Pros: Great for capturing video
Cons: Slow rendering time, titles off screen... read for more.
Being a user of Video Studio DV 5.0, I decided I would give the latest version a try. I was interested in finding out what improvements have been made to the program and couldnt wait to try it out. After installing the software I found that the program was completely different than the older version and the interface is a lot like most of the other video editing software out right now. The software has been completely restructured and the new interface is definitely easier to use with a much larger preview area as well.
Video Studio 9
Video Studio 9 is a video editing package that allows you to capture and edit video from DV tapes, VCR and other sources. You can also import video files from your computer to be edited. You can add music or voice narration, transitions and effects to video clips and compile it to a single movie. The output can be rendered to a single video file or burned to a video CD or DVD.
The interface has been totally restructured from the older Video Studio DV 5.0 that I have. The new interface is much easier to use and has a much larger preview screen for editing the video sequences. It also has new transition effects and more text features than the older version did. The layout of the interface looks very much like Arcsoft ShowBiz only with a bigger preview screen.
The software allows you to create movies from video clips, video files, DV tape and other sources. When you launch the program, it gives you a simple menu for creating a movie. You can make your movie in three different ways. You can manually edit and create a movie by selecting Video Studio Editor or have the help of the built in movie wizard by choosing Movie Wizard.
If you are trying to make a movie from a DV tape, you can select DV-to-DVD Wizard. If you want to control all aspects of creating the movie you will want to choose Video Studio Editor. This will allow you to control every part of the process from capturing video or importing files to rendering the video to the specified format.
The movie wizards are helpful for people who are new to video editing and just want to make a movie quick and easy. However the wizards are also not very picky about being cheesy. If you choose the Movie Wizard to create your movie, dont use anything special and you will get a fairly decent movie but if you choose a Theme Template it will create your movie in a window inside a really cheesy motion background. These motion backgrounds would be great for creating a DVD menu but not to show your entire movie in.
The DV-to-DVD wizard is useful for people who want to quickly get their video from DV tape to DVD. The wizard will capture the video and convert it to MPEG2 and burn the DVD for you fairly quickly. You must choose a theme for this feature and as I stated before the themes are not very impressive for the entire movie to be displayed in. This is a good choice for people who just want a quick DVD from their DV tapes.
Video Studio Editor
The video editor is decent enough for making home movies and videos to share over the web, email or making home DVD movies. You can either captures videos from DV tape, VHS tape, other video-in sources or import video files already saved on the computer. The editing features are decent giving you the ability to create titles and add transition effects but not anywhere near professional.
There are no video effects available except for transition effects. A transition effect is used where a video sequence ends and another starts. The transition makes the change from one scene to the next smooth and seamless. There are many transition effects to choose from, however not many that are not cheesy. The best transition effect is the crossfade effect where one scene slowly fades into the next. There are some other transitions that can be used tastefully but not without knowing when and where to place them.
The timeline is basically the same as the older versions of Video Studio where you have a section for video, a section for titles, a section for music audio and a section for narration audio. The two audio sections can be used for music or audio, it doesnt matter which one you use. They are both in stereo and can be used the same way.
Aside from the regular tracks on the timeline there is now an Overlay track as well for creating a picture-in-picture. The overlay track can be made semi-transparent for a really neat effect or can be solid for a full overlay with a picture-in-picture video. You can control the percentage of transparency or use the Mask and Chroma Key to have even more control over the overlay effect. You can also place a border around the overlay to make it look like a frame.
There are many title templates you can choose from or cerate your own. Titles can be placed anywhere in the timeline and can be made with any font installed on your computer. The can have shadow effects, border effects, backgrounds and can be placed anywhere on the screen. You have complete control over title creation to an extent.
You have a choice of the type of title you want to place in the video. You can choose scrolling, fading or flying. Each of these types have variations on how they appear and you can choose from the list, you can not however create your own motions for the titles which is common amongst the various programs for video editing on the market. For this you would need a much more expensive program.
There is a TV view frame that appears when you are creating titles so you know where the display area is on a television. This is supposed to help you keep your titles in an area that wont run off screen when the video is played on a TV. Well, it doesnt work very well. I created titles that were clearly inside the TV view window but when I played the final video on my 32 TV the titles ran off the screen by two letters. That was a little frustrating and cost me a DLDVD+R disc to fix. For those who dont know, a DLDVD+R disc costs about $7 so it was a little frustrating to lose a disc over something that could have been avoided.
This is a major thing for me. The length of time it takes to render the edited video into a single file. Video Studio 9, just like the older versions, takes a very long time to render video. A full two hour movie may take as long a 30 minutes or more to be rendered into a single video file. This is one reason I would choose a different program for editing, I am very impatient when it comes to waiting on the computer.
Making a DVD from edited video is pretty easy and the menu editor is decent as well. You can choose a template for the menu from the themes and customize it to the way you want. You can change the font of the text and the text itself. You can also choose from a variety of windows for the video preview. The theme background can be replaced with either video or pictures from files on your computer and you can add music from files on your computer as well.
Making the DVD is easy too. You can either burn it directly to the disc or make a DVD folder on your hard drive. You can play the DVD from the folder on your hard drive using a program like PowerDVD or WinDVD. You can also make an .ISO image file for burning later. There is an option to normalize audio as well.
I used this software to create a 2 hour movie which was of my bands last gig. The capturing process was flawless and the original captured video was great. I edited the video with this software and burned it to DVD. The burning plug-in also recognizes dual layer discs so I could fit the entire two hour video on one disc without compressing it. This was all for not because of the title problem. I refrained from burning another disc and instead used Cyberlink PowerDirector to re-edit the video and burned it to disc using Nero 6.
After spending many hours playing with the features and editing video I decided that the software is not what I need for what I do with video but this does not make it a bad product. I am sure that beginners and even intermediate users will find benefit from this software but it is not really useful for professional video editing. It does have its use though, the captured video from this program is really good and I will probably continue to use it for capturing my video from DV tape and then edit the video with several other programs I have.
This software is good for beginners and intermediate users and does have some good features but it is in no way intended for professional video editing. I would recommend it to people who want an easy way to edit video and get it on DVD but not for people who want a full editing package. I would recommend Cyberlink PowerDirector 4 or Adobe Premier for more advanced users.
For professional video editing there is no competition, Avid Xpress Pro (http://www.avid.com/products/xpressdv) is the way to go. It is very expensive but it is the most powerful video editing software available to consumers.
Thanks for reading,