Pinnacle Studio Plus 10

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Pinnacle Studio Plus 10

Pros

  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Too many crashes

Bottom Line

Studio Plus 10 is very easy to use, and you’d hardly wish for much more in features, especially given the low price. But it crashes far too often, even for a demanding video editing application.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)

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The launch of a new version of Pinnacle Studio is often followed by reports of program instability and crashes that take a hefty software update to sort out, and the latest version looks to be no different.

That's too bad, because this new $199 software program adds several unique and interesting features, including compatibility with high-definition recordings and the ability to import movies from non-copy-protected DVDs.

You can use Studio Plus 10 to import footage from camcorders that record in the high-definition HDV format. I imported captured HDV footage into the program, and could manipulate it almost as easily as standard-definition DV footage. You can also import the video object (VOB) files of DVD movies, as long as they aren't copy-protected, even preserving chapters. The application has the ability to import MPEG footage from DVD-based camcorders, as well.

Studio Plus 10 adds keyframing capability to all effects, letting you apply them over time. For example, you can implement a blur gradually and then dissipate it gradually. You can also apply keyframing to multiple effects independently. And this new version has a check box that tells the application to hide most - though not all - of its extra-cost effects, transitions, and codecs. In Studio Plus 9, it was too easy to click on one of these components accidentally, which would force you to wait while a browser window opened and tried to sell you an activation key for it.

The application creates a DVD pretty quickly from standard DV footage. I created similar 20-minute projects using Adobe Premiere Elements 2 and Studio Plus 10; Studio Plus took roughly an hour and a half to finish - about half the time that Premiere Elements needed.

A nice new feature lets you slow the playback of an audio track, but maintain its pitch; this can help you match the length of the audio to a too-short video clip. But other audio features don't work as well: if you apply fades to bring the volume up and then take it back down gradually, then adjust the length of the clip, Studio will delete the fades, requiring you to redo them. Pinnacle says it may change this in an update. Who said 'cut'?

We tried Studio Plus 10 on two different PCs and had major stability problems with it on both of them. Once, the program reported it had run out of memory (on a computer with 1GB of RAM), but hey, no worries - it said it would save my project. (It didn't.) Adding insult to injury: every time Studio Plus crashes, it plants a dialogue box in the middle of your screen that stays for 30 to 45 seconds, after which you must click a button to send or not send a crash report to Pinnacle. You can't dismiss the nagging dialogue box any earlier, you can't prevent it from showing up, and you can't restart the application until this routine is thoroughly completed.

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