That means your Avid Studio projects will open in Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate, and although the Red Giant plugin set is different this time, raising potential file compatibility problems, Corel will make the missing ones available free to upgraders.
There are two new Red Giant plugins as well, and they’re both valuable additions. Cosmo adjusts skin tones while making a minimal impact on other parts of frames, while Mojo is a one-stop-shop for dramatic, punchy colours.
It’s a lot quicker to set up than the similar Magic Bullet Looks, which is included too, along with an array of other high-quality effects. Colour correction is well specified, although it isn’t quite in the same league as that of Sony Movie Studio Platinum.
All three versions of Studio now offer 3D editing. It’s one of the last consumer editors to add this feature, but it’s also the best implementation we’ve seen to date.
In our tests, it correctly identified 3D footage from a variety of cameras, and there’s a button to show only 3D media in the library. The preview switched automatically to anaglyph mode, and there’s support for Nvidia 3D Vision displays for those with compatible equipment.
Best of all, the 3D Editor GPU effect applies stereoscopic transformations, so clips, graphics and titles can be animated in 3D space. There’s a range of 3D export options, too, although Blu-ray export is only as an anaglyph or side-by-side file; there’s no support for Blu-ray 3D, which encodes two independent 1080p streams.
YouTube uploads can be in 3D, too, but only when we selected the appropriate settings in both Studio and on the website this should be automatic.
Corel has also picked up the Avid Studio iPad app, which now goes by the name Pinnacle Studio for iPad, and is currently available for free. This is an excellent editor in its own right, with an interface that’s based on older Windows versions of Studio.
There are no effects, and we spotted a couple of bugs, but it handled basic editing tasks extremely proficiently. It had no problems editing 1080p video captured with the iPad, or with a Panasonic GF5 in MP4 format (the iPad doesn’t recognise AVCHD-format clips), copied to the iPad using Apple’s Camera Connection Kit. It doesn’t work on the oldest generation iPad, though.
Projects can be transferred from iPad to Windows for further editing, either via iCloud, www.box.com or, more realistically considering the large file sizes, iTunes.
Selecting, ordering and truncating clips is arguably the most important, and yet the most tedious part of video production, so the ability to get started in the hotel room or on a long journey home is extremely welcome.
The iPad app has inspired a couple of new features in the desktop version. One is Trim mode, which uses dual preview monitors showing the last frame of a clip beside the first frame of the following clip. These edit points can be shifted one or ten frames at a time using keyboard shortcuts.
Clicking on a preview monitor dictates which clip is adjusted, and Ctrl-clicking moves them together so the overall length of both clips is unaffected.
It bears more than a passing resemblance to features in Premiere Pro CS6, right down to the ability to loop around the edit point, although this version stops playback whenever adjustments are made.
It’s an extremely welcome feature for adjusting edits with frame-accurate precision something that’s often quite fiddly in consumer editors.
The iPad app was also the inspiration for a clever spin on the storyboard-editing concept. This is a common feature in entry-level editors, where a thumbnail represents each clip. Unlike timeline editing, it gives no indication of the length of each clip, and it doesn’t work when arranging clips on multiple tracks.
However, it looks tidier than the timeline and makes it easy to reorder clips. Here, the Storyboard appears just above the timeline, allowing both to be used simultaneously. We found it useful not only for reordering clips, but also as a way to navigate the project without having to zoom in and out of the timeline.
Studio now uses nVidia CUDA acceleration to handle H.264 decoding, and in Corel’s own tests this gave a notable improvement to preview performance for AVCHD editing.
Our experience was different. Pinnacle Studio 16 could only play two simultaneous streams in our standard preview test, which involves stacking multiple AVCHD streams and mixing them together using variable opacity. Avid Studio could play five on the same PC.
Thankfully, CUDA acceleration can be turned off, and we were able to restore performance to previous levels. We hope our results are the exception to the rule, but it’s worth experimenting with this setting in the Control Panel to see which gives best results.
It can be unnerving for existing users when software changes owners, but it looks like Studio is in safe hands. It builds on Avid Studio’s strong foundation with a range of well-implemented, genuinely useful new features. The iPad app and 3D editing is relatively niche, but the Storyboard and Trim mode should benefit everyone.
We prefer Sony Movie Studio Platinum’s marginally more fluid timeline controls and superior colour correction, but choosing between the two is more a matter of priorities than objective strengths and weaknesses. If creative colour treatments, 3D editing or iPad support is on the agenda, this is the editor to get.