Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 offers a nice balance of features, user friendly functionality and price.
Props go to Corel for a nice job with their VideoStudio Pro X4 non-linear editing product. They have managed to combine solid editing features and a user-friendly look, feel and functionality, with a very reasonable price.
When you fire up VideoStudio Pro you are greeted by a central repository of "updates, info and extras" called the Corel Guide. Many times such features are merely an annoyance and one quickly searches for and executes the make-it-go-away-forever checkbox. In this case, however, the Corel Guide is actually quite useful. It's laid out with four tabs at the top: Home, Learn, Do More and Messages.
The Home tab displays a brief video showing us what's new in X4. The Learn tab houses 16 short instructional videos on everything from capturing and cutting your footage to how to do Timelapse and Stop Motion video. The Do More tab contains an abundance of downloadable templates, audio sources, titles and tools. Some may be downloaded for a fee, but the majority are free. The Messages tab lists any messages from the company and updates that are available.
The interface has an easy-on-the-eyes dark gray appearance and uses resizeable, dockable panels reminiscent of those found in Adobe Premiere Pro. Place your cursor in the space between two panels until it turns into a two-headed arrow, left click and drag up/down or left/right to shrink or expand any given panel and the adjacent panel will re-size itself accordingly. Need even more space? Left click on the series of tiny squares in the upper left corner of any panel and drag it onto a second monitor. When you're finished, pressing F7 on the keyboard sends it right back to its default configuration.
Three tabs in the Menu Bar say it all: Capture, Edit, Share.
Clicking Capture gets you right into the meat and potatoes of the editing process - getting your footage into your project. The timeline disappears and you are presented with a number of import and capture options. Capture Video allows you to select any video recording device connected to your system and capture your footage live, directly into VideoStudio. DV Quick Scan lets you scan and capture from DV tape. You can import files from digital media via a file browser window as well as import from your mobile devices.
Clicking Edit brings back the timeline and a library panel where files are held. Sorting options are limited to sorting by video files, audio files or picture files. From here files may be viewed in the preview window and trimmed using trim handles or in point/out point buttons. Once placed in the timeline, clips may be edited just as in other editing software programs. Right clicking on longer clips and selecting Multi-trim Video brings up a separate window which allows you to play the clip and set multiple in and out points on the fly. Click the appropriate button as the clip plays then click OK. On playback, you will see that all the unwanted material has been neatly trimmed away in one fell swoop.
Along the left margin of the library panel are buttons for accessing transitions, titles, graphic elements such as color mattes, objects, frames, flash animations and numerous effects filters. Once applied, the Options tab in the Library's lower right corner may be selected to reveal various properties that may be tweaked and prodded to achieve just the right result.
When finished, clicking Share reveals a plethora of output options including DVD authoring and burning.
In addition, Corel has included a few extra-cool features. Smart Package is one such feature that lets you bundle all the project's necessary files into a .zip file for transport and use on other computers. Time Lapse and 2D to 3D conversion capabilities are other fun options included in VideoStudio Pro X4.
Another very nice feature is Stop Motion video. It allows you to import still photos or capture directly from an attached recording device. When capturing live you can set it to auto capture and specify the image duration in number of frames captured, capture frequency and total duration. An adjustable onion skin feature allows you to see a transparent overlay of the previous frame to assist in proper placement of your subject.
Input/Output Device Support:
1394 FireWire cards for use with DV/Hi-8/HDV camcorders, Analog capture cards for analog camcorders, Analog and Digital TV capture devices
USB capture devices: Web cameras and disc/memory/hard drive camcorders. Windows-compatible Blu-ray, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM or CD-R/RW drive Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod classic with video, iPod touch, Sony PlayStation Portable, Pocket PC, smartphones
Input Format Support
Video: AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVCHD, MPEG-4, H.264, BDMV, DV, HDV, DivX, QuickTime, RealVideo, Windows Media Format, MOD (JVC MOD File Format), M2TS, M2T, TOD, 3GPP, 3GPP2
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, MP3, MPA, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media Audio
Images: BMP, CLP, CUR, EPS, FAX, FPX, GIF, ICO, IFF, IMG, J2K, JP2, JPC, JPG, PCD, PCT, PCX, PIC, PNG, PSD, PSPImage, PXR, RAS, RAW, SCT, SHG, TGA, TIF, UFO, UFP, WMF
Disc: DVD, Video CD (VCD), Super Video CD (SVCD)
Output Format Support
Video: AVI, MPEG-2, AVCHD, MPEG-4, H.264, BDMV, HDV, QuickTime, RealVideo, Windows Media Format, 3GPP, 3GPP2, FLV
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, MPA, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media Audio, Ogg Vorbis
Images: BMP, JPG
Disc: DVD (DVD-Video/DVD-R/AVCHD), Blu-ray Disc (BDMV)
Media: CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R Dual Layer, DVD+R Double Layer, BD-R/RE
- Very nice interface with dual monitor support for added screen real estate
- Smart Packaging to .zip file
- Stop Motion
- Multi-trim feature
- Limited search capabilities
- Limited keyframing capabilities
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Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R7 Canada
$80; Upgrade $50
Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.