A good video-editing application is essential to get the best from your camcorder, even if you’ve splashed out on the fantastic Panasonic HDC-TM900. But choosing a program that provides an easy way to take your video footage from shoot to show relatively quickly isn’t a stress-free process. There is a deluge of video-editing applications on the market, all of which look completely different and have diverse ways of managing the editing process. Entry-level applications like Microsoft’s Windows Live Movie Maker and Apple’s iMovie get the job done in the easiest way, but you’ll be left wanting as your competency grows. This is where programs such as Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 step in?bridging the gap between consumer and professional. So what do you get for your money? Let’s find out?
Since we purchased the Panasonic HDC-TM900 camcorder for our new YouTube channel we’ve been testing almost every video-editing application available. CyberLink’s Power Director 9 Ultra 64 (£59.99) can’t be beaten for ease of use and Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 (£69.99) won’t disappoint users looking for the ultimate range of features, but we felt Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 (£55.86) offered the best balance of features and performance.
The first thing you notice about VideoStudio Pro X4 is its slick black interface, which is both approachable and practical. Not only is everything neatly organised but it is simple to find the information you are looking for. The timeline, in particular, makes it easy to apply transitions, titles and filters to the various tracks.
VideoStudio Pro X4’s presentation makes it a snap to import and manage media (including AVCHD files not only from your hard drive but from recording devices as well), cut together a production from templates and get creative with effects, music, titles, and transitions. You can also trim or split your video into sections for better continuity. Thankfully, VideoStudio Pro X4 utilises non-destructive editing, so no matter what you do to a video segment, the original is never cut or overwritten. More experienced users can even set up their workspace across dual monitors.
VideoStudio Pro X4’s new Stop Motion feature automates the traditional, time-consuming animation process, and the Time Lapse/strobe feature lets you create time-lapse effects from a series of photos or video clips?a fun tool for HD-DSLR photographers. In addition, you can create a 3D look from your 2D video (a pair of plastic 3D glasses is included in all boxed versions).
Audio editing is equally important for creating a great video. VideoStudio Pro X4 lets you add audio files to a project from your hard drive, from a CD, or by recording a voiceover clip. SmartSound Quicktracks is a really great way to add background music to your project. This royalty-free collection of music lets you adjust volume, trim and cut length, and stretch the duration to match your video. If you’ve not got access to freely distributable audio, SmartSound Quicktracks is a great way to add polish.
Similar to PowerDirector 9, VideoStudio Pro X4 makes is a breeze to output movies to DVD and Blu-ray Disc with the integrated disc creation tools. Improved Web sharing presets make it effortless to create video specifically for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Flickr in both HD and SD formats.
For more control, standard export formats include MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, AVCHD, WMV HD, RealMedia, Windows Media and QuickTime. Altruistic users can even share their own templates and effects with other VideoStudio Pro X4 users. Another neat feature is the way VideoStudio Pro X4 can gather your entire project?video, photo and audio files?into one password-encrypted folder, making transferring a project to another PC a simple process.
Performance is a really big deal regarding video-editing software and these types of programs are notoriously resource intensive. Even on our Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF (2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8700, 6GB memory, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 discrete graphics) we noticed sluggish performance on all the applications we tested?CyberLink’s PowerDirector 9 was considerably smoother thanks to its “TrueVelocity” CPU and memory optimisation technology. Having said that, VideoStudio Pro X4 was one of the better performing programs and we only experienced latency issues when working with 1080/50p recordings.
Whether you’re a new user or have a long-time passion for video editing, Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 offers an uncomplicated approach to movie making and makes the whole process fun. Boasting impressive effects and an uncomplicated interface, VideoStudio Pro X4 combines enough power and flexibility to satisfy all but professional video videographers. Corel’s flexible and cost effective licensing programmes?coupled with in-product training videos and solid network installation functionality?make VideoStudio Pro X4 an ideal choice for businesses’ needs.