Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 overview
The problem I have when reviewing any software or hardware is that I have become used to using some of the best applications and hardware that are currently available. This sets a very high standard for any competing application (or hardware) to live up to, can Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 live up to expectations?
I have been using Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X3 for some time, and at first I had my doubts about the workflow, it seemed far too simple, how could an editing application produce anything worthwhile with such an easy to use interface. After using it on a daily basis I soon found out that not only was this software easy to use, but it also offered many advanced features that are not buried within layers of menus. VideoStudio Pro X3 (VSPX3) enables the user to quickly put together complex sequences without having to wade through instruction manuals.
Launch VSPX3 and you are presented with the Start up screen, from here you can select to choose the Advanced Edit, which takes you straight to the main VSPX3 interface, the Easy Edit, is a quick way to organise your video clips, trim them, adjust colours and place them into a sequence, add a title menu and burn a DVD.
I liked the thumbnail previews, just click on one and it plays, double click on it to view it at full screen.
There are a number of editing facilities available such as Trim, Split, Revert, Rotate Left/Right, White Balance corrections and camera shake reduction. Generally this is basic stuff. I didn’t like the play, pause, rewind etc., buttons which are located on the right hand side of the screen, this placement is not in keeping with most video playback applications, including the advanced edit in VSPX3, surely there is sufficient room under the video clip for them. The ability to trim your video clip is not that obvious, you must click on the Trim icon and then you will see the orange In and Out markers, now set your In and Out points on your clip and only that portion of the video will be used.
The DV to DVD wizard enables you to transfer your video directly to a DVD, without the editing process – you need a name like Spielberg to pull this one off with confidence.
The Burn DVD factory Pro 2010 gives you many options for creating professional looking menus on your DVDs. The other item on this screen is to select Widescreen 16:9, perhaps the widescreen option should be the default and an option to choose 4:3 would make more sense.
This is the main interface for VideoStudio Pro X3. The screen occupies your entire desktop, you can’t resize it to run two applications side by side, nor can you move it to another part of the screen, although you can minimize it to the taskbar. Located at the top left is the main Video Editing window, this is where you will preview the clips and any effects that are applied. Above this are the menu options; File, Edit, Tools and Settings. Next to this are three tabs; Capture, Edit and Share, by default the Edit tab is displayed, although it would make more sense to start with the Capture tab.
The capture tab is used to import or capture video clips. From here you can capture directly from a DV camera or Import Digital Media files from your computer. As we are all moving towards file based video capture (memory cards etc.) you will probably use the Import Digital Media option. The DV Quick Scan option will scan an entire video clip (generally a tape based video) and create smaller clips based on scene changes. This is very useful if you have captured several scenes back to back on a video tape. HDSLR and file based camcorders will create a new file every time the Start Recording button is pressed, so the DV Quick Scan may be a redundant feature.
Once videos have been captured or downloaded you can add them to the Library, this is the area on the right hand side of the screen. From here you can drag and drop clips onto the timeline.
The videos below will give you a full overview of how clips are imported and placed on the timeline ready for editing.
As mentioned earlier in this overview, any new software or hardware needs to at least match and preferably upstage anything that is currently available. Corel have gone a long way to make video editing a user friendly task, this is not saying VideoStudio is perfect, it does have its faults, and some are unforgiveable. For example, straightening a horizon, you have to use the Rotate filter and then set the parameters with the same value at the start and end of the clip. Not very user friendly, but it does work (see video clip). The cropping filter has limitations in as much that crops use a mask overlay, this means that if you crop out a central portion for a picture within picture effect then the overlay mask will block out any underlying video.
Corel have always been generous with extras, the filters, transitions, animated titles and SmartSound files that are included with VideoStudio will give most users enough scope to produce a professional looking movie with plenty of effects.
VideoStudio Pro X3 offers something for the newbie and for the more experienced video editor alike. I like the ease of use and the fact that everything you may need to produce a quality DVD or upload is all contained in the one package. The wedding videographer who is into same day edits may find that this application fits the bill very nicely.