Extremely competent, full-featured video editing package
Apr 24, 2010
Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Collection 14 is a BIG product. Not big in the sense that it is bloated with limited-use features or that it takes lots of resources, but big in that it has pretty much everything you might want in a video editor package. I've been trying it out for about two months now and still have just barely scratched the surface of what it can do.
First, I want to say that the software installed perfectly on my Windows 7 x64 system, and at no point did I encounter any errors, glitches or slowdowns. Everything just worked. If that sounds like faint praise, you should go look at my review of Roxio Creator 2010 and see how bad things can be. I do note that other reviewers had different experiences, but I can honestly say that I never saw a problem.
Video editing is the central focus, and the interface is complex but, once you get used to it, easy to use. There are separate timelines for video, audio, overlays and titles, music and sound effects. When you import a video from a device or a file, it can automatically detect scenes and display thumbnails of each. By default, each scene is individually selectable so you can move them around or delete them. You can split or combine scenes as desired. Most recently, I created a DVD from a TiVo recording of a neighbor's nephew who had appeared on a local newscast. It was short work to eliminate the unwanted scenes and add an animated DVD title screen with navigation buttons. Pinnacle provides a large assortment of pre-made title styles, or you can create your own. I did find the title editor a bit obtuse, but I'll also admit that I just barely skimmed the manual (yes, an actual, thick paper manual is included!) and didn't pay a lot of attention to the many tutorial videos on Pinnacle's web site. I then burned the DVD and that worked fine. Perhaps I missed it, but I would have appreciated the ability to make multiple copies of the DVD without re-rendering it each time.
Another feature I tried was creating a video album from photos. Perhaps it was my failure to read the manual, but I had some trouble with this. When I added the photos it set things so that each was displayed for a fixed amount of time. I wanted to lengthen that time for all photos but did not find a way to do that. I could, however, adjust the time for each individual photo. I could add transitions (dozens are provided) and there are also album templates with animations that add some fun to the viewing.
One feature I really enjoyed was the ability to automatically add a soundtrack from a wide variety of supplied music that was organized by "feel", could be adjusted in temp and would automatically adjust to the length of the presentation. I listened to many of these and thought they were great - and of course no worries about royalties.
When I ordered Pinnacle Studio, I saw that it included a "green screen" for use with "chroma-key" recording where you can superimpose a video of one object on top of another, like a TV weatherman. I had expected it to be a small, flimsy paper thing but was pleasantly surprised to find it cloth and of ample size. I was also pleased to see the ability to control a camcorder through Firewire, though that seems to be less relevant nowadays than in years past.
Pinnacle Studio comes with a sample project that demonstrates many of the product's features. It's well worth exploring, as are the tutorial videos. And, oh yes, read the fine manual!
I really liked Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Collection 14 and it is now my video editor of choice. It could be yours too.
This is my third iteration of Pinnacle Studio, having owned versions 11 and 12 as well. I also own and have used several other video editing packages running from high to low end. At the top of the low end range, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Collection 14 comes in as a solid five-star performer - if you are willing to tolerate some minor stability issues. For reasons I don't pretend to understand, all video editing programs seem to have stability issues to one degree or another. Sometimes I think I … more
Raise the bar with the ultimate tools to tell your story. Place your subject anywhere with the Chroma-key green screen included in the box. Add impact with a complete set of dynamic plug-ins. Now with a simpler interface and Avid professional film making technology, edit clear high definition video with new effects, motion timing. Dolby Digital 5.1 Then, share your masterpiece on DVD, the web and YouTube.