Video Editing: Pinnacle Studio Plus 12

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pinnacle_studio_12_plusWith the number of video editing suites available, it needn't be difficult to edit up your favorite clips for presentation.  The difficulty is choosing which suite to adapt in the first place.  Pinnacle Studio has been the choice for many users with varying skill levels and has been traditionally the easiest to get to grips with.  We were very glad to be given the chance to review the lastest incarnation of Pinnacle Studio Version 12.

Pinnacle Studio 12 comes in three variants: Basic, Plus and Ultimate with each one tailored to individual skill levels and requirements.  The basic version, however, lacks supports for any HD formats, so HD video is out of the question in any format.  The difference between the two more expensive versions really boils down to the bundled add-ons included.  The Ultimate version comes complete with a plug-in for Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding and additionally ProDAD VitaScene, Red Giant Software Magic Bullet Looks and Boris Graffiti to give even more options for editing up video.  The latest addition (available in all three versions of the software) is Pinnacle montage, which adds the ability to create multi-track effects.  The Pinnacle Studio interface is tab based with a clearly determined workflow system to Capture, Edit and Make Video (publish video).

The intial tab (capture) as the name suggests allows the capturing of video from any video source (either DV or mpeg), which simply involves connecting up the camcorder (mini DV in our case) and starting the capture.  The software will even automatically define clips if you use the SmartMovie option.

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Video can then be fully edited and manipulated through use of a drag and drop timeline that really simplifies the whole process.  Video clips are dropped onto the timeline and can then be simply edited to remove or split footage and further enhanced using Picture in Picture and Chroma Key effects amongst others..  Once happy with the footage, there are seven categories of transitions that can be applied by dragging and dropping them between clips to ease the changeover between footage.

Pinnacle montage can also be used to improve transition between clips and allows the use of multiple-tracks, which creates a complicated looking effect using a simple wizard style approach.  Titles and text can be placed anywhere on the timeline and edited very simply, allowing full control over text style and positioning.

As well as video, photos can be dropped into the timline for inclusion in the story and the applet even includes a red eye removal tool.  Menus are just as simple to create through a sort of drag and drop system and will even split the video timeline in to chapters to make life even easier.  Also available is a frame grabber so that individual frame can be pulled from video clips for inclusion into the timeline or for saving to disk.

Finally music and sound effects can be added to the timeline, if desired, for scenarios such as slideshows etc.  Music can be added in the form of CD tracks or MP3s and it is even possible to autmatically create background music using the Pinnacle Scorefitter applet. In addition their is a recording facility for undertaking your own voice-over narration to fit the videos.  The audio capabilities of Pinnacle Studio 12 are excellent with full control over mixing of the various audio sources (video clips, sound effect and music) and even the ability to apply effects to each audio sample.

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Once happy with the product, the whole project can be published to disc (AVCHD, Blu-Ray, HD DVD, DVD, SVCD, VCD), to file (AVI, Divx, Flash Video, Real media, MPEG 1,2 &4, Windows media, iPod and PSP compatible, 3GP ) to tape (DV camcorder) or to the Web (Yahoo! videos and YouTube).

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As a well established piece of video editing software, Pinnacle Studio 12 Plus really does provide a complete video editing package and we would be happy to recommend it.  It is very simple to use with an intuitive tab-based interface, but still provides features that allow for the production of some very professional looking videos.  In our opinion, the basic version is ideal for those just starting out, with the Plus and Ultimate packages providing more advanced features and customisation to suit more experienced users.

Available from:

Amazon: Pinnacle Studio 12 Plus