Corel VideoStudio X2 Pro review

£74
Price when reviewed

When Corel first purchased Ulead, the initial release of VideoStudio under the new ownership seemed like business as usual. VideoStudio 11 Plus retained the Ulead branding, and the interface updates were evolutionary. Now, however, Corel has dropped the Ulead name altogether and instead of version 12 we get X2 Pro. Existing users will be relieved to see that the interface hasn’t had as radical a treatment as the name, but there are plenty of new features underneath to warrant the bold new marketing.

As with the last few versions of VideoStudio, and in parallel with Pinnacle’s strategy, there are two editions of X2. Unlike the Pinnacle equivalent, however, both offer HD video support from capture to output. The difference between the Pro Ultimate and the standard Pro editions is the software bundle. With the basic incarnation, you get a copy of the WinDVD 8 Silver video player software in the box alongside the editing app. But with Ultimate, the bundle includes the 9 Plus Blu-ray version of WinDVD as well as Steinberg WaveLab LE 6 Audio Editor and DVD Copy 6 Plus, all for just £13 more.

The basic app has more enhancements than it does major new features. You can now place transitions on superimposition tracks, rather than simply on the main track – between picture-in-picture clips, for example. It’s an ability Adobe’s Premiere Elements has had since the beginning and a welcome addition, though Corel’s software still only offers a maximum of six video overlay tracks. VideoStudio also continues to make a distinction between video and title tracks, but thankfully you can now add two of the latter, making it possible to blend different animated text elements together.

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Entirely new is the Painting Creator tool, a unique feature in software at this price point and loads of fun. It provides an array of simple painting and drawing tools, such as paintbrush, airbrush, crayon, charcoal and so on. Hit the record button, and your drawing is recorded as a macro that you can play back and tweak. When you’re happy with the results these are rendered to a file which is then added to the video media library, and can be dragged onto the timeline.

Unfortunately, you can’t edit and re-render these finished animations, but your macros are automatically saved to the Painting Creator library, so you can load the tool again, recall them, make additions or change the duration, and re-render. And though Painting Creator won’t be giving Adobe After Effects a run for its money any time soon, it’s still an exciting and creative addition for a consumer video editing app.

The remainder of the new additions are less earth shattering but still welcome. The Auto Pan & Zoom adds motion to still images automatically, making slideshows more visually interesting without any effort; simply right click on an image and choose the option, or select multiple clips and apply it to all of them at once. Fifteen more animated Flash overlays, plus 20 new object and frame overlay graphics are now included. Five film-look preset effects from NewBlue have also been added, producing much more interesting results than the generic Old Film filter offered previously, and there’s more if you delve into the custom options. The semi-automatic Movie Wizard has broadened its selection of templates and overlapping clips on the same track now automatically adds the default transition between them.

Details

Software subcategory Video editing software

Requirements

Processor requirement 3GHz Pentium 4

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

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