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.

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Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12
  • Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12
  • Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12
  • Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5
  • User Rating

    5.00 / 5 (of 1 Review)

Pros

  • Many features for the money, Easy to learn

Cons

  • Minor instability, Sometimes sluggish

Bottom Line

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.)

Would you buy this?

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.

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Michael

5.0

1

Pros
Studio 12
Cons
Studio 12
• • •

The best Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate ever made by Pinnacle/Avid, even way better that the now Corel Pinnacle Studio 17 Ultimate. Studio 12 is so easy to work, easy for the eyes and easy to see the clear concise details it offers and the Interface is even way better than those ugly dark grey, small icons, buttons and text from Pinnacle Studio 17 Interface. Pity they had to change something that was liked by many because those designers think that Video editing software have to be grey to be accepted in this funeral style world. Even other video and music editing software companies are opting to this pathetic dark screen design with tiny links, text and icons that are so difficult to guide the cursor on them and click the left mouse first time. You have to be accurate and not miss the small links, buttons, Icons and or straining your eyes trying to read the small text. Studio 12 has larger buttons, Tabs, icons under the text video (on right side of screen) and the storyline is easy to work on compared to Studio 17 where it has a two tone colour and the sound bar-graph is absolutely difficult to work on. Even the fade in or out are useless. You have to peel the video clip to get the fading, and then you have to test the video often to see if the fading is right or wrong. In Pinnacle Studio 12, the transition are manually managed by number. And no matter how much you try with Pinnacle Studio 17, you're still slower than when you used Pinnacle Studio 12. And the video in Studio 12 is smoother than Studio 17 when testing the video while editing. plus the dragging of clips on the storyline is way faster on Pinnacle Studio 12 than studio 17 which is sluggish and time consuming. Studio 12, like past Studios, 9-10-11, hardly crashes but it is a little slow to render the complete film. Other than that it is, like 9-10- and 11, an excellent software. I have used Studio 9 and I admit it was really a nice program but lacked a lot of effects. Studio 10 and 11 were exactly the same except it had more effects. But Studio 12 had more effects and montages. I will give Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate 5 stars and Studio 17 Ultimate 1 star.

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