Corel VideoStudio Pro X8 and VideoStudio Ultimate X8 are the latest version releases of Corel’s popular and feature packed consumer video editing software.
As would be expected from a product that has been around for quite some time now, VideoStudio is a well matured and stable program that has benefitted from development by Corel and its predecessors for a number of years now.
On a personal note I just checked the Corel site and my first copy of VideoStudio was version 6 under the now defunct Ulead name back in 2004!
Probably one of the main reasons the software does continue to succeed is that ever since Corel took it over a few years back now, they have continued to engage in an ongoing dialogue with their most active users on their excellent “user to user” forum.
They haven’t just tried to passively defend their program to their existing customer base or read their minds but have proactively sought both advice and ideas for future direction.
VideoStudio Pro X8 and Ultimate X8 is a great example of what can happen when a software company like Corel listens and makes an effort not to just correct errors but to satisfy needs.
The result of this smart move has been steady forward development in the functionality, usability and stability of each year’s final release candidate.
I have no reservations in recommending Corel VideoStudio Pro X8 or Ultimate X8 to anyone looking for editing software at this level.
The program does everything it is supposed to do, does it very well and easily holds its own against the competition in the consumer grade editing software market.
In fact with this and perhaps the last few releases of VideoStudio, Corel have been closing the gap between the consumer market and the fully professional programs such as Premiere and Vegas.
You can take a look at the video below to get an idea of what the software has on offer.
Pro X8 versus Ultimate X8
Before I get into a full review of the program’s features and performance let’s first of all take a look at the difference between the standard Pro X8 and Ultimate X8.
The software is competitively priced within its market however by going from the Pro to the Ultimate version you get some serious bang for your extra $20.00!
The two are essentially the same except that with the Ultimate X8 version you get everything in the Pro X8 version plus a premium special effects pack including 10 apps that take the software to a new level.
It is important to note that these individual modules are integrated into the overall program and it is these that give VideoStudio Ultimate X8 the pro tools appearing in many of the consumer level products these days.
Some brands have opted for completely separate modules to extend their capabilities and others like Corel have simply turned to the experts in their respective fields and incorporated those features into the main program.
Neither system is superior to the other however the difference is in how the company has achieved the integration.
In the case of VideoStudio that integration has been executed very well.
So the additional features you get with the Ultimate version are:
A complete set of pro level color correction tools that also add the ability to achieve color grading including a bunch of presets that can be applied to either correct or create ambiance.
NewBlue FX Essentials IV
A set of enhancement presets that are fully adjustable allowing you to manipulate your videos by turning night into day, create reflections, adjust skin tones and more.
NewBlueFX Motion Effects
This popular plugin helps you achieve professional results with more than 100 motion presets in 10 incredibly efficient tools to add motion like footage shot during an earthquake or perhaps a shot on a boat.
proDAD Adorage Starter Pack
150 effects and transitions that help you create high-quality trailers, transitions, credits and more.
proDAD Mercalli SE
An excellent video stabilization module as well as handling rolling-shutter compensation and wobble and skew caused when panning.
Boris Graffiti 6
Broadcast-quality titles and graphics allowing you to easily make sophisticated title animations, such as type on text, text on a path, jitter, and randomization.
proDAD Handscript Animation
Handscript animation plugin which can be used to turn your titles into realistic onscreen handwriting.
proDAD VitaScene LE
More than 100 broadcast-quality, fully customizable professional effects, filters, and image enhancements.
NewBlue Background Generator
Alter an image from your video into a backdrop, complete with a perpetual panning motion. Adjust magnify, sharpness, color and more to suit your needs.
Animated pen effects let you draw on maps, illustrate with light or video, or apply animated pen effects to any path.
So What’s New and Improved?
So from the outset here let’s set the tone for what kind of version update this one is.
Video editing software makers tend to either emphasize the technical aspects of the program, the unsexy background stuff that makes marketing really hard or they go for the “bells and whistles” update which usually means all kinds of shiny new stuff with which to wow the prospective buyer.
My preference is always for the technical upgrades because the bells and whistles will invariably to fall over in a heap without that technical stability anyway.
This current one from Corel is clearly more in the technical area and that’s a good thing because they did not need to add any new and unnecessary complication to what is already a pretty feature packed program.
What can be said though is that the new features they have introduced and the improvements to existing features mostly fall under the category of providing the user with easier control over the creative process.
User Interface and Library
There has been no great change to the user interface which is fine, the existing one allows access to all the features very well.
Yes, there will be a learning curve for newbies but that goes with the territory no matter what software you use.
They have added a new view to the library settings so that you can choose to view assets in the library in a list mode so that the file you are looking at in the library has its attributes such as length, bit rate, file type etc. clearly marked out for you to see.
Also, assets being used or which have been used somewhere in a current project will have a check mark against them.
Although this may seem a small thing, it’s very handy when you are working on large projects and are beginning to get a little lost as to what you have used and what you haven’t!
64-bit Architecture and The Need for Speed!
64-bit architecture was introduced to the program in the last version however in this one I did notice that there seemed to be a little more snap and pop to things happening as I was working with it.
VideoStudio was always pretty good in the Smart Rendering department being one of the first programs to come out with an effective system to scan and analyze existing projects.
Based on that analysis it can render a completed project far more efficiently by eliminating the need to re-render sections that are already compliant with the desired output parameters.
This feature has been improved with the new version and Smart Render can now be used with Ultra HD files.
Overall rendering times for all file types have been improved with the software now able to combine this feature with the ability to muster all available processing power from the system and deploy it in the most efficient way.
The original appearance of the Screen Recording module within VideoStudio a few versions back was a welcome addition but unfortunately at the time fell firmly under the heading of “half baked.”
Last year they fixed it and since then it has worked quite well.
This year they have added the ability to record system audio as well as an external microphone and have improved the sharing section of it to make getting crisp, clean screen captures easier.
They have enhanced the programs ability to control alpha channels and if that is gibberish to you it simply means that functions like titling, overlays and masks can be used more creatively.
This added alpha channel control also crosses over into the area of Green Screen and this part of the program too has been tidied up and the user given a wider and better range of tools to get those green screens right.
All of that combined with the ability to blend overlays with main track means you now have a different method of achieving what green screen does but does not actually need you to create a green screen video.
Bits and Pieces
A Freeze Frame effect has been added which allows a single frame from a video to be converted immediately into an image on the timeline.
If done with a HD clip it means you can stop motion and hold it for as long as you want without getting that slightly blurred effect you do when you try to hold a video frame for more than a second or so.
Audio Ducking! Yep, you read that right!
So, audio ducking is the action of dropping the background audio or soundtrack at those points when narration or voice over is occuring.
One of the ways a pro video seems “pro” is the way that the background sound, usually music, is constantly and subtley being raised and lowered depending on whether someone is speaking.
Now you could always do that in VideoStudio but to do it you had to manually go through every little step of the project fiddling with the sound up and down depending on the presence of a voice track.
This was REALLY tedious!
The new Audio Ducking feature just scans the project and automatically does it for you.
Is it perfect? No, you may still have to go in a tweak your audio in a few places but honestly. The difference between doing it from scratch and doing to an already processed project is like the difference between night and day!
They have added some more music tracks to the built in soundtrack module and improved the interface controls so it is much easier to use.
Apart from the motion tracking control offered from within the FX plugins that come with the program, the internal motion tracking module has been re-worked and again, nothing new or fancy, just clever improvements to the user experience so that you can actually DO something with it.
And finally Corel have included a 45 day membership with each purchase of the program to a special channel on Backlot.tv that has a set of specific tutorial videos for VideoStudio Pro X8 to get you up and running.
So that’s it for what new and exciting, on to the review!