Pinnacle Studio 9 & Studio Plus 9 review
Pinnacle Studio has been the most successful entry-level video-editing software ever, and it’s not hard to see why. Although it’s no powerhouse, for the newcomer to desktop video editing Studio hides much of the hard work behind a simple tabbed album and three steps – Capture, Edit, and Make Movie.
However, the entry-level video-editing market has really livened up of late. Not only did Ulead’s last version of VideoStudio (see p165) offer a few more editing features, but Adobe has finally dismounted its high horse and released the cut-down Premiere Elements.
Still, Studio bears up well; it has a decent set of filters that range from practical options, such as colour correction, to more stylised choices such as old film effects. Multiple filters can also be applied at once. The range of transitions is extensive, and includes some natty 3D wipes courtesy of Pinnacle’s Hollywood FX engine. Both filters and transitions can be extended with premium effects – pack add-ons, although these are pricey considering Studio’s low cost.
Studio’s audio handling is commendable too. There’s a noise-reduction tool and five VST plug-ins, including an equalizer and level normaliser. Best of all, Studio can create 5.1 surround soundtracks. Titling is adeptly executed by the powerful Title Deko, which also supplies the engine for Studio’s built-in DVD authoring. Although the latter primarily relies on templates, the Title Deko engine means you can also extensively reconfigure DVD menu layouts or even create your own.
For an extra £20, the Plus version adds some useful features. Most important of these is the second video track, with which you can overlay one layer of video on top of another. In tandem with this extra track, Pinnacle has added chroma keying and picture-in-picture. The former allows you to remove a single background colour to cut the subject matter out and superimpose it on a different background. The latter resizes the overlay and positions it on top of the main track. Studio Plus also has more sophisticated image tools, allowing you to pan and zoom an image to create animated slide shows.
Although the basic Studio’s ease of use still makes it a credible choice for the absolute novice, the Plus version’s extra features make it the better option. Despite the extra cost, Pinnacle Studio Plus 9 has a lot more room to grow. But it can’t compete with Adobe Premiere Elements’ immense editing power for just £8 more.