Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Collection Version 14 Review

View the sample video here.

Pinnacle offers three versions of its Studio 14 product: Studio HD at $50, Studio Ultimate at $100 and the Studio Ultimate Collection at $130. Upgrade options include $70 (Ultimate) and $100 (Ultimate Collection). The full-boxed version of Ultimate Collection includes a Chroma-key green screen.

Pinnacle’s Studio 14 Ultimate Collection, reviewed here, combines a gentle learning curve with sophisticated functionality to provide a product that is sure to appeal to a wide range of users from beginners to serious enthusiasts.

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Where Do I Begin?

Studio 14 introduces a simplified interface paired with an effective guided tour that is available through the Help menu. Within minutes of completing the tour, most users will be able to begin importing and adding video to the timeline along with music, titles and effects. Also available is a sample project that allows the user to see the layout of the timeline and how the various elements fit together. For additional training, a number of video tutorials are available at http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/PinnacleLife.

To Tell The Story

Pinnacle Studio uses a three-step process via three tabs across the top of the work area: (1) Import, (2) Edit and (3) Make Movie. Video is imported from any number of sources including DV, HDV and AVCHD camcorders, as well as digital still cameras. Using scene detection, the various scenes within your footage are displayed in the album area.

In addition to video clips, a pictorial menu to the left of the album area allows for the display of transitions, montage themes, titles, photos and frame grabs, menus, sound effects and music. Any of these elements can be dragged into the timeline for editing. Once there, double-clicking opens up additional editing options. Selected clips may be grabbed at either side for lengthening or shortening. Unwanted clips may simply be selected and deleted. Placing the playhead in the desired location allows you to use the razor tool to cut the clip as desired.
You can even create template-based or custom menus. When you’re satisfied that your video is ready for distribution, click tab number three: Make Movie. You have a number of export options including AVI, Flash, QuickTime, MPEG-2 (DVD) and various portable media player formats.

How Great A Love Can Be

To its already impressive feature set Studio 14 has added a number of exciting new enhancements including motion titling, a myriad of new templates and designs, a complete set of Red Giant plug-ins (3D Stroke, Knoll Light Factory, Particular Studio, Shine Studio, ToonIt Studio and Magic Bullet Looks – an $1800 value), image stabilization and Stop Motion. Stop Motion is a fun feature that allows you to easily create amazing stop motion animations.

For an editing package in this price range, Pinnacle Studio 14 is surprisingly customizable, powerful, and with the addition of Stop Motion, an awful lot of fun too.

TECH SPECS

System Requirements

  • Windows® 7, Windows Vista® (SP2),Windows XP (SP3)
  • Intel® Pentium® or AMD Athlon™ 1.8 GHz (2.4 GHz or higher recommended) – Intel Core™ 2 or i7 2.4 GHz required for AVCHD (2.66 GHz for AVCHD 1920)
  • 1 GB system memory recommended, 2 GB required for AVCHD
  • DirectX® 9 or 10 compatible graphics card with 64 MB (128 MB or higher recommended) – 128 MB required for Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks Plug-in: Pixelshader 2 required, Intel GMA integrated graphics not supported. – 256 MB required for HD and AVCHD
  • DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card
  • 3.6 GB of disk space
  • DVD-ROM drive to install software


Accessories

  • CD burner for creating Video CDs or Super Video CDs (S-VCDs)
  • DVD burner for creating DVD and AVCHD discs
  • Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray discs
  • Sound card with surround sound output required for preview of surround sound mixes

Input Options

  • Capture from DV, HDV and Digital8 camcorders or VCRs (requires a FireWire port)
  • Capture from analog camcorders, 8 mm, Hi-8, VHS, SVHS, VHS-C, SVHS-C or VCRs (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) (requires Pinnacle or Dazzle video hardware)
  • Import from AVCHD and other file-based camcorders,
    digital still cameras, mobile devices and webcams via USB

Output Options

  • Output to DV, HDV or Digital8 tape (requires camcorder with FireWire Input port and a PC with a DV/FireWire port)
  • Output to analog videotape (requires DirectShow
    compatible device with video output)

Import Formats

  • Video: AVCHD, BD Blu-ray, DV, HDV, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2,
    DivX®, MPEG-4, 3GP(MPEG-4), WMV, Non-encrypted DVD
    titles (incl. DVD-VR/+VR), QuickTime® (DV, MPEG-4, H.264)
  • Audio: MP3, MPA, WAV, AC3, WMA
  • Graphic: BMP, GIF, JPG, PCX, PSD, TGA, TIF, WMF, PNG, J2K

Export Formats

  • AVCHD, BD Blu-ray, HD-DVD, DVD (DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R or DVD+RW, dual layer), S-VCD, Video CD (VCD)
  • Apple® iPod®, Sony® PSP/PS3, Nintendo® Wii,
    Microsoft® Xbox compatible formats
  • DV, HDV, AVI, DivX, RealVideo® 8, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Flash, 3GP, WAV, MP3, QuickTime® (SD format) files
  • Dolby® Digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel audio

Strengths

  • Gentle learning curve
  • Red Giant plug-ins add exceptional value
  • Stop Motion animation

Weaknesses

  • Still only two video tracks

Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Pinnacle Systems

280 N. Bernardo Ave.

Mountain View, CA 94043

www.pinnaclesys.com

$130 Full – $100 Upgrade

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