Corel Digital Studio 2010 Review

Corel’s Digital Studio 2010 combines photo and video editing, burning software and a video player to create a respectable suite of applications that should be well suited for the hobbyist or home user.

Centralized Launch

Once installed you will find the Corel Digital Studio Gadget now graces your desktop. The Gadget provides a centralized launch pad with easy, single button access, to each of the Digital Studio’s applications.

Consistent Interface

The Photo, Video and Burn buttons launch separate applications, each with a similar look and feel. Such consistency from application to application lessens the required learning curve while increasing user friendliness.

Each application’s interface opens with media assets displayed in the center. A menu, which includes Import, Create, Print and Share options, lies across the top. Media library and folder navigation stands along the left side of the interface. The media tray, where assets are dragged for various projects, lies across the bottom.

Studio is highly visual, utilizing sizeable thumbnails and fly out menus with large, colorful icons. In each case, export options include email as well as upload to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

Photo

Corel PaintShop Photo Express 2010 contains familiar tools used to straighten and crop photos and to fix red eye. There is a Quick Fix button designed to make adjustments automatically. Its purpose is to improve various aspects of the selected photo, however you will probably fare much better by using the slide out tool bar on the right of the interface and making the adjustments manually. Here you have control over brightness, shadow, highlight, saturation, sharpness, fill flash, edges, frames and several other correction tools.

I would like to see a few more effects included, however, as the application only contains black and white, sepia, antique and soft focus. You also have the option of adding limited metadata information and can rate your photos based on a one to five-star rating system.

Video

Corel VideoStudio Express 2010 allows you to create simple video projects with limited editing capabilities. You can trim or split your clips or take a snapshot if you like. The More Tools slide out tool bar lets you adjust the white balance and brightness, reduce noise and shake as well as add tags and view clip metadata. You have options to change styles, select and customize titles, add background music and record your own voiceover. The built-in moviemaker contains templates for a more professional look and does much of the work for you.

Burn

The suite’s burning application is Corel DVD Factory 2010. Media is imported from a wide array of sources and exported to audio, video or data backup discs. Additionally, your finished work may be copied to any of a number of external devices including Apple iPod and iPhone, Sony PSP, MP3 players and various mobile phones.

You can add chapters, move graphics around within the selected template, change title properties, select background music and even change template styles at any time. The Settings slide out tool bar allows you to select DVD-Video or AVCHD as your project format, normalize audio tracks, adjust the aspect ratio, choose NTSC or PAL, select the video quality and even choose between Dolby and LPCM as your audio format.


Play

Corel WinDVD 2010 plays video files with ease whether located on your DVD drive or your hard drive. It sports a menu across the top that allows you to play video from various locations, as well as access tools such as Bookmarks, Capture, Enhancements, DVD Title and Chapter information and an eject button.

Bookmarks is a welcome feature that allows you to mark a favorite spot on the timeline so you can easily return to it later. Capture lets you record portions of the video you are watching. Enhancements gives you control over playback device selection and settings, an equalizer, audio adjustments, color, various video enhancements and time stretching controls.

For the home user seeking an easy to use means of creating simple yet nicely polished photo and video projects Corel’s Digital Studio 2010 has a lot to offer. If you’d like to check it out you can hop on over to www.corel.com for a free trial.

Tech Specs

CPU: Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83 GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0 GHz or higher recommended

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, with latest service packs installed

System Memory: 1GB of RAM (2GB or higher recommended)

Video Memory: 128MB VGA VRAM or higher (256MB recommended)

Hard Disk Drive: 4GB of free hard drive space

Monitor: 1024 x 768 minimum display resolution

Sound: Windows compatible sound card

Optical Drive: Windows compatible DVD-ROM for installation, recordable DVD drive required for creating DVDs

Internet connection required for online features
Online Printing services are available in select countries only and subject to additional charges.

Strengths

  • Desktop gadget for centralized launching of included applications
  • Easy-to-use interface, consistent across applications
  • Nice templates for photo, slideshow and movie projects
  • Video playback bookmarking feature

Weaknesses

  • Does not support Blu-ray
  • Few photo effects

SUMMARY

Understandably lacking in higher end features Corel Digital Studio 2010 contains a nice mix of options for the home photo/video enthusiast.

Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Corel Inc.

385 Ravendale Drive

Mountain View, CA 94043

www.corel.com

$100

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