Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Pinnacle Studio product range

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.

The Friday Roundup – Corel Breathes New Life into Pinnacle Studio

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:

Motion Tracking

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.

Multi-Camera Editor

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.

Click Here to See Pinnacle Studio 20

Click Here to Read Part Two of the Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

4.5 / 5 stars     
Pinnacle Studio 20 Review was last modified: September 29th, 2016 by Lance Carr

45 comments to Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

  • Rod


    I’ve been using Pinnacle Studio for almost two decades, and agree with your assessments. Corel has made some things better, but they still have a long way to go.

    I’ve been having issues with version 20 exporting a long movie file in 1080p format. First export freezes about two thirds of the way through the movie. This happens regardless of export format. After breaking the movie into smaller pieces I was able to produce two video clips that I could then stitch back together to form the whole. This worked fine in MP4, but when I tried to repeat this using Blu-Ray format the audio synch was very bad (3-4 seconds off) from the start of the movie. Is there a simple way to fix the audio synch? I would like to create a Blu-Ray disc, but might have to settle for the MP4 file if you can’t help. Thanks!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Rod,

      Just looking over what you have written here seems to indicate your problem is not exclusively a software problem.

      What you are probably running into is a computer resource problem.

      Look at it this way.

      My computer has 8GB of RAM total.

      I should have about 16GB if I really wanted to engage in effortless video editing in high definition but I keep it at 8GB becuase I test software on it. I think that gives me a more accurate “real” view of the world.

      Just starting the computer and booting into Windows 10 means I have already lost 3GB of RAM just to have the thing running!

      If I then open Pinnacle I am up to 3.6GB used and if I add ONE high definition MP4 that is about 3 minutes in duration to the timeline I am up at 3.9GB.

      I have already used half of my available RAM doing pretty well nothing!

      Don’t even get me started on the CPU!

      So without knowing what your input files are there are still some things you can do to give the machine a break.

      If the input files are of a different format or different parameters to the final output then first of all render the project to a final file at the exact same parameters of the original input files.

      Then clear the timeline, add that file you just made and have the software convert that file to a new file at the parameters that you need for a Blu-ray disc.

      Clear the timeline (yes again!) and then go directly to making a disc and use the file you created for that purpose.

      There is no way really to fix the out of sync other than stepping frame by frame through the file and adjusting…. you REALLY don’t want to do that!

      Out of sync like that is 99% of the time caused by the computer falling behind.

      Remember, it is easy for Pinnacle to tell the computer what to do. Whether or not the computer can do it is entirely another matter.

    • Rod

      Thanks, Lance. The source material is mostly a collection of high resolution AVCHD videos, although there are some other formats in there as well. There are also digital photos, audio tracks, transitions, and titles.

      My computer runs Windows 8.1 and has 16GB of RAM, so I’m not sure resources are the problem. I’ve made long videos on this computer for several years using previous versions of Studio with few problems, and it’s relatively fast to render the files. The Blu-Ray module on version 20 seems to be the problem, since I have no audio sync issues with any other output format.

      I tried following your suggestion of converting the final rendered MP4 file directly into Blu-Ray, but that didn’t work…sync was bad. I also tried rendering smaller chunks of the movie directly into Blu-Ray format from the timeline using various settings, and that didn’t work either. Now I am toying with the idea of detaching the audio from the full MP4 file and sliding it left or right to fix the sync. I’ll let you know how that goes.

      • Lance Carr

        Hi Rod,
        You may “possibly” be hitting glitches if the video assets on the timeline are from different sources or are different types of file.

        Usually the timing codes are the actual source of the problem.

        Maybe if you convert all the video files into one type of file first, then complete the project it may be OK.

        To be perfectly honest here, when the term AVCHD pops up there is very often going to be trouble!

        Like all the modern high def video codecs they were designed for distribution and playback with basically no consideration regarding editing.

        Let me know if you get it sorted.

  • Milind Gavkar


    I wish to start video editing of Indian weddings and making youtube videos. I went through plethora of video editing softwares and now I’m totally confused. Can you please guide me in choosing right software?

    Please take note,

    I am new to video editing.
    I will be using the software for pretty long time (say 3-5 years without updating).
    Video will be Full HD.

    My computer system is:

    » AMD FX 8320e (8 core processor)
    » 16 GB 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM (CL 10)
    » 256 GB Samsung EVO SSD (Boot and project files)
    » 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD (For storing recorded media)
    » RX 470 4 GB VRAM Graphics Card

    Project duration will be of approx. 2 hours 30 minutes.

    I read reviews (and watched youtube videos) of following softwares:
    » Cyberlink PowerDirector Suite 15
    » Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate
    » VEGAS Movie Studio 13 Suite
    » Vegas Pro 14

    Which will be the best for the purpose?

  • Tony

    Just bought Studio 20 and I get no video on any video footage from my Sena Prisim Tube action camera it is in the MOV format but everything is great with Gopro videos, open a ticket online still waiting on response. can you help me

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Tony,
      I just took a look around for some info on your helmet cam and although there is not much technical data given I think you are probably having an “Apple vs. Microsoft” moment.

      Gee, ya think these idiots would have stopped this crap by now?

      Most likely the problem is that the cam is producing .mov files which come from the world of Mac and you are trying to use them in the world of Windows.

      Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it does not and it is more to do with the program that created the files than the software you are using or the computer so…

      I am assuming you are just connecting the cam via USB and dragging the video files over to your computer.

      Try taking just one of the files, right clicking it and changing the file extension from .mov to .mp4.

      Ignore the Windows warnings (you can always just change it back) and then see if everyone is playing nice.

      If not change the extension back to .mov and load the file into Pinnacle.

      Don’t do anything with it except export it to an MP4 files with the exact same properties as the .mov file (resolution, frame rate etc).

      Load that file into Pinnacle and see what you have.

      If that works then you will have to “process” all your files like that.

      If it doesn’t work then kick me out an email using the Contact button and we can continue that way as this may get a little off track to the subject of this page.

  • Neil Brooks

    Hi Lance,

    I’m currently using Corel Videostudio X9 Pro to create video projects for various events at the school I work at. While it’s adequate, I use a 4k monitor and its interface is rather small. I also find some of the ways it does things, or the lack of ability to do certain things, such as save clipped segments into individual files without deleting all others first and encoding then undoing that step and repeating, rather tedious.

    Would you recommend switching to Pinnacle Studio 20? Or another video editing software suite?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Neil,
      OK, so first of all let’s address the monitor size thing.

      ALL video editing software interfaces have within them at least some ability to resize various aspects of the interface. When you are doing fine work on the timeline you can resize it up while at the same time reducing the size of the preview and library.

      If you feel the interface is small on a 4K monitor it may be that you need to change the monitor settings, remember that any editing software you use will inherit its display properties from your computer display properties.

      As far as saving clipped segments goes they all behave the same way…. I just checked!

      I totally understand it would be good to be able to just place a cut at the start point and the end point of a segment and immediately save it to a new file but alsa they don’t.

      I never recommend anyone switching from the devil they know to the devil they don’t unless a few criteria are met.

      First, whatever it is that you feel is wrong with the software has been raised as an issue on the relevant user-to-user forum and after that has been identified as a genuine shortcoming.

      Secondly, whatever it is that you feel the software cannot do has also been raised as an issue on the forum and the collective knowledge there has confirmed that the software can’t do it or, the software can do it but it is totally clunky in doing so.

      You are lucky in that VideoStudio has one of the best forums going these days and if those guys can’t guide you through then OK, check out something else.


  • Gina

    I’ve created a smart movie in Pinnacle 20 that included pictures, music and some short video messages for my son’s college graduation. I can’t get it to burn to a DVD – once it gets to the end where the video messages are, I get an error that says, “the export process has experienced problem with the time line and has been canceled”. I have tried opening a ticket for technical support and they are not helpful at all. Please help.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Gina,
      There are possibly two problems causing this to happen.

      The first is that somewhere on the timeline you have a file that is corrupted.

      It could be video or audio… who knows!

      Corruption in the se files can be small and not cause them to be unplayable but when it comes to rendering them into a new project that tiny corruption causes the whole process to fall over.

      Mostly the error lies in the timing code of the file that is in conflict with the new timing code being written for the new file you are trying to render.

      Are all the video files on the timeline from the same source?

      Have you added any audio files to the project that are not already part of a video file? If so what are the properties of those audio files?

      The other problem you may be hitting is that by adding all your assets to the timeline and going through the process of creating the project THEN moving straight into DVD creation you are maxing out the computer’s RAM.

      When you get to the final step of the process instead of directly burning to a DVD choose to export to a DVD Compliant MPEG2 file at high quality.

      Choose a location for the file that you can remember and proceed.

      Once that has finished, clear the timeline or just start a new project and go directly to burning a DVD and use the MPEG2 file to do it.

      If you hit any problems it is probably because of the first thing I mentioned and the only way to sort that out is to one-by-one remove video files and see if it will render correctly.

  • Kerry

    Thanks for the very useful and encouraging review. I have used Pinnacle since 7, and have had intermittent stability issues (esp with 10, which was horrible). I have had 15 for awhile, and recently upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10. With Win 7 I had no issues (except some slowish rendering on my 6-year-old HP), but since I upgraded to Win 10, all of my HD videos have been impossible to work in the program. It takes about 1/2 hour just for the raw videos to assemble and appear on the interface. Then, things get slower! Is Win 10 that much of a change? It consistently tells me when I open Pinnacle that it was installed in a “previous version”, but even after I have uninstalled and reinstalled Pinnacle.

    Online sources say that I need to convert the videos from MTS to MPEG2 or AVI, in order to solve this, but any conversion results in deterioration, not to mention the time it takes to undertake the conversion of my inventory! Does Pinnacle 20 overcome this issue?

    I am considering a computer upgrade, and a recommendation is for “hyperthreading”. I don’t really know what this is, but it is apparently good for video editing. Does Pinnacle 20 support it?

    Thanks again. Your comments will be appreciated.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Kerry,
      OK let’s get Hyper Threading out of the way first!

      What that means is that the processor (the CPU) has been designed to handle multiple actions (threads) at the same time resulting in faster processing.

      It is technology specific to Intel processors but AMD processors of course have a similar function.

      The reason people tend to mention it is that modern high definition video achieves relatively small file size and high quality through the use of compression.

      The word compression makes you think they are squashing an existing file down to a smaller size. The word compression is also used to make you feel more comfortable because you think something awesomely technical is happening just like magic!

      The more truthful term for compression these days would be something like “throwing a whole bunch of stuff away!” Not really as reassuring is it?!

      Simply put modern compression throws repeated data away and leaves a note saying what was thrown away and where to find a copy of it elsewhere in the file.

      When you are playing back the video the software uses the computer’s resources to process the images back to their original form which is reasonably easy to do.

      However when it comes to editing the excrement really hits the rotary oscillator!

      There is an enormous amount of processing work that has to be done during editing and the point where it will all fall over is when the software tells the computer what to do and the computer can’t keep up.

      Hyperthreading is part of the overall picture as far as having the resources to deal with modern HD footage.

      Your problem really is this.

      You have taken an older computer that was probably running Win 7 and Pinnacle 15 OK.

      Now that same computer is trying to run Win 10 with a larger demand on resources and then Pinnacle 15 which is quite out of date and written before Win 10 existed.

      The short story is that you probably need a more Win 10 specific version of Pinnacle to get this all running smoothly.

      • Kerry

        Thanks, Lance, much appreciated. I will acquire a copy of Pinnacle 20, and a new computer. Just one thing left: does Pinnacle 20 support that hyper-threading process, or is that necessary (ie. is the hyper-threading independent of the program)? This will tell me if I gain any advantage in using Pinnacle 20 by spending the extra funds for an i7.

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Kerry,
          Hyperthreading is part of the specifications of the processor and has nothing really to do with the software.

          It is part of the architecture of the i7 CPU that Intel makes and all video software programs I am aware of at the moment are designed to work with that type of processor.

  • Pierre Labonte

    I have VHS tapes which have been converted onto DVD’s. This was done at Costco and it is sent to Fuji for the conversion.
    I want to find out what software to use to transfer some of the clips on these DVD’s, save them to a folder and then burn them onto a blue ray disc.
    I have never done anything like this before, so I consider myself as “a pre-beginner”. I do have a LG burner on my desktop which can also burn onto blue ray discs.I am also a non-teckie.
    Any help or recommendations that you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Pierre,
      The process you are describing is really quite straightforward.
      Just about any editing software mentioned on this site will be able to read the files on your DVDs and import them.

      Those files are in a form called MPEG2 which is the standard file for creating DVDs.

      Now here is the important part.

      Your DVDs are Standard Definition video.

      Blu-ray is designed for high definition.

      If you have the idea that you can transfer those files from the DVD (Standard Definition) and have them burned onto Blu-ray so they will somehow become High Definition you are mistaken.

      You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

      So get back to me so I can help depending on WHY you want to do all this.

  • Richard Schenkman

    Thanks for the review, Lance! I had Pinnacle ages ago and always liked it, but I haven’t kept up with the upgrades…. actually, I thought I was going to make the jump to Avid, but after spending weeks on the tutorial, I just couldn’t make my brain understand it all. So now, years later, I just ordered Pinnacle 20 and I’m hoping to edit my own documentary this coming year. Much appreciated!

  • cramerholic s

    Hi, Lance.
    I shot my pictures with 4000×6000 pixels. I arrange my pictures with special effects/transitions to tell a story after each vacation.
    Under “make movie”, I picked mpeg4 with both full size (best quality) and hd 1020p options. Both ended with pixalated results on large tvs as mentioned in my original post.
    I tried also divx plus hd but I can’t run mkv files on my smart tv or other devices. I can only run it on my pc with vlc media player. So this is not an option for me. Is there a better output option you may suggest?
    Could it be that pinnacle 15, being older, can’t handle 4000×6000 pixels and hence “downgraded” it? If so, would pinnacle 20 avoid this problem since it’s newer. I’m willing to buy 20 but not if it creates same issue for me. Thanks for your help.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi CS,
      Although I can’t be totally certain I am pretty sure your problem is not with the version of Pinnacle you are using.

      The problem may be with the way you are setting up your projects and the resolution of the images you are using combined with the settings for the final file.

      First up if your images are 4000×6000 then they are being taken in “portrait” mode rather than landscape.

      You are then creating them to be seen at 1020p which is a non-standard resolution (HD is 1080p) but more importantly it is a “widescreen” resolution.

      I need to know the following.
      1. What are the settings you are using for the project when you start.
      2. What kind of image files are these? jpg, png, tiff?
      3. What are the exact parameters of the final video file that is showing pixelation? I need bitrate, file type, exact resolution.

      • C S

        Hi Lance,

        1. Not sure if this is what you’re referring to, but the project format is “set from first clip added to project”. This showed 1920×1080, 25 frames/sec, 16:9 progressive.

        Is there a better setting based on the 4000×6000 photos?

        2. my image files are jpg.

        3. the final video is mp4 with frame width 1920 and height 1080. Data rate is 10354kbps. total bitrate is 10535 kbps. Frame rate is 25frames/second.

        Hopefully you can make a suggestion so that I can keep using pinnacle 15. Btw, if I’m using the wrong setting, can I change the setting of my current project and just recreate the movie to improve it? Thanks.

        • Lance Carr

          Exactly where are these images coming from?

          4000 pixels wide by 6000 pixels high is kind of an unusual combination there!

          If they are at that size and Pinnacle is choking on them try. resizing them BEFORE you add them to a project.

          So if a 1920×1080 video is your target try resizing the images to 720×1080 in any image editing program.

          Doing that will maintain the aspect ration of the original images and don’t try to adjust their quality of file size, just the overall dimensions.

          Add some to a project and see if Pinnacle deals with it better.

          • C S

            One other question.
            Under project preference in the setup menu, is there a project format that is preferred? I just use the “set from first clip added to project” option. Thanks.

          • Lance Carr

            Hi CS,
            OK, it seems pretty clear to me that what we have here is a number of confusions regarding how images are handled and what determines their size as opposed to video.

            This conversation is actually drifting a bit off the mark as far as the overall theme of this page goes so….

            Standby for an email so we can get to the bottom of this!

  • CS


    I have pinnacle studios 15 for awhile and used to make home videos. I shoot my pics with a high end camera but I recently noticed that when I put these pics into my videos, it gets downgraded by pinnacle studios. On a monitor, it’s not that noticible, but when I put on it on my 56 inch TV, the pictures look pixelated. Horrible! I know it’s not my pictures because it is very clear and smooth when I put the pictures on the TV without editing with Pinnacle. I realize it’s probably bc of pinnacle 15. So my question is whether pinncacle 20 will downgrade my pictures. Thanks.


    • Lance Carr

      Hi CS,
      Please don’t take this the wrong way but as long as you think any software is causing a problem like this you lose the battle.

      When you say “I shoot my pics” do you mean videos or still images?

      When you say that the final result looks good on a computer monitor but not on a full sized TV screen I have to ask at what resolution did you output the final file?

      Of course it may not be your “pictures” but it certainly sounds like it is what your are telling Pinnacle to do that is the problem.

      The software is not making decisions, the human running the software is making the decisions.

      The software in most cases is only doing what you told it to do.

  • Kenneth

    Mr. Lance, you gusy are so savvy in this business. I simply want to make home videos for DVD . I used an older Pinnacle version (cannot remember which one it was) and did fine with it. Made some great videos. Of course with Win 10, it wouldn’t work any longer. I now have a laptop that does not have a DVD player. Would this version of Pinnacle suffice for what I want to do and can I transfer what I make from Pinnacle on this computer to another one that has a DVD player? Or do I have to download Pinnacle on the computer with the DVD player?

    Also, I noticed in an earlier post that you are now living in Taiwan. We adopted our son from Taiwan. Stayed a week there and loved the people. Hopefully we can get back there someday. Thank in advance for your reply!

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Kenneth,
      Pinnacle comes with an integrated (but still separate) Disc authoring program called Pinnacle MyDVD.

      Given that the computer you want to use for editing does not have a DVD burner on it is still no problem as long as you have access to a computer somewhere that does.

      Your workflow would be to use Pinnacle on your laptop to create your final video.

      Then choose the Author Tab, add the file and choose to send it to MyDVD.

      There you can do all the Chapters and Menus and when you have finished you will see two output choices at the bottom right of the MyDVD screen.

      The normal choice is to “Burn” the DVD but because you don’t have a burner you select the other option which is to create an ISO file.

      Once the iso file is created you save that off on to a USB stick or storage card and transfer it to the computer that has a DVD burner.

      To burn the iso file to a useable DVD follow these instructions:

  • I’ve been using Studio since 6. That’s some weeks ago now. I’ve threatened to leave many times especially after buying a new release and then spending hours on the forum, but someone always seemed to have problems with the software I was considering. Why should I be the one who identifies their bugs?

    I’m on 17 a the moment and like it but on Win7 it was less than utterly stable. Since ‘upgrading’ to Win10 it has, rather remarkably, settled a bit.

    I only pay for upgrades so changing to another product will probably cost a bit more.

    So is it worth upgrading to 20 for someone like me who’s keen, wants stability, and has just moved on to 4k video? Or should I try something different?

    Apart from domestic filming, all I use video for is to get people to my website.

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Derek,
      To me the upgrade question always presents a bit of a problem to really answer in a meaningful way.

      If you are on 17 at the moment and you are dealing with 4K videos just fine then I see no reason to upgrade from an operational point of view.

      However if within the updates from then, i.e. 18, 19, 20 there have been features added that you like then sure, the upgrade could be something for you to think about.

      As far as abandoning ship and switching to another piece of software goes I am nearly always against that.

      Financially it sets you back a few steps and learning the new software is usually a pain.

      Whether or not 20 is more stable than what you have is impossible to tell in reality.

      Theoretically it should be more stable because I know Corel have been working on stability over all other considerations when it comes to development.

      If this was my decision I would probably wait until 21 if I was doing fine with 17. The reason being to continue getting the discounted upgrades.

  • Olivier Smeesters

    Thanks for this review and for this very well documented website. It definitely stands high in my bookmarks list. Based on this review, I decided to spend some bucks buying Studio 20 Ultimate to replace my current Lightworks installment.
    Having tried previous versions of some Pinnacle video editors, I can recognize the philosophy of those products which already drew a lot of attention on the organisation of the assets. The main editor looks very nice and there is an abundance of provided effects, titles and transitions (even when you know that you mostly need cut, dissolve and fade to black).
    I have not yet tried it all but the Multi-Cam Editor seems like an semi-integrated external editor: it has a different UI, it does not recognize in/out points marked in the main app, neither does it use the markers set there but insists on using its own.
    And when it comes to crashes, unfortunately, they are not completely gone: enabling the Smart Proxy generation in the Multi-Cam Editor systematically crashes the editor and leaving the main app unresponsive (to be kicked out with “End Task” button of Task Manager).
    I’ve contacted their support. Let’s hope they find a solution to this issue. Will keep you posted…

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Olivier,
      Yes you are correct in assuming the Multi-cam editor is somewhat of a standalone feature that is partly integrated with the main program.

      The reasoning behind this is that once you have your core program, every time you fully incorporate another feature into that core it results in slightly slower loading times and more RAM being occupied.

      Given the enormous demand that highly compressed HD video already places on the computer, a line has to be drawn somewhere!

      So you will notice these days that many video editors are using plugins or separate modules that are accessible through the main interface and are integrated in their application but do not form part of the core program.

      As far as the multi-cam module itself goes, it has only recently been released into the wild so there are probably still some glitches!

  • Jonathan Hamelin

    Great review! I’m trying to decide between Pinnacle 20 and PowerDirector 15 and I’m leaning a bit towards Cyberlink because most reviews say it has been a more solid product. I’m mainly interested in 360 editing, especially to convert into a regular video. Both products seem to do that. I also noticed that Pinnacle has a really cool stop motion feature. Does Cyberlink even do that (aside from manually adding in photos?)

    Lastly, I live in Japan, and am a bit worried about language because I have bought products here in the past only to find that they only use Japanese language even though the software company is often from the USA or some other speaking country. Do you know if that is a problem with either of the two products?

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Jonathan,
      Yes, PowerDirector has a Stop Motion feature as well. Like I say on another part of the site, you would be pretty hard pressed to find a feature in one that isn’t actually somewhere in the other!

      My take on the 360 degree feature I think that CyberLink are marginally ahead so far on that one.

      And finally, I am Australian, living in Taiwan. I have had no problem with any of these programs regarding language.

      For language purposes they tend to ignore the location and follow the language set in the computer operating system.

      • Jonathan Hamelin

        Hi Lance,

        Thanks for the response! I wasn’t very clear about the stop motion. I meant, stop animation. With Pinnacle Studio, you hook your camera directly to your computer and can activate it’s features. I looked for something similar with PowerDirector but couldn’t find anything on that. The stop motion feature it has is completely different in that it slows down regular video in a frame by frame situation.

        I did briefly try the PowerDirector trial version and noticed that I could select English, but I’ve been fooled in the past. It was a little bit frustrating to get the trial version but then not be able to load in my 360 video, though. (I have to buy the software to try that particular feature out).

        I’m mainly interested in editing my 360 video to appear as a regular video, but where I can control the angles. Since I have a very cheap camera, I’m not too worried about the quality, so I doubt either Pinnacle or Cyberlink will matter too much in the short run, but I just thought that the stop animation feature that Pinnacle was offering was really cool. In the end, though, I’m more worried about stability since I was really put off with my old Ulead software that continually crashed when I had to upgrade my computer.

        • Lance Carr

          Hi Jonathan,
          I see what you mean.

          As far as 360 goes no-one can really tell moving forward who is going to end up as the best.

          However if I was forced to put my money on one contender then PowerDirector would be the one I would gamble on.

          The “View Designer” module is actually exactly what you are looking for allowing you to use segments from specific angles in a normal project.

          On the stop motion thingy are we talking about time lapse here?

          Finally crashing…. they ALL crash at some point!!!

          It’s a matter of finding one that crashes LESS! Hehehe!

          • Jonathan

            Hi Lance,

            Since the 360 function is the most important for me now, I think I will buy Powerdirector then as I was already leaning towards that already.

            I was just really interested in the stop animation feature that Pinnacle had. I have no use for it now, but it looks like a blast to play around with.


            *sigh* I know errors and crashing.

            As I kept looking for answers, it seems that the cyberlink support group is a bit larger than the Pinnacle support group, so perhaps when (not if) I run into problems someone out there may be able to help me 🙂

            Anyway, thanks for your advice!

  • Frank

    Pinnacle Studio 20 is offered for users of older versions as an upgrade with a nice discount. However I am hesitant to upgrade. The test clearly says, that Studio 20 now finally leaves it’s buggy/crashing times behind. I am afraid, that the upgrade might not wipe my old version but simply builds on the core of my version 17 and therefore remains unstable and buggy. Does anyone know if this would be the case or if the upgrade would provide a fresh to the core version of Studio 20

    • Lance Carr

      Hi Frank,
      Ah yes I feel your pain!

      OK, so let’s really look at this situation.

      Probably the first thing to understand is that when Corel bought Pinnacle they knew absolutely that the user base had more than its fair share of disgruntled customers!

      So when I said in the Review that Corel had put a lot of work into the software I wasn’t just guessing there! I have spoken to guys at Corel (off the record) and they knew they had to get it under control and fast.

      For them, buying Pinnacle and keeping everyone pissed off was not really considered to be a good business plan!

      So their first couple of versions were really only that… taming the code.

      It hasn’t really been until version 20 that they have added anything or reworked any existing features so I am very confident in recommending it to anyone.

      Having said that I totally understand you apprehension in upgrading and worrying that it won’t fully trash all the old stuff… including the bugs!

      I would do this:
      1. Make sure you a copy of the original installation files of Version 17 PLUS your activation key. (You can reinstall later if you need to.)

      2. Save off any videos, audio or images you may want to use to a separate folder on the hard drive.

      3. Uninstall version 17 totally.

      4. Do a search on your computer for files and folders with the names, corel, pinnacle, pinnacle system, pinsys. Delete them all.

      5. Search Google for Ccleaner, download and install the free version.

      6. Run the Cleaning part of Ccleaner to get rid of junk on your hard drive.

      7. Run the Registry Cleaner in Ccleaner over and over until there are no results showing.

      8. Shut down, restart and then run the Registry cleaner another time again until you get no result.

      9. Download the trial version of Pinnacle Studio 20 and play with it. Try to repeat actions that you know have caused crashes in the past.

      10. If all OK and you are happy, upgrade.

      11. If you still get bugs/crashes, come back to this thread and let me know what happened.

  • Sir.Lloyd C. Kirkland

    If you had to choose between Pinnacle Studio 20 and Cyberlinks 15. which would you choose?
    My biggest thing is stability

    Thanks for all the awesome reviews by the way:)

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