Pinnacle Studio Plus 10.5 Titanium Edition review
Pinnacle Studio Plus 10 should have been a killer product. With the Liquid Edition real-time rendering engine under the hood, a serious amount of editing power was promised. But as with some previous versions of Studio, the initial dot zero release was plagued with stability issues. Pinnacle’s online support forums were rife with angry users, and we didn’t even get that edition in the UK. Over here, 10.1 was the first version on the market.
Fortunately, the new Titanium Edition comes allied with the 0.5 update out of the box. This allegedly improves the performance of the interface in numerous areas, and comes with a lengthy bug-fix list. We certainly found it was more responsive than the 10.1.2 version of Studio Plus, and we also found no stability problems during testing this time around. So, the first bit of good news is that this could be the Studio 10 we had hoped to see in the first place.
However, existing users of version 10 can install 10.5 as a free 79MB download, so in this respect Titanium is nothing new. The main difference between Titanium and the basic Plus version of Studio 10 is that it comes with RTFX Volume 1 activated out of the box. This effects pack includes 25 new filters. Considering that on its own the RTFX Volume 1 costs £43, and Studio 10 Plus £28 (both exc VAT), you’re saving about £20 by buying the two together.
The 25 new effects include a host of wacky visual filters, ranging from Bevel Crystal, Mirage and Mosaic, which pattern the video kaleidoscopically, to superimposed fractal animations. You wouldn’t use these in every production, but they’re fun to apply now and then, particularly as filter keyframing was added with version 10. Most of these effects have a decent number of controls, so you can tweak them to get exactly the look you want.
The best inclusions are the Advanced versions of filters, basic versions of which were already available within Studio 10 Plus. These give you a lot more control over parameters. For example, Old Film Advanced lets you alter the intensity of grain, dust, scratches and hair, plus it can toggle whether trapped hair occurs – and you can keyframe all of these as well. You get similarly greater control with Lens Flare Advanced, and the advanced water effects.
Apart from these extra effects, though, there isn’t much else that’s new. Output options have expanded to include encoding video in the appropriate format for Sony’s PSP, Apple’s video iPod, DivX video players and other mobile video devices. But this is another feature of the 10.5 update, not something unique to Titanium.
If you’re still using a previous version of Studio, it looks like it might be safe at last to upgrade to Studio 10. And if you do like the sound of the effects included in RTFX Volume 1, the Titanium package is good value. However, it’s high time Studio added support for a few more video layers. After all, the Liquid engine is more than capable of mixing more than two streams of video in real-time. And with Premiere Elements 2 costing the same amount of money as Titanium, you do have to ask whether you’d rather have 25 extra effects and HDV support, or Elements’ unlimited layers and far greater creative control.