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Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 Video Editing Software Review

Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 Video Editing Software Review

Edit Easy... It's interesting that editing software of all levels has gained features unimaginable even a couple of years ago, while becoming easier to use at the same time. This is the case with Corel VideoStudio Pro X2. For a lot of quick editing jobs, there's really not much this program can't do.

Edit Easy

It's interesting that editing software of all levels has gained features unimaginable even a couple of years ago, while becoming easier to use at the same time. This is the case with Corel VideoStudio Pro X2. For a lot of quick editing jobs, there's really not much this program can't do.

There is also a non-Pro version of VideoStudio X2, which will set you back $70. It limits you to 2 overlay tracks, 2 video tracks (the Pro version has 7 video tracks) and stereo Dolby Digital creation capabilities (Pro includes a 5.1 Creator license and full surround panner). It forgoes Blu-ray Disc, 3GP/3GPP, MPEG-4, H.264, Smartphone, Pocket PC/iPod/PSP and Nokia phone export capabilities. It also excludes some NewBlue video effects and a freebie copy of WinDVD 8 Silver.

With Corel's purchase of InterVideo (and the previous purchase of Ulead by InterVideo), VideoStudio is now the only current video editing title that is offered by Corel. While MediaStudio Pro 8 is still available for purchase, it does not work with Windows Vista, and Corel has scheduled no new versions for future release.

Getting Started

VideoStudio Pro installation is relatively painless. Our test system's hard drive had about 1.2GB of disk space taken up by the software itself, by SmartSound QuickTracks and by Windows Media Encoder.

When you first launch VideoStudio Pro, you are greeted by a welcome screen that gives you a choice between the main VideoStudio Editor, the Movie Wizard (an automatic editing program that automatically edits a video together to music), and the DV-to-DVD Wizard, which allows you to quickly convert a DV tape to DVD.

Your Toolkit

We started editing with some sample footage from an unencrypted DVD, Hitachi Blu-ray Disc camcorder and a Panasonic AVCHD camcorder. With any of these formats, it's as simple as opening the File menu and selecting Insert Media File to either Timeline or Library. Going to the timeline is the best choice if you want to use a clip within only one specific project, but we'd recommend going to the library with any clips that you might want to use again. The reason is in the next paragraph.

VideoStudio Pro includes a Smart Proxy feature that is very useful (particularly if you have a slower computer). SmartProxy will create a proxy file (a conversion of the HD file that is easier for less-powerful machines to handle) automatically upon the first use of an asset, if needed. If you have brought your media files into the library, the proxy file will stay available to other projects, saving you negligible time but a significant number of disk accesses and CPU resources the next time the clip is used, since the program won't create another proxy file. However, after you have been using Smart Proxy for a while, you'll find that it has taken up a lot of disk space with proxy files. There is a proxy file manager on hand that also tracks the last proxy file that you used, so you can clean up your proxy files relatively easily as a matter of routine computer maintenance.

If you're finding yourself needing to convert video from analog formats, you'll appreciate the many remastering features. There is automatic color and tone correction, a de-blocking filter for use with overly-compressed sources and a de-snow filter for use with very old analog sources.

A full slate of transitions is available at your disposal. You access the NewBlue Film Effects (unique to the VideoStudio Pro version) through the Video Filter submenu.

We found that it is very easy to apply overlays. It's simply a matter of laying tracks down in the second video track, known as the overlay track.

You can also trim clips easily by clicking and dragging the handles on the clips or by clicking the in and out point buttons to set your edit points.

There's a ton of very polished title presets, and it's a simple matter to change your font or text, once on the title section of the timeline, by simply double-clicking the timeline window.

Clicking on the speaker icon (next to the storyboard and timeline icons) allows you to see your audio waveform. It is a simple matter to lay down multiple audio tracks and markers to time an edit out to the beat.

We had a lot of fun with the Painting Creator, which allows you to draw a simple animation over a frame, then let the program do the animation. It's fun, but we're not sure that everyone will be able to find a use for it.

Audio enthusiasts will enjoy the full 5.1-channel panner. If your computer has 5.1-channel audio hardware, you'll have a lot of fun creating your perfect mix. The tools are on the basic side compared to some of what we've seen (it's designed for steering one set of stereo audio tracks around the surround-sound stage and not for placing multiple audio sources around the same stage). On the same note, you can also use the included SmartSound Auto Music Maker and a few provided audio tracks to automatically compose a music score, perfectly timed out for your production.

Out to the World

YouTube, the granddaddy of video-sharing sites, is supported natively. To upload your video, it's as simple as rendering the video, typing in your YouTube username and password, agreeing not to upload copyrighted content, describing your video and assigning tags. Then the upload commences.

The MPEG Optimizer option under Create Video File analyzes the video that you've used and recommends the most efficient settings. In our test with Blu-ray Disc clips, we found that there aren't quite as many options as we had expected, but there's still a bit of room for tweaking.

For what it is, Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 is a basic but surprisingly powerful video editor. There's definitely enough here to get started, and there's certainly enough to keep almost everyone's interest, although we know that those who edit video for a living will likely be left wanting more. This is accessible software that happens to do quite a bit.

TECH SPECS

CPU: SD/proxy HD - P4 or Athlon XP or higher; non-proxy HD - 3GHz-class processor
OS: Windows XP SP2 or higher; Windows Vista (32- or 64-bit)
RAM: SD/proxy HD - 512MB (1GB recommended); non-proxy HD - 1GB (2GB recommended)
Other Hardware: Sound card, DVD drive
Device Support: FireWire, analog capture cards, analog and digital TV tuners, USB capture devices, PC cameras, Blu-ray Disc and DVD burners

Strengths

  • Very easy to use
  • Support for recent formats
  • Easy to share projects by disc or YouTube

Weaknesses

  • Not quite as much control as a higher-end package

SUMMARY

An extremely approachable and surprisingly powerful video editing application.

Charles Fulton is Videomaker's Technical Editor.

Corel Corporation
1600 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R7
Canada
www.corel.com
$100

Tags:  December 2008
Charles
Fulton
Mon, 12/01/2008 - 12:00am