I previously tried VideoStudio Pro X4 and felt it was imperfect but with no serious flaws and easy to use compared with my normal Sony Vegas editor. X5 is a clear improvement on X4 and of course the Ultimate version offers extra effects, filters, transitions and templates such as Boris FX and Mercale. I particularly liked the latter, for minimising camera shake.
Apparently X5 is designed to take advantage of the latest Intel Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion CPUs as well as offering some GPU acceleration, so should be much faster than X4...if you have the right processor (I don't, so can't comment). I read somewhere, though, that rendering doesn't benefit, and certainly rendering is rather slow. The excellent proxy mode carried over from X4 speeds the editing process itself - work in low-res mode and then render using the high-res source files.
One of the most significant enhancements is with footage intended for playing in a browser - the ability to produce HTML 5 multi-format output. That should mean that anything you upload to a web page will be compatible with any up-to-date browser. You can also build in target areas that become links to other pages. I didn't test this since I'm only interested in making movies to play from disc or on a PC.
There's now a screen-capture facility. This lets you make movies of what's happening on your PC screen. You can add voice-over while recording, too. As well as recording games or creating tutorials, you might want to use it to capture streaming video.
Otherwise, I'm not sure much has changed (but no longer have X4 to do a proper comparison).
As before, it was easy to get started, with the main window offering three tabs: Capture (to import clips), Edit (for timeline editing) and Share (preview and export). There's a comprehensive range of templates with custom titles, music, and transitions to get you off to a flying start. The interface is highly customisable and you can even save different versions of the desktop but I liked it pretty-much the way it was delivered. Multiple monitors are supported, if you're lucky enough to have them. The instructional videos were genuinely helpful.
Against that, there's no built-in help. "Help" takes you to the Web where you have to subscribe first. And there are idiosyncrasies that will confuse beginners, such as the confusing naming of the three video tracks as `background' tracks, and the need to press Shift with Play to play the entire timeline (or maybe I was missing something).
The fun features still seem to be present but I didn't check them out with this new version: time lapse, stop-motion (for animations, which some will love) and 3D.
This package provides enough to keep the budget-conscious home-video maker very happy. It provides all the usual features of video editors at this price, and presents the process in an easy one-two-three method. You get the following things in the box: two software DVDs (the second DVD is "the Ultimate Pack" DVD), a WinZip Pro licence, a getting started guide, and a user guide (also now as PDF). The previous version - X4 - contained almost identical items, but though it lacked the second DVD, it did include 3D glasses. The box does not shout about HD, as every
The first DVD includes the product, Apple QuickTime and Adobe Flash (though there are newer versions online). All the extras are now on a second DVD, and includes ProDAD RotoPen, ProDAD Vitascene v2 LE, ProDAD Mercalli SE, and Boris Graffiti 5.4. Installation is easy, but takes a little while to copy all the files over. Before you do anything after installing, I suggest you download the VideoStudio SP1 patch. It fixes quite a few bugs, and makes the whole thing more stable. For the record, X4 also had an SP2 patch.
There are a few reasons to upgrade. The main one is multi-core processor support, which speeds up the whole package, though the native 64-bit mode I was hoping for isn't here. Also new is HTML5 output. This enables you to apply attributes to videos, titles and graphics, add cue and chapter points, and so on, for better integration of videos into web sites.
Screen capture is new. There are many such tools available, but this one is integrated into the package, and so makes importing video (with voice-overs) a bit easier. DVDs may now be burned directly from ISO files, as can DVD subtitles. There are a few other minor changes, but that's what you get in this version. Also make sure you have enabled hardware acceleration in Preferences. It is switched off by default!
As with many packages these days, you have to register to get part of the package. In this case registering gets you NewBlue Titler. It is just 39MB but takes an age to download.
The software interface is almost identical to that in X4, with just a few new menu items. It is divided into three main areas. At left you have the preview panel, where you may review your movie, picture or soundtrack; at right you have the tools panel, where you may organize your content, choose titles, transition effects, and so on; and across the bottom you have a traditional timeline, with a row for each item of media in the movie project. However, you may drag these parts where you want them. I prefer the preview window on the right, so I put it there. The interface uses a mixture of drag-and-drop and clickable toolbars for feature selection and editing. This can be a little confusing to the uninitiated, but with experience you soon get the hang of how it likes you to do things.
1-Capture, 2-Edit, and 3-Share...
"Capture" is impressive and easy to use. It can capture video from external devices, such as a camera or smartphone, capture from DV tape, or digital media. If you are interested in animation, it can also be used to capture stills during a stop-motion movie-making session. For example, if you are animating an object, connect the camera to the computer, and use this software to grab a sequence of stills. To help you, it keeps a ghost of the last still on the screen as an overlay, so you can set up the next frame. That's very handy!
"Edit" is where the complications are. To make best use of this software, you really need to spend time with it, and learn how to use the features. This is crucial. This is not something you can just muddle through. If you are looking for an idiot-proof bit of software that does everything for you (and inevitably doesn't do very much), then look elsewhere. Edit is complicated because it is where your movie is assembled, cut together, and refined. It therefore includes a range of transition effects, titles, and sounds. Having a good idea of what you want to create will help you. However, If you start a video project with no idea where you are going with it, this software offers "Instant Projects" to help you build a basic movie structure.
"Share" is where you may save your project as a DVD, a DV recording, video file, a sound file, an HDV recording, export to a mobile device, and so on. You may also upload directly to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr, and (new to X5) YouTube 3D. You may also, of course, create a DVD, Blu-ray, AVCHD, or BD-J disc. The DVD and Blu-ray wizards are fun to mess around with, offering chapter points and a menu editor. The wizards also include a preview mode, with on-screen remote control that you may use to interact with the menus you have created, to see if they work as you expected.
"Corel Guide" provides a range of tutorial videos. These are very useful, and now don't have the intrusive background music that ruined them in X4. It also offers a range of downloadable video titles, sounds, templates and tools, some of which cost extra. I like this feature, but I've seen so many things like it over the years, which are never updated by the manufacturer, and soon become pointless. If Corel keeps adding to it, it'll be handy, but I am not optimistic.
Overall it's a great package for the money, and offers a few nice reasons to upgrade from X4. It gets your videos, sounds, and pictures into the project with ease, provides many ways to make a movie look great, does plenty on the export and disc-writing side, and comes with a decent manual. It beats the overpriced Avid Studio, but doesn't quite match my favourite - the more powerful Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus - both of which I have reviewed here on Amazon.