Native bit operation. Good titling. All content types are searchable, with tagging and star ratings available. Solid audio tools. Direct online sharing. Tutorial content. Cons Some interface irritations. Slower rendering performance than some of the competition. Choppy 4K performance. No multicam or motion tracking. Bottom Line Pinnacle Studio is a very capable video editing program, but it falls short in this crowded, competitive space due to interface problems, performance issues, and missing features.
The venerable video editing software has become steadily more powerful and speedier with each iteration. Corel also develops VideoStudio video editing software , with Pinnacle positioned as the higher-end of the two product lines. It's aimed at near-professional-level enthusiasts, with excellent editing features and effects such as stop-motion video, multicam editing, and motion tracking. Pinnacle also supports degree VR content, and its rendering speed is a top performer in our testing.
This year's update focuses on color grading, screen and webcam capture, three- and four-point editing, and enhanced motion tracking and footage support. For the veteran Pinnacle users out there, here's the short version of what's new in this year's update: New color-grading tools, including color correction, color wheels, LUTs, and a waveform scope.
Three- and four-point editing, which lets you mark multiple in and out points on both the source and the timeline. Multicam with screen record as one of the angles. Improved motion tracking. More options including "tiny planet" and "rabbit hole" effects. Motion split-screen effects. Seamless transitions using up, down, or side motion and similar-color areas like the sky to move from one shot to another seamlessly and elegantly and with custom parameters.
I'll go into more detail about these new features throughout this review, but first I'll cover the basics. In case you missed last year's improvements, they included a simplified yet more-customizable interface, a keyframe-centric editing panel, motion 3D title creation, wide angle lens distortion correction, video templates, painting effects, and morph transitions. If you need to edit degree or 4K content, you'll need to spring for Ultimate, which also adds high-end effects from NewBlue and unlimited video tracks.
It's also the only level that includes some of the new features like split-screen motion effects, seamless transitions, and all the new color-grading tools. Unfortunately, there's no free trial version of any of the Pinnacle Studio levels. First you download a small installer stub app, which then downloads the massive full program. It's a 1. Of course, if you're editing 4K video, you need a big disk anyway. Importing and Interface When you first run the program, you're invited to the program's new User Experience Improvement Program, which sends anonymous usage data back to the company; turning that off is straightforward, if you're not interested.
Next, a dialog tells you that the Import feature lets you record and open media files. Import takes up the full program window, which makes it easy to pick the types of importing you need, whether it's from DVD, computer folders, stop motion, snapshot, or multicam.
The software can import 4K content, and you can star-rate and keyword-tag content at import, which helps you find it later. The search bar also helps you find content you haven't marked in this way, searching instead for words in the filename. A new option on the Import mode is MultiCam Capture.
This opens an external app that lets you record your screen along with any webcams you have connected or built in to your PC.
You can use function keys to start and stop recording, and the tool produces separate, synced clips that you can add to your project bin. It lets you adjust lighting and sound sources, and in my testing it worked flawlessly. Pinnacle's interface sports flat, 2D icons, and a pleasant black and gray color scheme.
The program uses the concept of Project Bins, in which you stash all the content for a given movie project—clips, photos, and sound files, but not effects and transitions. This is a common approach for pro-level apps such as Final Cut Pro X , and it's a feature that Corel's other line, VideoStudio, does not offer.
The whole program window is topped by four mode-switching buttons: Home, Import, Edit, and Export. The first is simply a welcome screen offering tutorials, info on new program features, and additional assets and programs for sale.
Edit mode uses the standard three-pane editor interface, with source content occupying the top-left quadrant of the screen, the preview window at the top right, and the timeline across the bottom half. The Ultimate level allows an unlimited number of tracks, as mentioned earlier. The Plus level limits you to 24 tracks, and Standard to six. You can change the relative size of the panels, add a source-video preview, and switch the movie preview to full screen. You can pull interface panels off and change their positions, as you can in some other editors, such as Magix Movie Edit Pro.
The preview window includes detailed controls, such as jog and shuttle, frame advance, and rewind. You expand and contract the timeline either the main one or the one in the preview window with a clever mouse-drag action, but I wish there were a mouse wheel option for resizing the timeline.
You can search and sort any content, which is more than I can say for some video editing programs, such as Studio's sister application, VideoStudio. Hiding and showing items by content type—video, audio, photo, and project—is simplicity itself. There's an enormous and customizable assortment of keyboard shortcuts. For those who want the ultimate control, Pinnacle lets video editors time every kind of effect and adjustment with keyframes.
Keyframing lets you evenly increase or decrease an effect over time. Once you've got a video project set up the way you want, you can save it as a template from the File menu.
You specify which clips should become placeholders, which you can fill in subsequent projects with different clips. The interface makes no specific concession to touch input, which I find useful for scrubbing, changing value sliders, and tapping control buttons.
That said, scrubbing the timeline by finger did work acceptably. The software now fully supports high-resolution monitors; in testing previous versions, some elements appeared tiny on my 4K touch screen monitor, but that's no longer the case.
Rather than integrated help, you get an online PDF that's still better than Adobe's unimpressive web help, which shows info for other products and from non-staff users. In general, however, Pinnacle's interface is more accessible than those of some competing video editors. Basic Video Editing and Transitions Pinnacle uses a magnetic timeline, so any clip you drag and drop into it snaps to any existing clips, and you can turn that behavior off, if you prefer.
Dropping a clip inside another splits the original one, and a razor icon offers clip splitting, as well. The Trim Mode button or just double-clicking a join point opens a second preview window so you can see the first and second clips' states at the trim point. This is supposed to help with effecting slip and slide trims, but I find it less intuitive than the trimming windows of CyberLink PowerDirector and VideoStudio, among other apps. New for version 22 are three- and four-point editing.
You switch into this editing mode from the same button on the right side that switches among Smart Editing, Insert, Replace, and Overwrite modes. With the three-point option, you specify in and out points on the time line, and an in or out point in the source clip.
This way, when you insert the clip onto the timeline it will be fit to your specification. Two new insertion buttons appear on the source window: Keep Speed and Fit to Duration. The second of these stretches the source clip to fit the target area in the timeline. The four-point option lets you specify in and out points on both the source and the timeline. When you use that, if your source selection is longer than the spot on the timeline you've marked, you see a dialog asking whether you want to align the source clip with the beginning or end of the timeline points, and whether to trim the source or overwrite the timeline.
If you choose the Fit to Duration button, your source clip is sped up or slowed down to fit the marked area in the timeline exactly. I see how these could be useful options and less haphazard than simply dragging source onto the timeline.
In particular, the time stretching to fit a marked area saves you time. Dog-eared corners of adjacent clips let you adjust transition lengths between them. You can also enable dynamic-length transitions, or just stick with transitions of set lengths. Cross-fades are accessible right on the timeline via the transition dog ears, but the place from which you get your fancier transitions is somewhat hidden, compared with how other video editors present it.
They're also not as simple to add to timeline clips, with no automatic duration option. Sometimes I dragged a transition between clips in my testing and the app didn't add anything.
There is, however, a very full selection of transitions, grouped as 2D-3D, Artistic, Alpha Magic, and more. New for version 22 is the Seamless Transition tool, which implements an effect that's all the rage among amateur videographers. As Davonte Douglas explains in this tutorial, you don't even need software to make seamless transitions, but software can in fact make them even smoother and more impressive.
The seamless transitions in Pinnacle Studio work like any other transitions: You just drag them from the source panel down between clips. You get choices for downward, left-to-right, and upward motion between clips, along with variations for rotation during the transition. You can fine tune the motion by placing similar areas in selection boxes. The Morph transition, though not new for version 22, is still worth calling out.
It lets you draw guides in the first and second videos to affect the transition. It's not quite as impressive as Final Cut Pro X's Flow transition, which blends jump cuts—for example, you might seamlessly cut a few words or even a sentence out of a single clip of interview. The Pinnacle Morph transition is pretty much a crossfade that lets you add blurry motion between clips.
Also not new it was introduced in version 21 but still worth mentioning is the Wide-Angle Lens Correction feature.
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