Serif – MoviePlus X5 review

Powerful, low-cost home video editing
Photo of Serif – MoviePlus X5
£59.99

Despite the seemingly grand leap straight from version 3 to this, MoviePlus X5 isn’t a radical re-boot of Serif’s low-cost video editing program but an incremental release which brings it into step with the rest of the company’s X5-branded products. There are new features though – many of which are well worth investigating, including enhanced support for High Definition (HD) video and improvements to the way text and video effects are handled.

New features
X5 allows you to burn finished movies as Blu-rays discs, or AVCHD files – which means you can use standard recordable DVDs – and includes a cleverer rendering engine that can prioritise background tasks for better performance. (A note here: if you’re not into HD, MoviePlus is surprisingly nippy on older machines – something that can’t be said of many home video editing programs).

Serif has also upped the ante on video and picture quality with new image stabilisation features that compensate for camera shake, and noise reduction to help fix videos that are grainy or shot in poor light.

Elsewhere, visual guides make it easier to position special effects (for example, picture-in-picture) and all manner of titles and captions. The multi-trim dialogue is also a powerful feature which lets you ‘shape’ a scene in one go, rather than via multiple edits.

New-look interface
We found MoviePlus X5′s redesigned interface (“intuitive”, says Serif) harder work than expected – particularly the Media Pane where clips, effects and other files are stored – but as with most of the company’s products, the help is first-class, so perseverance will pay off.

Company: Serif

Contact: 0800 376 7070


Verdict
X5 represents a series of small but significant steps forward, rather than the giant leap that its name would suggest. Nevertheless, the addition of so many HD-related features and improved noise reduction make it an attractive buy for enthusiasts. It also remains good value for anyone with an older machine who's not into HD video.