Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate review

Price when reviewed

Avid did a good job when it bought up, revamped and rebranded Pinnacle Studio Ultimate. It took six years of hard graft, but it managed to address the chronic reliability problems of the original and include the best creative effects of any consumer editor – largely thanks to some superb creative effects from third-party plugin developer, Red Giant.

A year later and ownership has been transferred yet again, this time to Corel, with another name change. Although the name has reverted back to the Pinnacle brand, though, the features certainly haven’t. In fact, all three new versions – Studio (£44 ex VAT), Studio Plus (£55) and Studio Ultimate (£83) – are evolutions of Avid Studio.

That means your Avid Studio projects will open in Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate, and although the Red Giant plugin set is different this time, raising potential file compatibility problems, Corel will make the missing ones available free to upgraders.

There are two new Red Giant plugins as well, and they’re both valuable additions. Cosmo adjusts skin tones while making a minimal impact on other parts of frames, while Mojo is a one-stop-shop for dramatic, punchy colours. It’s a lot quicker to set up than the similar Magic Bullet Looks, which is included too, along with an array of other high-quality effects. Colour correction is well specified, although it isn’t quite in the same league as that of Sony Movie Studio Platinum.

Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate

All three versions of Studio now offer 3D editing. It’s one of the last consumer editors to add this feature, but it’s also the best implementation we’ve seen to date. In our tests, it correctly identified 3D footage from a variety of cameras, and there’s a button to show only 3D media in the library. The preview switched automatically to anaglyph mode, and there’s support for Nvidia 3D Vision displays for those with compatible equipment.

Best of all, the 3D Editor GPU effect applies stereoscopic transformations, so clips, graphics and titles can be animated in 3D space. There’s a range of 3D export options, too, although Blu-ray export is only as an anaglyph or side-by-side file; there’s no support for Blu-ray 3D, which encodes two independent 1080p streams. YouTube uploads can be in 3D, too, but only when we selected the appropriate settings in both Studio and on the website – this should be automatic.

Corel has also picked up the Avid Studio iPad app, which now goes by the name Pinnacle Studio for iPad, and is currently available for free. This is an excellent editor in its own right, with an interface that’s based on older Windows versions of Studio.

There are no effects, and we spotted a couple of bugs, but it handled basic editing tasks extremely proficiently. It had no problems editing 1080p video captured with the iPad, or with a Panasonic GF5 in MP4 format (the iPad doesn’t recognise AVCHD-format clips), copied to the iPad using Apple’s Camera Connection Kit. It doesn’t work on the oldest generation iPad, though.


Software subcategory Video editing software


Processor requirement 2GHz

Operating system support

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

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