clips, assemble them into a storyboard and add crossfade transitions. This package can do all of that without any problem, and it can output to multiple formats including Full HD Blu-Ray. There are some fancy effects too, and you can add voiceovers, onscreen text and graphics, and you can configure up to six overlay video tracks and three music tracks if you really want. More usefully, there's a simple volume editor for the soundtrack.
Potentially useful features include stop-motion capture using a connected camera, including onion-skinning for ease of use, and an option to choose the duration of each image (you'd typically have one image for 5 frames). You can also speed up existing video, so my incredibly boring shot of the moon rising behind a tower block suddenly becomes a lot more bearable (or at least a lot shorter). Rather disappointingly, the "Bonus - Create 3D movies" feature doesn't have support for captured 3D video. Instead, it simulates 3D using a 2D source, which is really not much use to anyone. You get a nice pair of cyan/red 3D glasses to watch your not-really-3D films with.
I spent ages trying to work out how to set the project to 1920 x 1080. The "Settings => Project Properties" allows a maximum of 720 x 576. Eventually I worked out that this is just the resolution of the workfiles you use to edit the project together - it's not until you go to the "Share" tab and choose a medium to export to that you choose your project resolution. You can create a Blu-Ray or DVD, export to a video file or to a mobile device, or you can upload to your online account (Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and Flikr are the supported services).
Another thing I initially didn't realise is that the screen is customisable. There are three "panels": the player panel, the storyboard/timeline panel and the media library panel. Any one of these can be resized or - if you have two monitors - dragged onto the other monitor to work full-screen.
Rendering is not particularly fast - creating a Blu-Ray menu with preview clips is particularly time-consuming - but the results are pretty good. Although this is a 32-bit program (ie. not optimised for a 64-bit operating system) it does at least make use of all the virtual processors in my i7 PC - it's nice to see them all running at about 80% CPU for once.
If you want proper 3D support (do you REALLY need it?) Roxio Video Lab HD (PC) would be a better choice. But if you're not worried about that, and want a package that's good for the three-stage capture/edit/share workflow, the Corel product is pretty good.
Corel also sells Paint Shop Pro X4, which is vastly improved on previous versions, and you can now buy the photo and video products in a bundle - well worth considering, especially as the "look-and-feel" is similar in both products.