Top positive review
105 people found this helpful
Good for amateur Hi-Def
on 29 January 2009
I've been trialling this software for a few days now, and for my purposes I think it deserves a better rating than the 2 stars it has at present. I set out looking for a video editing package that a) can import, join or create simple transitions, and output the AVCHD files produced by my Panasonic HDC-SD9 camcorder very quickly and without loss of quality option (i.e. has a smart render option); b) has decent DVD authoring software that can author AVCHD files to DVD as well as Blu-ray; c) supported 5.1 surround sound; d) is reasonably quick to render and renders to as small as possible file sizes; e) has flexibility to output to HDD as well as DVD and produces files that play on my PS3; f) is very easy to use but flexible enough to play around with settings; g) doesn't cost the earth. I also wanted a decent selection of transitions and effects but as I am not big on creating all singing and dancing movies these features were very much secondary. My purpose we to easily capture, create, and easily distribute family video that is capable of being played back via a variety of mediums.
So to start I did a bit of research on the net and found the following 5 packages to be front runners: Serif MoviePlus X3, Pinnacle Studio 12 Plus/Ultimate, Adobe Premier Elements 7, Corel Video Studio x2 Pro Ultimate, and Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Pro Pack. I then downloaded the trial versions as set about testing according to my criteria. Remember I am an amateur so I am only looking for the easiest or most obvious way to do something from each package. That is my disclaimer.
So now down to the results... First the rendered output quality of all packages appeared similar, although the rendering time did vary slightly (by about 15%). Corel was the only package that supported an obvious Smart Rendering option. Adobe and Pinnacle provided most transitions and effects as standard. Serif and Corel were the easiest to use.
Adobe PE7 does not support 5.1 surround sound and its output capabilities appeared limited. I did however find one setting that produced an AVCHD H.264 file that played back on my PS3. -> Eliminated.
Serif would not recognise the .MTS files produced by my camcorder; however renaming them all the .M2TS worked. Also it will only produce output with max 1440x1080 res, not the 1920x1080 I wanted. -> Eliminated.
Pinnacle would only produce AVCHD output to DVD/Blu-ray disc and not directly to HDD and even then settings are limited to only one ("Best Quality"). Also it's worth noting 5.1 audio is only supported by the Ultimate version and I could only find the Plus version to trial. -> Eliminated.
That left Sony and Corel; both met my above basic requirements pretty well. Initially I liked the Sony as it offered a lot more for not too much more cash and I looked hard for reasons to buy it over the Corel; but the deeper I dug the more times Corel came out on top... I found the Sony DVD authoring package harder to use, the Corel editing UI was cleaner and it was easier to find the features you needed, Corel did obviously Smart Render but Sony did not, and finally the Sony crashed and I did not experience same with Corel. So the final verdict is Corel Video Studio x2 Pro Ultimate. It's far from perfect (hence 4 stars) but for my purposes it's the pick of the bunch. One small niggle I have with Corel is that the application window can only be full screen or minimised, so you can't resize it to get at other apps while it's rendering.