Editing software can try your patience. You ask the software to import your footage and it responds by having you pick from a list of 100 formats with six or seven different flavors each. Inexperienced people usually have one of two reactions: they gradually overcome frustration and learn a lot more than they ever wanted or, more commonly, quit and share their horror story with friends and family. If you’re looking for an easy video editing existence less focused on the nuts and bolts, VideoStudio Ultimate X6 is a great option to consider.
Installation is low fuss. Tell it where to install and you’re pretty much along for the ride. Starting it up for the first time, you likely won’t ask “what do all these buttons do?” The interface is simple and clean; the icon labels are by no means cryptic. There’s a preview pane, a library pane and the timeline on the bottom, which is changeable to a storyboard layout for those so inclined.
Three buttons along the top guide the video process through three steps: capture, edit and share. The capture options cover the basic import sources from DV cameras, importing from file, to a stop motion feature and a screen capture option.
This last feature allows you to capture real-time video of stuff displayed on your monitor. Say you’d like to demonstrate how to create amazing website graphics in your favorite painting program: this feature can help you with that.
Importing from other sources is relatively hassle-free. A good amount is auto-detected and there are options settings available for capture setups that require more customization. Importing footage from your DV camera is as simple as queuing up your tape and capturing it onto your computer.
To the Editing Bay
The editing phase is perhaps where you’ll find the most options. Added to the usual titles, filters and other features is a motion tracking feature. It allows graphics and titles to utilize motion paths for more organic animations.
Perhaps one of the best features is the absence of a render bar. Footage sources vary between DV, JPEGs and video files and can all coexist on the same timeline. There is an ever-so-slight delay in starting playback that increases as the project gets more complicated, but it’s relatively small.
There’s a neat little professional feature when dealing with audio gain envelopes. This allows you to adjust audio levels on-the-fly and the settings are automatically keyframed and applied.
The setup of the timeline in VideoStudio Ultimate X6 avoids missing or flash frames by keeping content snapped together. Swapping order is not a problem, but this limits pushing video further down the timeline. Advanced editors might find this frustrating but it’s a good feature for beginners, one that minimizes accidental goofs between clips.
Showing the World
Exporting takes place in basically eight buttons. You can create a video file, sound file, record the project back onto DV tape, create a basic DVD export or upload to the internet all from inside the program. It even includes presets for creating a file specifically for displaying on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and more. There are options for tweaking if your project requires a custom export setting, but generally a lot of work is done to make sure you don’t get buried in codecs, frame rates and aspect ratio settings.
Starting the Journey
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X6 is a great program for beginners, enthusiasts and will continue to be relevant at intermediate levels. It keeps things simple, letting you focus more on what you’re making than how you’re going to make it. The learning curve is a gradual slope that will get new editors going fairly quickly. Unlike advanced editing packages, it doesn’t expect you to already know what you’re doing. In this case, less frustration translates into more fun editing.
Company info and pricing:
385 Ravendale Drive
Mountain View, CA 94043
Company: Corel Corporation
Title: VideoStudio Ultimate X6
Trial Version: Yes (Pro version only)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8/7/Vista/XP with latest service packs installed (32-bit or 64-bit editions)
Minimum CPU: Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz Processor or AMD Dual Core 2.0 GHz Processor (Intel Core i5 or i7 Processor, or AMD Phenom II X4 or X6 Processor recommended)
Minimum RAM: 2GB (4GB of RAM or higher and 1GB of VRAM or higher recommended
Minimum Hard Drive Space for Installation: 1.5GB
Video Formats: 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 Formats: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, MP3, MPA, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media Audio, Ogg Vorbis
Automatic Scene Detection: Yes
Nesting Tracks: No
Audio/Video Level Envelopes: Yes
Audio Scrub: Yes
Keyframe Animation: Yes
Number of Video Transitions: 150
Number of Video Filters: 78
Real-time Software Previews: Yes
Video Encoding Formats: AVI, MPEG-2, AVCHD, MPEG-4, H.264, BDMV, HDV, QuickTime, RealVideo, Windows Media Format, 3GPP, 3GPP2, WebM
Audio Encoding Formats: Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, MPA, M4A, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media Audio, Ogg Vorbis
Easy to understand interface
Streamlined importing and sharing
Simplified features may frustrate advanced editors