Serif MoviePuls X3 Video Editing Software Review

Serif MoviePlus x3

Editing for newbies can be a headache. Shortcuts are hard to understand, simple tasks seem difficult, and advanced techniques are just plain impossible. Enter Serif’s MoviePlus X3, an entry level editing program that just makes it plain old easy! With its tutorials, innovative design and free-thinking customization Serif makes editing fun again.

Tutorials, Timeline & Functions

Unlike previous editions of MoviePlus, which were considered to be a bit troublesome amongst novices, this version is as user friendly as it gets. Everything from designing DVDs, to adding video effects is very easy and doesn’t require an insane amount of editing experience to use.

In addition to introducing the new Storyboard mode and tutorials, the user interface has undergone a major revamp to put the controls you need right where you need them, and to give fast access to cool preset styles and effects.

The first thing we noticed that separated MoviePlus X3 from the pack were the tutorials (which Serif calls the How To pane) located to the left of the page. Everything that we had questions about had an answer by simply scrolling through the tutorials. Confusion takes so much time away from the editing process, especially when it comes to beginners. Being able to get past all the kinks right away saved time and we found it extremely helpful.

The addition of a storyboard will simplify the editing process for first time users. It makes cutting clips and lining them up all a click and drag process, which we liked. Adding images, video, titles with transitions and effects all set to an audio track, took only a few minutes.

Also new to MoviePlus X3 were the improved Pan and Zoom controls, which made creating things like the Ken Burns effect very easy as well as eliminating shaky shots. We simply clicked Transform and moved our markers to the beginning and end of the clip and we’re off.

The ability to add effects to our clips gave us a nice selection of options to choose from. The old movie effect in particular stood out. We liked the additional customization that we could add to each effect afterwards. Being able to fine tune them made the effects feel more unique. We could also use a green screen with relative ease after applying the chromakey effect, making advanced effects easy for novices.

To create crossfades we simply dragged one clip onto the end of another and just moved the second clip further up to extend them. A very intuitive way to create a fade in between clips. Trimming is just as easy, as you click the beginning or end of a clip and drag it left or right to extend it. We were also able to add text to our clips, and we were surprised at how well the animated text options worked in our favor. We could create very smooth looking text animations that looked quite professional without much effort.

We were able to add text with ease with a ton of choices on animation or simply adding basic titles.

Formats and DVDs

Exporting options were easy every step of the way. Using the new stylish menu designs and layouts made creating DVDs a fun process. Options were available for additional customization, including animated backgrounds and buttons.

MoviePlus X3 offered plenty of preset options including exporting as an MPEG-4 file to go directly to our iPods & PSPs. Users can upload directly to YouTube by exporting as an FLV file, which is a nice feature since formats, codecs and files can be terribly confusing to many beginners.

For those moving into the digital age, MoviePlus X3 is HD-Ready, which means that users can edit AVCHD files with it. The downside here is when it comes to creating discs, the highest quality it can export is to standard DVD.

It’s easy to rip music from CDs with the Add Media option, you merely check the ones you want, uncheck the ones you don’t want, and, voil!

Final Thoughts

The underlying theme of this review has been ease of use. Serif’s MoviePlus X3 is one of the most intuitive user-friendly programs that we have seen in some time. Everything from trimming clips, to ripping CDs or creating DVDs seemed to flow with ease. The last thing that you want is to be stressed out when trying to edit video. MoviePlus X3 lowered the anxiety level, and managed to make it fun to learn while we worked. There is so much that can be done with this program that it feels more advanced than the average piece of editing software out there. The advanced mechanics of an Adobe Premiere were here, with the ease of an entry-level program, which is why we liked MoviePlus X3 so much. At only $80, Serif’s MoviePlus X3 is one of the best “bang for the buck” programs out there. No ifs, ands, or buts.


TECH SPECS

Specs

OS: Windows XP/Vista

Min. RAM: 256MB, 1GB recommended

HDD Space Required for Software Installation: 382MB

Formats Supported: Analog capture card; DV25; DVD Camcorder; HDV; AVCHD

Workflow

Batch Capture: No

User Interface: Storyboard, timeline

Nesting Tracks: Yes

A/V Level Envelopes: Yes

I-Frame Editing of MPEG Files: No

Surround Panner: No

Audio Scrub: No

Live capture from Mic: Yes

Video Scopes: No

Effects/Rendering

Keyframe Animation: Yes

Background Rendering: Yes

VST Audio Plug-In Support: Yes

Video Effect Plug-In Support: No

Chromakeying: Yes

Output

MPEG-2 Encoding: Yes

MPEG-4 Encoding: Yes

Audio Output Formats: PCM, Dolby Digital 2.0

Batch Render: No

Disc Authoring Software Included: DVD

Direct upload to sites: YouTube

Strengths

  • Intuitive
  • Customizing options normally not so advanced
  • Exporting is sooooo easy

Weaknesses

  • Titles need more customization

SUMMARY

Serif MoviePlus X3 is a an all around entry level editing program for those who want to make professional looking videos and take their projects to the next level.

Tom Skowronski is Videomaker‘s Associate Editor.

Serif, Inc.

13 Columbia Dr., Unit 5

Amherst, NH 03031

www.serif.com

Price: $80 (physical or download; no trial version available)

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