Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle Studio may traditionally have hogged the limelight when it comes to home movie editing software. But for the past couple of years, it’s arguably Sony that has best hit the sweet spot, producing a powerful product at a very attractive price.
For £70 – and it’s not tricky to get even this low price discounted – you get the main Movie Studio video editing application, bundled with with the latest versions of DVD Architect and Sound Forge Audio Studio. Given, though, that it’s the Movie Studio product that’s the main attraction, that’s where we’ll keep our focus for the purposes of this review.
At heart, not a great deal has changed since version 10 of the software, but there have been a few additions. Chief among them is stereoscopic 3D editing, which also accounts for why there’s a pair of 3D glasses in the box. It’s quite impressive what can be achieved here, though your feelings towards it will no doubt be determined by your feelings toward 3D in general.
You certainly won’t be making Avatar with Movie Studio, but for giving titles some extra whiz, for instance, it’s a neat addition, and there’s no other package on the market right now that can do what this one is doing. You can also, incidentally, output your 3D content to a 3D Blu-ray, if you have the requisite hardware, or YouTube, if you don’t.
There’s also a new title and text plug-in, which could do with a better range of samples, but it’s a breeze to use. Overlaying titles has never been easier, and the Vegas Movie Studio interface, while quite confusing to look at, is straightforward enough in practice.
There is a lot packed into Movie Studio, and the main working screen has no shortage of tabs, icons, and context-sensitive right mouse button activated options. The core of the program rests on timeline-style editing, and thus it’s hard to get lost with that. But inevitably, you’ll find yourself wanting to examine the more advanced features, of which there are many – and that might just prove a little daunting.
Yet that’s perhaps the price you pay for quite such a comprehensive package – one that boasts some welcome improvements under the hood. For instance, Vegas deals comfortably with a broad range of formats and resolutions, but it feels a faster beast this time around in the manner in which it deals with high-definition content.
It’s also very proficient when it comes to the output stage, and in line with the way Sony has approached this product before, help is rarely too far away.
There’s a strong argument that, if you’re not overly impressed by the need for 3D, there’s not much of a compelling reason to fork out for version 11 of this software. After all, it’s not a massive advance over version 10. But it’s at the top of the tree where home user-focused video editing packages are concerned, and it does a complex, often intense job, with reasonable speed and sufficient ease. Plus, especially when you factor in the the fact that you get the aforementioned DVD Architect and Sound Forge Studio bundled in too, you get a lot for your money.
- You get a lot for your money, and performance is high.
- Arguably a bit too baffling at first.
A terrific collection of video editing and authoring tools, that hasn't advanced much from the last version, but still proves hard to beat.