Pinnacle – Studio Version 9 review

video editing and DVD creation suite
Photo of Pinnacle – Studio Version 9

Studio is Pinnacle’s home video editing software, sold on its own or bundled with a number of different products, sometimes with digital and analogue video editing hardware (see our earlier review here). It’s all about making the job of cutting and tidying your videos into neat movies, and recording them onto DVD or CD, as simple as possible.

Rather than adding extra editing facilities from its higher-end products, like Expression, Pinnacle has kept Studio very much as a home use application and worked on its ease of use and further automation. The program is divided into three distinct tasks: capturing your video, editing it into shape and finally making your finished movie.

Depending on the hardware fitted to your PC, you can capture video directly from digital video cameras and tapes, from analogue cameras and tapes or from video files on your hard drive. New to Studio 9 is support for widescreen video, with an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is detected automatically during capture. Breaks between scenes are also detected, so you end up with a selection of video clips.

Putting together your movie is, as before, just a question of dragging and dropping individual scenes from an album selector onto the main timeline. Now, though, you don’t have to go through the fairly picky process of choosing and trying out transitions and cuts, and fitting a musical soundtrack to your movie.

Using SmartMovie, Studio 9 can splice together all your chosen scenes, add transitions and soundtracks appropriate to the editing style you select and even re-cut the video to fit a selected music track, if you choose. And talking of music, a new SmartSound feature can create a music track to a preset length and in a wide variety of musical styles. This approach won’t suit everyone – it’s a bit like lift music – but it’s certainly a quick way of adding music to a video. There’s now support for multi-speaker surround sound in your movies, too.

One of the novel things about Studio 9 is that these extra features have been added without significantly increasing the complexity of the interface. The new options are hidden away in a series of ‘toolbox’ overlays, which slide out as and when you call on them.

In among these toolbox options are new restoration filters which can provide colour correction for older videos (perhaps your VHS tapes) and noise reduction of recorded soundtracks, so things like wind noise and tape hiss can be reduced.

The final stage in making your movie is to burn it to a DVD or VideoCD and Studio 9 handles this in its usual laid-back fashion, not getting over-excited by any of the technicalities. It can, of course, offer a wide range of front-end menus for your home-made movies, thus completing the job from raw video to professional-looking movie disc.

Company: Pinnacle

Contact: 01895 442003

Studio 9 offers several improvements over version 8. If you choose, a lot of the design and editing work can be taken out of your hands and left to the new SmartMovie routines.