Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 review

Price when reviewed

Alongside PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (see opposite), Corel is releasing VideoStudio Pro X3 aimed at the digital video market. Strangely, despite the joint launches, there’s currently no combined suite, so each program must stand on its own merits.

Well, almost. Corel has never been able to resist the urge to bundle so, when you first load the program, a Quick Launcher screen appears where you can choose between new Advanced Edit and Easy Edit modes. Choose the latter and you’re actually loading a completely different application: VideoStudio Express 2010. This allows the creation of simple movies combining photos and videos based on a handful of starting templates. However, as the same starting templates, including some from RevoStock, are now available as fully customisable Instant Projects from within the more powerful VideoStudio Pro, it’s unlikely you’ll load Express more than once.

VideoStudio Pro is a far more efficient way of editing your videos anyway, and this is principally down to a significant overhaul of the front-end. In particular, VideoStudio Pro X3 now offers just three major workflow tabs – Capture, Edit and Share. It’s the central Edit tab that’s been reworked the most and here you can view all your media, transitions, titles, graphics, filters and audio options. It really does cut through the complexity of the whole video-editing process and makes it both intuitive and enjoyable.

It isn’t just the editing workflow that’s been improved; so has the available power. The control over titles has been enhanced, and multiple title effects can now be added on separate tracks. The same is true for audio handling, which offers two additional music tracks and new audio filters. Most impressive is the inclusion of a wide range of AutoMusic tracks and track variations from SmartSound. The advantage of AutoMusic tracks is that they intelligently adapt themselves to the length of clip. Some can be fine-tuned in terms of mood and instrumentation.

VideoStudio Pro X3’s handling of effects has also been overhauled. There’s now support for filters across multiple tracks, and the range of filters has been expanded, two of which immediately caught our eye. The first, AutoSketch, takes a frame or photo and makes it look as if it’s being painted onscreen. The second, RotoSketch, applies an attractive greyscale painterly effect to live video.

Even more impressive and useful is the addition of a range of sampler effects from NewBlueFX including its excellent Picture-in-Picture filter complete with animations, borders, shadows and reflections. Alas, X2’s equally excellent NewBlueFX Film Look filter seems to have been quietly dropped to make room for it.

What really stands out about VideoStudio Pro X3’s effects handling, though, is its speed. Thanks to hardware acceleration support for Intel Core i7 and Nvidia CUDA, Corel is claiming a doubling in VideoStudio Pro X3’s overall performance. The benefits of offloading to the GPU are particularly evident when it comes to encoding, 3D transitions and certain optimised filters where it enables real-time previewing.

Playback smoothness still depends on the number of tracks and effects, the resolution of your footage and the speed of your system. However, thanks to VideoStudio Pro X3’s enhanced Smart Proxy system, which creates smaller, low-compression proxies above a given resolution, everything stays very responsive even when dealing with complex HD projects on relatively low-spec PCs.


Software subcategoryVideo editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no
Other operating system supportNone

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