There’s plenty of fertile ground in between the useful but light functionality offered by Windows Movie Maker and the you-film-it-and-I’ll-edit-it all knowingness of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Movie Edit Pro occupies this mid-point, effectively competing with the likes Premiere Elements, and offers a worthwhile alternative.
First the basics. This is a solid, better-than-entry-level video editing program which can import video from DV and HDV cameras, analogue video devices and the PC’s own screen, then arrange and edit the results using a wide range of effects, wipes, fades, transitions, titles and so on. It can then save the results, either as a file to disk or for uploading to the Internet, or by burning them onto a DVD (Blu-ray or Sony’s AVCHD format are both supported).
The workflow’s arranged into the familiar Record/Edit/Burn screens and the Edit window features a conventional layout with a preview window and filepool at the top and scenes/timeline running along the bottom. You also get – ready? – 257 fade effects, 79 menu templates, 79 design elements (like picture-in-picture, collage, border and speech bubble effects), 17 slideshow styles, five soundtrack maker styles and two synths, which comes in at a whopping 4.4GB in total. There’s also the usual mess of unasked-for extras for photo editing and management, a media player and so on, which you can install or not.
As is customary, Magix has ladled a considerable selection of new features into the latest version. The improved DVD menu designs are welcome as is a fancier title editor which lets you type directly onto the preview window. We also liked the new colour correction features which let you, for example, remove, hide or accentuate any colour tone; other notable additions include the ability to upload HD video to YouTube, and Vimeo support.
There are plenty of neat touches too: using the scroll wheel to move the timeline left and right is a nifty way to navigate round long movies quickly, the audio mixer feels like the real thing, and the general video effect presets are all that most people will need.
We also loved the new travel animation feature. Imagine you’ve done a trip round Europe, filming as you go: this lets you create a simple animated map showing your route complete with pushpins and mode of transport (it’s a bit like the way they do the plane journeys in an Indiana Jones movie); when you’ve finished, import it into your movie and run it at the beginning with a voice over.
Performance-wise, Movie Edit nipped along on an ancient 3.6GHz Pentium 4 with 2GB of memory and NVIDIA GeoForce 6800 graphics processor: on something more modern or better suited to video editing, we’d expect it to fly. Movie Edit likes a big screen though (even a 19-inch monitor feels a bit cramped) and you’d be hard pressed to enjoy it on a notebook PC. It’d be good if you could zoom out of the bottom window some more to create breathing space for the Fades/Titles/Effects window at the top.
Contact: 0905 118 0888