Pinnacle Studio 10.0

Video-editing used to be the exclusive preserve of chaps called Colin, who sported wispy beards and velvet jackets whilst operating analogue editing machines. One of the many benefits of the digital media revolution is that anyone with a camcorder and a PC can make movies. And with software as good as Studio 10.0 and Studio Plus 10.0, there's no excuse for shoddy results.

Version 10.0 has much to live up to: Studio 9.0 won an Oscar-winning reputation among amateur auteurs. Version 10.0 comes in two flavours: Studio is for 'entry-level storytellers' - Pinnacle's own words - while Plus includes extra features such as picture in picture, chroma-key effects and full HD (high-definition) editing.

All iterations of Studio enjoy an uber-intuitive three-window interface. If you've never edited video you'll be surprised at how simple it is to import and tidy up clips. Using the storyboard window, it's then a cinch to sling together a coherent project.

There are loads of transitions to play with. Pushed for time? Select a themed transition pack - weddings and sporting events included - and let the software guide you.

Special effects are also catered for. Want to make Dad's birthday video sepia-tinted to remind him of his lost youth? Easy. Need to suggest to the wife that it's time to hit the gym? If a subtle mixture of home footage and the earthquake effect fail to get results, nothing will. (We accepts no responsibility for injuries incurred as a result of following this suggestion.)

Studio's colour correction and image-stabilisation facilities are excellent, and the audio-editing tools, er, sound. Finally, you get a healthy bundle of DVD-authoring options.

Verdict: Professional editors will find Studio Plus slightly limiting, but there is much to enjoy here for the home user. It's powerful, affordable and an absolute breeze to use.

Price: $149.95

System requirements: 1.4GHz processor (2.4GHz recommended); Windows XP; 512MB RAM; DirectX 9 or higher graphics card with 32MB; DirectX 9 or compatible sound card; DVD drive; 500MB hard disk space

Rating: 4.5/5

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