There’s not a dramatic difference between Corel Ulead VideoStudio 11 and 11.5, as testified by the fact that this new version is available as a free upgrade for those who own the earlier one. That upgrade is accessible via the Corel site, for those looking to simply do that.
But there is quite an improvement, particularly for those looking to deal with high definition camcorders and movie formats. For instance, VideoStudio will now happily supports the AVCHD format, and there are options to easily output to HD DVD and Blu-ray should you have the requisite technology. H.264 encoding is also supported, and you can now output your content directly to something like YouTube. These are welcome, well-implemented additions.
Also differentiating 11.5 from 11 is the inclusion of a number of templates and overlays, which are welcome and useful. And then there’s the MediaOne Corel digital management solution, which aims to keep all of your media organised. It’s quite a generous upgrade, which now comes as standard in the VideoStudio 11 retail box.
The core application, of course, hasn’t really changed, and it’s still a user-friendly and quite impressive tool for taking video content and converting it into something decent at the end. Working from a welcoming menu screen, it allows you to jump quickly between the full editing application, a wizard-driven approach replete with templates, and the option to take digital video footage and output it directly to DVD without bothering with the editing process at all.
The wizard-driven system is useful enough, and gently guides even the less experienced user through editing their footage, applying a few effects and outputting something of a decent standard. It’s not where the real meat of the application lies, though, and we prefer the option that something such as Pinnacle Studio has in flipping between differing levels of working complexity.
Should you opt for the full-on editing tool, then while VideoStudio still doesn’t click quite as well as Premiere Elements and the aforementioned Pinnacle product, there’s little doubt that Corel’s product is still worth checking out. There are plenty of powerful yet easy-to-work-with features, and as we concluded in our original review of VideoStudio 11, it’s a fast, rounded and tight video editing tool that particularly lends itself to less experienced users.
The improvements in the jump to 11.5 are clearly aimed at those who are working with high definition content, and what’s pleasing is that VideoStudio does cope well with the added demands. There’s a speed hit, obviously, but it doesn’t have quite the impact on system resources that we were expecting.
Unless you’re a less experienced user, however, VideoStudio still isn’t the best option for your money – and we’ll throw Sony’s products in with the alternative names we’ve already mentioned – although it is still good value. It’s a stable, useful application, but one that’s not beating its competition just yet.
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