Magix Gets Serious
The low-cost video editing software market has really been heating up in the past year or so, resulting in a plethora of low-cost, full-featured video software packages. Case in point: Magix Movie Edit Pro 10, a rich, well-rounded solution that costs about as much as a newly minted video game. Magix clearly intends to corner the worldwide low-cost video editing market with Movie Edit Pro 10, and our first look indicates they might just have a winner on their hands. Pro 10 includes storyboard and timeline editing, CD/DVD creation, slideshow software, a well-organized interface and excellent built-in tutorial options. This product will do almost everything a hobbyist video editor would ever want to do, while leaving plenty of room for the Adobes, Avids and Apples of the world to take up the slack when it’s time to grow into the professional realm.
Start It Up
To test Movie Edit Pro 10, we installed the software on our test Pentium 4 computer with a 2.8 GHz processor, 1GB RAM and an ATI Radeon 9800 video display card. Movie Edit Pro 10 comes with 2 CDs: a Program CD-ROM and a Content CD with an archive of video and audio material you can use in your productions. Installation was a bit time-consuming, and resulted in one easily recovered crash. Total time required setting up the software, crash and recovery included, was about 40 minutes.
After installation, two new program shortcuts appear on your desktop: one for Movie Edit Pro 10, and another for Magix’s Media Manager 2004 Silver software. The latter is a limited edition version of Media Manager Platinum, a sort of cross between a full-featured file player, photo album software, disc burner and uber-iTunes knockoff, complete with a music editor and a gigantic list of Internet radio stations.
Movie Edit Pro has many helpful tutorials and other explanatory features that will make this multi-function software easier to understand.
Let the Editing Begin
Movie Edit Pro 10 offers both Storyboard and Timeline-based editing, and functions in a way that’s similar to many low-cost editing applications. One nice function in Storyboard mode is the Text button. This brings up the titler, which comes with dozens of preset movements and a few simple options for text fonts, styles, colors, and movements. The FX button brings you to the effects screen, which has endless options and dozens more basic presets for warping, stretching, manipulating color, adjusting transparency, creating simple composites and otherwise visually distorting your images (This screen is the most fun part of Movie Edit Pro 10). The Transitions button gives an easy way to load one of 170 standard transitions between your clips, or create your own by combining them.
Up to 16 tracks are available in the Timeline view. Each can hold either mono or stereo audio, still images, or video. From the Timeline view, you can easily access the program’s audio filters and the program’s handy Audio Mixer. Also found in the Timeline view are tools for adding chapter points to videos that you plan to export to DVD.
In both Timeline and Storyboard view, buttons along the top of the screen offer easy access to some basic features, the first five (New Movie, Load Movie, Save Movie, Save All and Program Settings) are fairly self-explanatory. The next four, (Open Song Wizard, Magix Movie Show Maker, Open Story Maker and Scene Overview) deserve some detailed attention, as they offer some of the best features that the software has to offer.
The first, Open Song Wizard, will only work if you have the Content CD, or another of Magix’s Soundpool CDs, loaded in the CD drive. This feature mixes up a random song for your video by selecting from a number of Drum, Bass, Harmony and Melody tracks in the style you specify. The Movie Edit Pro 10 package only comes with DanceHouse and Reggae styles, but DVDs with over 10,000 tracks each in a wide variety of styles are available from Magix at $30 each.
Next is the Magix Movie ShowMaker button, which offers a five-step wizard-style approach to making a video–just load your clips, select one of 15 styles, select a background audio track, decide how long you want your movie to be, and select a frequency for transition effects, click Apply and the software builds a video for you. While videos created with the Movie Show Maker tend to have a “canned” appearance, the software is a good place for beginners to start making videos with just a few mouse clicks.
The Story Maker isn’t what we expected at all; rather than a storyboard tool, as its name suggests, it’s another, more “manual” take on creating video effects. Tools for clip movement, color controls, titling and other effects are found here.
The Scene Overview offers a simple, pared-down version of a storyboard, which you can use to easily cut and re-arrange the shots in your video.
The CD/DVD tab at the top of the screen brings you to the DVD authoring screen, which offers a simple, elegant way to create your own simple DVD menus or use one of the numerous menu templates provided. It’s not the most sophisticated DVD authoring tool around, but as an added feature for a low-cost video editing package, it’s very impressive.
The list of features that Magix Movie Maker 10 includes goes on, but there are only so many words we can devote to this product. Suffice it to say that no video editing software has ever offered so many features for so little money, period. It can’t compete with professional video editing products, but in the realm of the hobbyist, Magix Movie Maker 10 is a winner, no doubt about it.
Trial Version Available: No
Operating System: Windows 98/SE/Me/2000/XP
Minimum CPU: 450 MHz
Minimum RAM: 128 GB
Minimum Hard Drive Space for Installation: 1 GB
Batch Capture: Yes
Automatic Scene Detection: Yes
User Interface: Timeline or Storyboard
Number of Video Tracks: 16 (shared with audio)
Number of Audio Tracks: 16 (shared with video)
Nesting Tracks: No
Audio/Video Level Envelopes: No
Audio Scrub: No
Keyframe Animation: No
Number of Video Transitions: 170
Number of Video Filters: 25
Background Rendering: Yes
Realtime Software Previews: Yes
Optimized for Dual Processor HyperThreading: No
Third-party Plug-in Support: No
Encoding Formats: AVI, DV AVI (type 1 and 2),MPEG 1 and 2, WMV 9, WMVHD, MOV, MXV; DivX and MPEG-4 with installed codec only. Imports VOB, HDV,
HDTV, DVB and MJPEG streams.
Batch Render: No
DVD Authoring Software Included: Yes
- Many features for the money
- Nice interface
- More video/audio tracks than most low-cost editors
- Crashed once on install
A very impressive set of features for $60; a great deal for video hobbyists.
Joe McCleskey is a multimedia producer and freelance writer.
$60 boxed price
$49 ESD price
1680 Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Miami Beach, FL 33130