VideoStudio 5.0 provides lots of simple tools, with strong support for DV camcorders and music soundtracks from audio CDs or MP3 files. If you have Win98SE or WinMe, and an OHCI FireWire card, you should be able to capture video with little effort.
Read the manual carefully for system optimisation, as you may need to change a few hard drive settings to avoid any video frames being dropped.
The program's user interface is almost childish, with wood grain backgrounds and rounded edges to help make the new user feel at ease. Unfortunately, the interface doesn't take full advantage of the computer screen, virtually halving the effective size of the monitor used.
A simple wizard-based editing process provides the new user with a satisfying video project with little fuss. Adding titles, effects, audio or transitions is a simple drag-and-drop affair. Support for MP3 and streaming video highlight the explosive growth of interest in delivering video over the Web.
You can record the final video back to tape, or watch it on a PC. The whole process from capturing to outputting the final video is divided into eight steps that can be accessed from the toolbar, so you can learn it quickly, even if you're a first-timer.
Finally, you can output your edited video in various formats, including popular ones like MPEG-2, AVI, MOV, ASF, RM, etc. The video can also be sent directly as an attachment through e-mail. Another neat feature lets you add your videos to an electronic greeting card.
New features such as scene detection capture and seamless capture (removing the 4GB capture limit) help make VideoStudio easier to work with. However, the PC has yet to see a true competitor to Apple's iMovie.
Ulead VideoStudio 5.0
Price: $248, upgrade $174
Phone: 1800 657 601