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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 February 2013
I bought Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate version partially because of the promise of extra transitions and effects, but mostly because Amazon were selling it at almost half the cost of buying direct from Pinnacle. As it turns out, I don't think it is worth the extra over the Plus version, unless you are desperate for a piece of green cloth and a pair of very cheap paper 3D glasses. Even so, once I registered the product, I was welcomed into the Pinacle fold and offered the full Help service.
Having had experience of many other video editing suites, including Ulead Video Studio and Sony Vegas Movie Studio, I have always come back to Pinnacle for its ease of use and dependability. Yes, earlier versions used to crash frequently but usually recovered well, and by version 12 it was pretty stable and user-friendly. I tried upgrading to version 15 (the Avid one), but while it gave me a taste of what was to come, it hadn't installed properly and crashed irrecoverably on my first project. Weeks of trying through the Help Desk failed to get it working again, and then I discovered it would not uninstall either, leaving traces all through my system despite thoroughly editing the registry. It was therefore with some trepidation that I opted to install Studio 16, but it does seem to be an improvement. It is certainly not without its bugs, however.
My computer runs Win 7 64bit, has a core i5 processor, 8GB of DDR3 system RAM, and two 1TB fast hard drives, but still progress is very slow. It is essential to proceed with amendments and additions slowly, otherwise Studio is easily confused. It will appear to freeze completely (usually because it is rendering the movie in the background), but with patience it eventually recovers. I did experience a complete crash on one occasion.
Although there are a couple of thousand ready-made templates, transitions and effects, there are very few of them that most people would want to use unless they were trying to impress the easily pleased. On the other hand, some of the more basic types of transition, such as fade to white, I have yet to discover. Fade to black is also missing, but can be achieved by folding over a corner of a clip - provided the clip is long enough.
The preset themes now include at least some applicable to users this side of The Pond, but are still somewhat biased towards North American enthusiasts. To be fair, most of the transitions and effects can be customised, though for some reason I could not get some of them to work at all, and there are more than a few that are duplicated under different names. When deciding which transition to apply, hovering the mouse pointer over the name of the transition should give you a preview of the effect, but it is very hit and miss.
Importing movies is not without its faults. You can opt for them to be automatically broken down into more manageable clips (called 'scenes'), either by content, date or a set length. If you choose content, you will almost certainly find that at the end of each scene there are up to a dozen frames from the front of the next scene. These can be very irritating to remove, especially from a long movie where you might wish to move scenes around or edit them out. And while these odds and ends can be cut off one scene, there is no way to join them to another - I'm sure this was posssible in earlier versions of Studio. You can of course place these offcuts where you want them, but then if the orphan has only a few frames, you cannot add any transitions between it and the following scene.
In one instance, I separately imported three movies and elected for each of them to be broken down into scenes. This worked well for the first movie, but even though Studio was working in a discrete environment each time, the scenes displayed for the second and third movies included up to a dozen scenes from the earlier movies. To make matters worse, some scenes from the subsequent movies were missing and had to be manually extracted.
While playing back or editing individual scenes on the timeline, for reasons best known to itself, when the playback was stopped the video scrubber would often return to the start of the movie - very annoying when you are working 50 or more scenes away.
As in previous versions, menus are somewhat daunting and not always intuitive. Efforts have clearly been made to improve this area, but it just doesn't seem to work reliably. I created a Menu and Sub-menu to offer the option to view the movie all the way through, or to select to view any of the ten chapters and be returned to the Menu each time. This is a facility on the top of most users' wish lists that was missing in previous versions.
I set it up very carefully, and Studio did indeed place its chapter numbers and returns exactly where I had put my markers, displaying the results in the sub-menu. But when I ran a simulation of the movie, selecting 'Play All' it jumped to Chapter 8 the first time, then Chapter 6 the second time. Choosing the option to go to 'Chapter Selection' by-passed the sub-menu altogether and went randomly to any chapter it felt like. A thorough check of my markers and the chapter numbers on the timeline showed that everything was correctly recorded, but still the menus wouldn't function properly. At this point I gave up, saved my work, closed down Studio and went off to make a cup of tea. When I returned, I fired up Studio, loaded the movie and, lo and behold, the menus worked perfectly.
Disc burning has improved, though the interface is not so user-friendly as it used to be. Burning a 6GB+ movie to a DL DVD took 17 minutes to create the disk image, and just 8 minutes to burn 99% of the image. However, there was a worrying 12 minute wait for the writing of the lead-out file to complete. An earlier similarly structured 1.6GB movie burned in a total of 12 minutes without any long pause at the end.
All in all, Studio 16 is an improvement over previous versions, and it feels more stable, if slower. Trying to work too quickly can confuse it, but given a steady pace it gets there in the end. As others have pointed out, this is not really Pinnacle 16 but Avid 2, and there is a bit of a learning curve even for the seasoned user. You can download a PDF User Manual, but I did not find it too helpful. There is no search facility, and twice it pointed me to options on the Studio menu bar which didn't exist in Version 16. For my money, the Ultimate version is not really worth the extra few pounds, but others may beg to differ.
One other very strange behaviour of Studio 16 is that, whenever it is loaded in Windows, even if it is minimised to the taskbar, it over-rides the Windows Power Settings, so that your computer and screen will not go into standby mode. And it constantly tries to connect to 'The Cloud', even if you have elected not to activate this facility. I wonder why?
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on 27 December 2012
I have been using Avid Studio for well over a year. When the Pinnacle brand was bought by Corel from Avid, they released Pinnacle Studio 16, which is really Avid Studio 2. The naming has caused some problems for those that thought is was legacy Studio being upgraded to only find out that it was not. It is not a program for someone who casually edits once in a while, but a program geared more for the enthusiast and those seeking more flexibility and power in editing. The feature set further expands on what was available in Avid Studio, and with the additional Red Giant plug ins, well, that's just icing on the cake. Also, if you purchased any plug ins for Avid Studio, you can use them in PS16.
I have looked at the feature set of other competing NLE's and found that while they might offer some things that PS16 doesn't, as a whole, they offered less. If you plan on editing footage from your HD camera's, make sure that your computer meets the recommended specs. If not, do not expect a good editing experience, if any at all. I use footage from my Canon AVCHD camcorder and Canon DSLR and have no problems having both sources on the same timeline color grading so that they match.
While not a perfect piece of software (nothing is), for the price, I do not thing that, as a complete all-in-one package that this can be beat. Before purchasing, you can download the 30day trial of the Plus version. Do that. And if you have any questions, the Pinnacle Forum is the best place to get help and answers much faster than tech support. The days of getting fast response from any software vender (unless you pay for it) are just about over. There is a wealth of information and very knowledgeable people that frequent the forums helping others.
Now for me, back to editing!!!
Oh, BTW, I have used many editing programs from 1990 when I started editing doing a/b roll with the Amiga/Video Toaster.....
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on 15 September 2012
I have bought every version of Studio since Pinnacle 8. This one certainly is the best with lots of time lines,plug ins,etc. This software is really 'Avid Studio' version 2. Also included is 50gbs of cloud storage, Green screen and 3d glasses, but do not get excited as these are just a flimsy bit of cardboard. Overall very pleased.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 January 2013
I've been a Pinnacle Studio user since v7 and have also worked with prfessional NLE packages from Avid, Sony, Pinnacle etc.

This version of Pinnacle Studio is actually Avid Studio v2 renamed - though it inherits a few Pinnacle Studio like features.

I've upgraded through almost every Studio version since v7, but held off upgrading to v16 for a couple of reasons:

a) Pinnacle Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Version 15 is very stable and very powerful
b) Pinnacle Studio 16 is not really Pinnacle Studio, it is a different software package re-branded.

I finally took the plunge and purchased Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate Collection (PC) (see my review of Ultimate Collection for the differences between Ultimate and Ultimate Collection) because of a few key features.

i) Unlimited video timelines - previous versions of Pinnacle Studio have always had a limited number of video layers.
ii) 64 bit optimisation - while Studio is not a native 64bit application the important parts have been re-coded to take advantage of a 64 bit architecture/. This means that compatability with older plugins etc can be maintained.
ii) Dolby 5.1 surround import and preservation of the 5.1 audio tracks (previous versions always down-mixed surround ausio files to stereo then allowed you to pan them in a surround space).

And there's more, such as the 3D capability which Pinnacle have been a bit late to add compared to others.

Studio 16 Ultimate is an impressive bit of software. It IS different to previous Pinnacle Studio versions and is closer to Avid Studio in almost every way. There are some elements of the Pinnacle style UI that have been incorporated though, and it shoudln't take too long for anyone familiar with previous versions to get used to it.

The big problem for me, though, is that the instability is back. Five time out of six when I close the effects editor Studio hangs indefinitely and requires closing via the task manager.

[UPDATE: Patch 16.1 - the second patch released for Studio 16 - seems to resolve many of the stability issues. See below for more info]

I am running on a pretty powerful machine (Core i7, 8GB RAM, nVidia 525 with 1GB, Win 7 Pro 64bit) and have Windows Aero switched off to hopefully improve stability but I'm still having problems.

There is also an issue with the surround audio pass-through in that the centre and LFE tracks are swapped - a bit of a show-stopper if you are planning on using 5.1 audio from an external source or from your camera! [See update below]

There is already a patch for Studio 16 (link in first comment as Amazon strips links from reviews), but it does not address these widely reported issues and actually introduces a couple of other complications (it moves some of the hidden folders used by Studio - not a problem for most users, but see the official Pinnacle Sys Forums for more info).

If it was stable then v16 would really be the ultimate semi-pro editing software. See my review of v15 for why I think it is unfair to refer to this software as merely amateur/hobbyist fare. I've worked with professional NLE software and Studio produces no lower quality nor restricts creativity more than the 'Pro' titles. I just hope Corel get the fixes out for the stability and show-stopper bugs soon.

PATCH v16.1 UPDATE

A patch to v16.1 is available on the Corel website which resolves many of the issues I've mentioned above. The Dolby channel swap issue is gone as is the crashing when exiting the effects editor (this appears to have been nVidia CUDA related and Studio preview rendering related). 16.1 also brings a bunch of new features and interface tweaks all of which make Studio 16 even better.

Sadly I have found. Couple more issues. On one PC I am unable to export my completed projects (ie render to file, ISO or burn a disk) as Studio crashes as soon as I try to open the Export screen. it also seems that the new 'Export to Studio Package' function is a bit flaky - the process reaches 100% but never quite completes. Then on opening the package on another machine you find some of the required media wasn't included in the package and so you end up oving it yourself!

So 16.1 makes Studio even better, but there are a few things still to sort out.

(A link to the Corel patch download page is in my first comment attached to this review as Amazon strip links from reviews)
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on 25 September 2012
This is the latest video editing software from Pinnacle. I started using Pinnacle's Liquid Edition many years ago which was fraught with problems. Version 2 wasn't much better. I have also used Premiere Pro in various guised over the years.

Pinnacle Studio was taken under the Avid wing (Avid being one of the industry standard edit software companies) Avid revamped the old Pinnacle Studio and turned it into a feature rich product which is both powerful, feature rich and affordable. Around £100 give much more than Premiere pro did years ago.

Studio 16 takes many features from much more expensive packages and pops them into a truly remarkable package for the semi pro home video buff. So far it is more stable than Premiere Elements and certainly has more features.

Pinnacle Studio 16 is virtually the same as Avid Studio, as it is the same underneath. Avid has relinquished the Pinnacle name and sold the Studio package on to Corel. So a bit of an identity problem. However the name and owner change have added a couple of extra features over the Avid version.

The £40 ClassOnDemand DVD is worth buying as it takes you through the myriad of features and tips to produce top notch videos.
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on 6 February 2013
I have had this product now for six weeks, I also bought the complete training, I am having problems , I did not get a support code in the return email after I registered it, so I can contact anyone, the program does not react or do as the training suggests it should, I now have to trawl through the internet looking for any patches available to sort my problems, I spent £130.00 pound and feel let down I think I am being generous with three star rating.regards Dennis Scott
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on 25 November 2013
Retains most of the "easy" features of 14, with more "advanced" stuff. Has some effects that Magix won't do-like inset images with blurred edges and rounded corners. Like adjustable frame edges while the video is playing. Imports (and exports) MTS files. Despite the specs, it WILL import Quicktime mov. files.
Editing AVCHD files is just a little bit slower than normal DV files, but the results are worth it.
I've been after a proper green screen for ages, now I've got one.
Just need something to film now...
Excellent.
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on 6 January 2013
Upgrading from Studio 12 onto a new computer I have found frustration in many places. The screen is packed with controls and adjustments but fails to get the important controls precise. Scanning the time line to drop in a new scene (we dont all work from a storey line but construct a work from what film we have) is imprecise and often ends with splitting a scene if care is not exercised. The library system (moving from Vista to Windows 7 I question to need for this concept) frustrates with so much being listed and why do you have to choose "collapse all" - isnt it obvious!! Try and find that transition you thought you saw earlier. But the biggest bugbare is the "Help" process - why does this go into a demostration recorded video of a generalised process. This approach had me annoyed in the beginning - to watch it more than once is demoralising - Get Rid quick please.
The library fx is overly heavy and much is absolute rubbish - an American/Canadian flag waving base
I am slowly picking up technique which is very different to my previous experience and I have yet to use the menus - an area I have always found inconsistent. If you are considering this try get a demonstration from a user (not the sales pitch)
Patience and a note book is required
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on 10 April 2013
Fussy non-intuitive screens. I'd prefer LESS functionality. Earlier versions were much easier for the amateur to use. The training video assumes an understanding of editing terms. Needs a 'guide for Dummies'!
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on 20 February 2015
A lot of people have said rude things about this programme, but I have had little difficulty with it once I got used to it being different to the previous Pinnacle programmes. It is cumbersome though, and there are a lot of things that one would never use, transitions being one, but it hasn't actually let me down yet and I do use it quite a lot. The main problem is that there was no manual to go by. Instructional videos on the internet are all very well but it's not the same.
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