Although the Pinnacle Studio video editing software suite has been around for quite some time version 20 is the first time I have done a review of it on this site and there are some important reasons why that is.
Pinnacle Studio was one of the first commercially available video editors that appeared at the dawn of the digital video age and is one of the oldest video editing products that is still around today.
It has had a chequered history for a number of reasons and it has only been until recently that some major overhauls by Corel have pulled it all together into the product it always promised to be but never quite was.
If you want to read the full story, I did a blog post on it a while back which covers all the whys and wherefores of the product’s history you can see it here.
Suffice to say the only reason I am finally adding on to the list of software I recommend is that Corel, since taking it over back in 2012, have done a mighty job in getting it back on track and running smoothly.
I probably could have safely done a Pinnacle Studio review last year but I wanted to leave it for a while just to see where Corel were going to take the product and if they were really serious about its continued development.
So here we are at Pinnacle Studio 20 and after having a copy on my computer for a few weeks I now feel confident in recommending it to anyone looking for video editing software at the more sophisticated end of the consumer or amateur market.
Why Pinnacle Studio?
If you hadn’t already gathered it, the basic purpose of every review on this site is to only include software I have tested myself and found to be acceptable.
This is all in an effort to try to at least simplify the decision making process in choosing a video editor.
The difficulty in this field is that there are about 6 or 7 main contenders, all of them good at what they do and the differences between them are minute.
This apparent “sameness” makes choosing the right one for you very difficult because it is so hard to tell them apart.
So before I get into the Pinnacle Studio review proper let’s just cover what makes it different to the rest of the pack.
The answer to that question could be summed up in one word, control.
Pinnacle Studio does not pack any different features or capabilities than any of its competition so let’s be clear on that.
What it does offer is an abundance of those features all of which are presented in a way designed to allow the user to exert a level of control almost at the standard of fully professional software.
In fact Pinnacle Studio 20 is as close as you can get to a professional video editor while still staying within a “drag’n’drop” style interface without the complication and hefty price tag.
So as is my habit let’s first take a look at the obligatory cheesy promo video to get a bit of a feel for what the program can do and how it looks.
What’s New and Improved?
On page two of this Pinnacle Studio 20 review I will go over the individual features of the program but first let’s take a look at what’s new in this latest version.
Normally I would cover what’s new compared to the previous version but as this is my first review of Pinnacle Studio I think it’s important to cover what is new and improved since Corel took over the program back in 2012.
To be kind Pinnacle always had a pretty bad reputation for being, shall we say quirky?
Translated into straight talk that means it was buggy and had a tendency to freeze and crash generally at the point where you really didn’t want it to do that! (Not that there is ever a point where you want it to!)
Anyway Corel spent the first two years of owning and developing the program putting an enormous effort into getting the software right as it stood rather than trying to madly add new features.
What is unusual about the way Corel did this is that at that time they immediately engaged in consultation with the existing user base.
You would be surprised at the level of ignorance many well known software makers remain at as to what the users of that software are having problems with and what they really want to see as part of its development.
Not so with Corel who had already established a successful pattern for the development of their other video editor, VideoStudio Pro.
Corel understood that it didn’t matter what they or anyone at Corel thought the program needed or needed to be fixed.
What was important was that they fixed the program from the user’s perspective.
Although it took about two versions to get it done, they turned the program around and got it working as a stable platform upon which they could embark on future development.
So probably the biggest “what’s new” point here is that Pinnacle Studio 20 is now stable and that’s a big point.
I know this because I have spent the last two weeks mindlessly scrubbing through the timeline and rushing through actions all in an effort to get it to crash and it has taken it all with good grace.
The best I could get was a little lag every now and then while it caught up with my manic actions!
In addition to the existing features in Pinnacle Studio 20 they have added or improved the following:
The new motion tracking module has been tucked away in the effects library so access to it is simply a matter of dragging the effect on to the timeline and customizing it from there.
In keeping with the theme of greater control it actually consists of two separate effects.
One designed for face or object tracking and the other more for moving objects like text or graphics around the screen.
Stop Motion Animation
Allows you to control your camera through the software to capture frame by frame action for animation or fast motion effects.
Easy Track Transparency
Allows you to adjust the transparency or opacity of individual tracks so that they can be seen or “seen through” on an overlay track.
360° Video Editing
Allows you to import and edit the new 360° or VR videos add titles or set paths and convert to standard video.
You can then either export to a 360° video for YouTube or any other service that will play them or you can convert to 2D.
The video below probably explains it better!
NewBlue Creative Effects
In addition to the already bewildering array of special effects they have added NewBlue’s Video Essentials III pack which packs another 900 preset effects and 75 more plugin type effects.
It has to be noted here that the 900 figure applies to the number of preset effects and in fact nearly all of those effects can be manually adjusted to suit you rather than just using the preset.
The existing multicam capability has been beefed up to now allow you to handle 6 cameras simultaneously with a couple of methods for syncing them prior to using the switching panel to edit.
So that’s about it for all the new stuff and a catch up on how we got here with Pinnacle Studio 20.
Click the link below to either read the rest of this review or go to the Pinnacle website to take a look at the software for yourself.