Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12
Feature for feature, Studio Ultimate 12 gives you more tools than any other video editor, but some problems detract from its versatility.
- Many features for the money, Easy to learn
- Minor instability, Sometimes sluggish
Studio Ultimate 12 has more features than any other consumer-level video editor, but I still prefer Adobe Premiere Elements 4 because of its more elegant interface and superior stability. (That product doesn't yet support AVCHD editing, however.)
Price$ 129.99 (AUD)
Standard-definition video is going the way of the HD DVD player — or is it? TVs have gone high-def in a big way, but YouTube and other online venues continue to serve standard definition. Pinnacle's Studio Ultimate 12 video-editing software tries to maximise its appeal by adding Blu-ray disc, Flash video and direct-to-YouTube support.
The previous version of Studio Ultimate let users import footage in the Advanced Video Codec High Definition (AVCHD) and High Definition Video (HDV) formats, and create HD-DVD discs. Studio Ultimate 12 drops HD-DVD in favor of Blu-ray Disc authoring, with tools that include animated menus. The basic version of Studio does not support AVCHD or HDV importation; the more expensive Plus and Ultimate versions do. Studio performed sluggishly with AVCHD files on both systems that I used with it.
The first Blu-ray discs I created wouldn't play in an older Blu-ray player, but they worked fine in a newer model, the Panasonic DMP-30K. The reason: The newer player recognised discs burned in AVCHD format, whereas the older one didn't; you can, however, change Studio Ultimate's settings to create discs for older models of Blu-ray players.
Studio Ultimate 12 lets you export videos directly to YouTube. Studio 11 supported Yahoo Video or Pinnacle's own video-sharing site; though you can upload to Yahoo with Studio 12, uploading to Pinnacle's site is no longer an option. The YouTube uploads have just one quality setting — which is understandable, since YouTube has a single upload setting.
Once they're uploaded to YouTube, however, you can view clips in "high quality" or "standard quality". I've found that, the higher the quality before I upload videos, the better the YouTube-compressed versions turn out to be. My best results came when I uploaded a high-quality Flash video to YouTube.
A new feature, Pinnacle Montage, provides 11 themes and 80 templates that you can use to add effects such as menus of moving frames with video, animated text, and graphics. Some of the Montage options are snazzy, but few of them allow any customisation. For example, you can specify multiple moving frames, but you can't alter the frames' dimensions, and you can't adjust how quickly they appear and disappear.
Three new plug-in packages included with Studio Ultimate 12 confer varying benefits. The proDAD VitaScene plug-in contains a ton of neat transitions — blurs, spins, and so on — along with at least as many effects as the main Studio application has.
The Magic Bullet LooksBuilder SE plug-in has many powerful settings for customising the way clips look; but it doesn't let you set key frames, so you can't set points in the video to use in timing the intensity of an effect. And since you can't set an effect to strengthen gradually (for example), the effects sometimes produce rather amateurish results. (The plug-in requires a powerful graphics card to work: You can't install LooksBuilder SE on a system that relies on integrated graphics.)
Boris Graffiti, the third new plug-in, is designed for adding moving titles; its preset titles worked fine, and it has an extremely complex advanced mode for setting key frames. Unfortunately, you must use whatever interface the plug-ins require, rather than Studio's standard interface — so that's three different tools you have to learn. I would have much preferred that the tools be built into Studio itself.
A small but welcome new feature: If your designated drive runs out of space while you're outputting content to it, you can pause the operation. Regrettably, you can't pause output for such purposes as to check your e-mail without screwing things up — unlike with Corel VideoStudio 11. Though I experienced a few crashes with Studio 12, the application seemed more stable for me than past versions.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Synology DiskStation DS215j NAS device
- 2 Fitbit Charge wireless activity tracker
- 3 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 4 B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker
- 5 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Google Now adds data from Lyft, Airbnb and many more apps
- Outlook app for Android and iOS boosts Microsoft's mobile comeback
- MIT randomizes tasks to speed massive multicore processors
- NEC aims at Big Data 'sweet spot' with new SAP Hana tool
- Uber will fight to keep its Boston ride data private
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.