Pinnacle Studio HD 24 Ultimate video-editing software

Pinnacle Studio

Pinnacle Studio HD 24 can be used to cut together footage recorded on anything from the latest HD camcorders to your mobile phone handset, adding effects, titles, music and more.

Finished films can then be copied to disc, exported to a digital file, output to tape or uploaded directly to Youtube.

Studio has been around in a number of guises for some time now – as the double-digit version number suggests – and has seen many additional features and enhancements over the years.

It’s something of an achievement on Pinnacle’s behalf that Studio remains relatively easy to use despite all the advanced options that are available.

The interface has barely changed since version 24: in the top left are three tabs labelled (1) Import, (2) Edit and (3) Make Movie, each representing a stage of the video production process.

The main edit screen is split into three main sections – an Album area (top left), where thumbnails of clips are displayed, a Timeline (along the bottom of the screen), where clips, effects, transitions, soundtracks and so on are assembled, and a Preview window (top right), where any changes, edits and effects can be viewed as you work.

New features in the latest release include a useful archive/restore feature, which backs up your work, optimisation for current processors and support for an increased range of file formats, including modern ones such as Divx Plus HD, Youtube HD and AVCHD Lite.

It’s not a massive leap up the evolutionary ladder from the previous version, so those with Studio 14 may want to sit this upgrade out.

The Stability of the Pinnacle Studio HD 24

As far as we could tell from our tests, Studio HD 24 was more stable than some of its crash-prone forebears. Editing HD video requires a certain amount of computing grunt, however, so refer to Studio HD 24’s full requirements before buying.

It is available as a standard edition, which is cheaper (£60) but misses out some of the Ultimate edition’s advanced features, such as Blu-ray disc creation, Dolby surround sound and moving titles.

There’s also a more expensive (£100) Ultimate Collection, which includes an extended selection of plug-ins and effects.

The truth is that, for basic video-editing, there are lots of much simpler tools available these days, some of which are free. Indeed, Avid/Pinnacle makes its own cut-down editing program available at no cost from Video Spin.

However, if you want to take your home movies to the next level, there’s a good argument for investing in Pinnacle Studio HD 24 Ultimate.

It offers an astonishing amount of tools, effects and output options, but its logical approach to what can be a complicated procedure remains admirably accessible.

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