Videomaker by Edward B. Driscoll, Jr
Champagne Features, 6-Pack Price
It never ceases to amaze us how powerful and full-featured video editing programs at the $100 price level have become. Case in point: Avid's Pinnacle Studio Version 11. The program sells in three versions: the core model (called simply Pinnacle Studio), which retails for $50; Pinnacle Studio Plus for $100; and Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, which lists for $130. From a marketing point of view, it's always good to move prospective buyers from "should I buy?" to "which one should I buy," which explains the three different versions. But to me, the choice seems awfully clear, after checking out the surprisingly high-end features included in the Ultimate Edition we tested. On all of the versions, the Pinnacle Studio user interface, which supports both dual and widescreen monitors, is handsome and well laid-out. A handy feature when importing your media files into Pinnacle is a pair of buttons labeled "Show Video" and "Show Photos." These will make only the media you're currently working with visible. Just editing the slideshow portion of a video today? Then clear the "Show Video" button, and only photos will be visible. The Import Media will also automatically store videos and still photos in the directories you specify, making it much easier to find raw media again after it's used in a production. For background scores, all of the versions of Pinnacle Studio ship with a MIDI-based applet called "Scorefitter." This application uses a library of MIDI tracks, from which it creates background music to fit the length you specify to fill a scene. It then asks the user to specify the style, song and version. With multiple default examples of each subset, it's possible to customize a variety of tunes to fit a scene. read more...