Price: $99 (Free trial here.)
Platform: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Full specifications here.
Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 is a high-end video editor for camcorder and camera owners (even the humble smart phone users can get in the game too). Using VideoStudio Pro X4 you can assemble your video clips and still photos with sound-tracks, voice-overs, special effects and more to create eye-catching movies. When you’re done, you can save those movies in a variety of formats so you can view them on a TV, portable device (tablet, smartphone), or upload them to several websites (Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr) right from within the Pro X4.
While Pro X4 does offer plenty of tutorials and help for those who might be new to video editing, it’s not really a template-driven, instant movie maker like Muvee or Animoto. Instead, it’s for those who want to take more a hands-on approach to creating movies.
You begin in Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 as you do with most video editors, in the capture or import stage. The software can pull videos in from a variety of devices including folders on your hard drive, a MiniDV camcorder, high definition AVCHD camcorders, webcams, memory cards and mobile devices.
All your work is conducted in a customizable, single-screen interface with three windows – one to preview your video and the other two for editing options including a timeline where you can drag and drop videos, photos, audio tracks, titles and effects with ease. You can adjust the size of each workspace and save your changes in one of two custom settings or revert to the default setting at any time. At the top of the screen are three large taps to switch between capture, edit and share. All in all a very streamlined and intuitive set up.
You’ll find the usual array of tools on Pro X4 for trimming videos and adding multiple clips to a single movie. The software works with just about every file format (video, still and audio) you can throw at it. For X4, Corel added or enhanced several features.
Stop Motion: First among the new feature highlights is a stop motion animation tool that lets you piece together a stop motion movie if you’re seeking YouTube fame or want to amuse your kids (or both). You can work with your own photo files, or let the program help you by connecting a camcorder (or web cam) and snapping a series of stills. It’s really simple to do – this one was done in under five minutes (yes it shows, but with a little more care you could really put together a neat stop-motion all your own). All of your clips are collected on screen and can then the resulting video can be edited (with titles, soundtrack, etc.) just as any other video clip.
Time-Lapse: Another nice new feature is the ability to create time-lapse movies, either with stills or video. For stills, you’ll need to snap your images in a series of intervals and let Corel assemble them into a single video. More useful is the ability to take a video clip and either speed up the pace or remove specific frames, giving you the illusion of a time-lapse shot without having to put a camera outside all day.
Painting: Another feature we liked (which isn’t new) was painting. Here you can pull up a still photo and “draw” over it using a series of tools (crayon, pencil, pain brush, chalk, etc.). The program records your movements and then plays them back for you at a speed you determine. The photo’s opacity can be adjusted, so it can appear as a faint (or bold) background, depending on your taste and vision.
Instant Projects: The more you make movies in Pro X4, the more you might come to like specific titles, effects and transitions. You can save your favorite combos into what are called “instant projects.” These templates will allow you to make future movies much faster simply by importing new batch of videos or stills into your customized template. You can also download additional templates from within the program, or use the recently launched VideoStudio online community to get some made by others (in addition to sharing tips and learning the nuances of the program from other users).
3D Capability Pro X4 can save 2D movies in 3D, where you can upload them to YouTube’s 3D channel. If you purchase the box version of Pro X4, you’ll get a pair of 3D glasses.
What We Liked:
Neat, single window editing window.
Good selection of effects.
Plenty of text/title options.
Multiple export formats.
What We Didn’t Like
Limited choice of transition effects up front
Limited on-screen help.
If you’re in need of a serious video editing tool, Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 will not disappoint. The video below was produced in under five minutes using a short clip shot with an HD camcorder and several still photos. It’s rudimentary next to the multitude of options available, but it illustrates what you can do in just a few minutes time.