For some time, Pinnacle Studio has been the video editing package of choice for the home enthusiast. While it never had the features of something like Adobe’s Premiere Pro, the truth is that the vast majority of us don’t need them. Thus Studio’s success has been built on putting together a collection of useful, powerful features that are, crucially, very easy to use.
Studio 10 Plus builds on these foundations, with some success. But there are problems here, and we may as well talk about them now. The build we tested was quite buggy and, on both of our test systems (the most powerful of which boasted an Athlon 64 3600+ processor, 1GB of RAM, an X800 graphics board and 250GB of hard disk space), we found that Studio 10 was crashing regularly. Ironically, one of the new features of this version is a saving system that keeps track of each editing decision you make, meaning you lose very little if and when the program keels over.
We have to assume, or perhaps hope, that Pinnacle fixes these issues over the coming weeks, as they taint what is otherwise an excellent piece of software. Take the user interface. This is deliberately kept as clean and straightforward as possible, and hasn’t really changed much from the last iteration of the program. It’s ease itself to capture and bring in new material (assuming you have the hardware in place – if not you can buy packs that bundle capture hardware with the Studio software), and then to drag it over to the program’s timeline.
As before, the software allows you to simply place scenes in order or to work with a more complicated timeline feature that lets you layer in multiple video and audio tracks, replete with overlays. You can import filters as well, plus the software builds in surprisingly effective colour correction and image stabilising tools. And there’s a wealth of really quite impressive effects, transitions, wipes and suchlike that you can activate with a couple of mouse clicks.
This really is where the software hits top gear. The ease with which you can import footage, edit it and export it out the other end is sometimes hard to believe, and only let down by the occasional instability of the program itself.
Granted, at the end of each project you’re still left with a wait while the program renders your production ready for output, but that’s something Studio Plus and all of its competitors are unlikely to find a way round in the near future.
Still, you can now get your preview immediately, and at full resolution. It’s often just a handful of features that you genuinely appreciate in any software update, and this fast preview is very much one of them. Granted, previewing material never used to take too long in Studio 9, but having such a feature on the fly is a huge and welcome asset.
Selling for around £70, and available in a basic guise for less (naturally with some of the features stripped out), Studio 10 Plus, when it works, is arguably top of its field. Its balance of power with user-friendliness is certainly unrivalled by the likes of Premiere Elements (which, granted, is improving with every release), and were it not for the numerous bugs that seem to currently blight the software, it would be a no-brainer recommendation. As it stands, it may be worth downloading the free trial first, simply to see how well it runs on your own PC.
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