Effects and transitions
VideoStudio comes with a wide range of effects and transitions that can liven up your project. To browse through the available options, use the drop-down menu to select an effect type, and animated thumbnails will appear in the library pane.
When you find the one you want, drag it from the library and drop it on the clip you want to apply it to. Transitions are dropped on the space between two adjacent clips, while effects and filters are applied to the clip directly.
When you do this, the left-hand pane will show various options like presets or customisation tools that let you play with the way the effect works.
You can apply multiple effects to a single clip (called "stacking") by deselecting the "Replace last filter" option (see Figure 3), but bear in mind that excessive effects can ruin a good project and will slow down the preview due to the extra processing required.
You can add picture-in-picture (PIP) effects by dragging clips onto the overlay video track, and VideoStudio 8 lets you add background music from music files or audio CDs. You can also record your own narrative track - assuming you have a microphone handy - and use the Title editor view to add titles, subtitles or even opening/closing credits to your work.
When you've got your work looking the way you want, click on the Share button to bring up the export options. As mentioned, this version doesn't support DVD export, but you can create a VideoCD that virtually all DVD players and PCs can play back.
Like a DVD, a VideoCD has an opening menu, which lets the viewer skip to chapter points within the project.
Clicking on the Create Disc option will start the VCD creator (see Figure 4), where you can add your whole project or individual clips, as well as selecting chapter points. There's a range of preset menus to choose from, and you can customise them with different background images or music. The next stage lets you preview the disc, and when you're happy with it, you can burn as many copies to CD as you like.
Not just for video
Even if you don't have a video camera, you can use VideoStudio 8 SE VCD to create a montage of digital photos that you can give to others to watch on their TV.
Click on Edit, select Image from the library pane's drop-down menu, then click on the folder icon and browse to the images you want to use in your montage.
Construct your sequence by dragging the image thumbnails down onto the timeline in the order that you want them to appear. You can add effects, titles and transitions in the same way you would with video clips, and the rotation tool (it appears in the left-hand pane when you have an image selected) can be used to quickly turn portrait images the right way up.
You can also add motion to your stills by using VideoStudio's Pan and Zoom tool. Select the image you want to apply this effect to and click on Pan & Zoom in the left-hand pane, then Customise Pan and Zoom to bring up the custom settings window.
Here, you can see start, middle and end points for pan and zoom settings, as well as previewing your effect before returning to the timeline. Just bear in mind that slow, controlled pans are much more effective here - too much speed will make your montage difficult to watch.