This video-editing software really does include all the extras: bundled in with the usual software and manuals is a large green cloth, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
For those a little nervous about whether their setup can run the Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection, the system requirements along with the input and export options and formats can be found here: tinyurl.com/2al65w2.
You begin by creating a project where you import the video footage that you’ve filmed so you can work on your movie. The software comes with an extensive example project (Our Nature Adventure), which shows you how to achieve certain effects, cuts and wipes, and it also demonstrates special effects using the green screen.
After creating your project you have three options: Import, Edit and Make Movie. The Import tab gives you a range of options for a connected device. We used a connected HD Flip Mino, which connects via USB. However, the software also supports a Firewire connection and analogue camcorders, but you will need a capture card (requires Pinnacle or Dazzle video hardware). You’re also given the option to import from DVD, Blu-ray, hard drives and even live feeds.
So after importing our test videos, it’s on to the fun bit. The Edit tab is where you put together your movie with most of this software. It is really easy to use, as you can simply drag and drop videos and pictures to where you want them to be.
The Show Transition button offers 74 examples of Transition effects, and you can use the supplied green screen to add special effects. This works really well, as you can see in the example that my kids made at tinyurl.com/23m5mz6. If you don’t feel there aren’t enough effects on offer, you can download more from the Pinnacle Studio Effects and Plug-ins website.
There’s a DVD button that helps you to put together a fully functioning DVD complete with menus. The Sound Effects button enables the inclusion of a range of samples from animal noises to crowds cheering. The last button on the Edit menu is the Music button, which is self- explanatory.
Finally, the software also allows you to output your movie to a wide range of formats and file types, from AVI to Real Media and from Blu-ray to VCD!
PROS: Very easy to use, even for a beginner. Even semi-pros would be impressed with what it can do.
CONS: You will need a fast PC. Our test unit was within spec, but it stalled at times as the software uses a lot of memory to process video.
VERDICT: Your family will have a lot of fun putting together professional looking videos with the Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection. At $249, it’s also great value for money.