News from Corel this week that they have just released a mid-version update for their end-to-end video editing software suite, VideoStudio.
Most editing software makers release a major version each year and supplement that version with intermittent hotfixes and patches throughout the year until the next version is released.
For a couple of years now Corel has been doing things a little differently.
Just so we are all on the same page, a hotfix is generally a small update to the existing version that is issued when a specific bug has been isolated and reproduced enough times to qualify as a bug.
Very often hotfixes are released because despite everyone’s best efforts someone managed to do something or have a computer setup that wasn’t foreseen.
On top of hotfixes we also have patches.
Patches or Service Packs are generally issued after the program has been released into the wild for a while and various little niggles have arisen.
They are often the result of outside factors changing such as file protocols, operating system updates and other hardware and software glitches.
The fixes for these are gathered into one update and issued as a patch or a Servise Pack.
Corel used to do this just like everyone else but over the past few years have added a little mid-year bonus to the arrangement.
So the announcement this week was that VideoStudio Pro has been updated from version X9 to X9.5.
They have added 40 more templates to the MyDVD module to enhance the creation of professional looking DVD menus and screens.
The Motion Tracking module has had the underlying engine enhanced to improve its performance as well as the usual fixes for other bugs and glitches that may have come to light.
Additionally they have made significant improvements to the Multi-Cam editing module (not that it really needed it) with smoother zooming performance, better synchronization of clips and a new source manager to make using it easier.
The important thing to note here is that none of these enhancements have been introduced because the existing module or function wasn’t working.
Corel could have just sat on them until the new version release much later in the year… but they didn’t.
This goes a long way in understanding why I like this software and why it has been one of my top choices for a few years now.
Pinnacle Studio Back from the Dead
One of the things that a lot of people have commented on regarding this site is that I haven’t included a number of well know video editing software brands in the Video Editing Software Reviews section of the site.
Probably the biggest elephant in the room is Pinnacle Studio.
Given the sheer size of the Pinnacle Studio market share one would think that it would be a no brainer for me to include it here.
So here’s the deal.
When video editing became accessible to the masses with the advent of digital video files there were a few early software makers that jumped on the bandwagon and started development.
Most of these developers saw the market as being strictly for the pro’s given that at the time you needed access to expensive equipment to record the files and a computer with a decent amount of grunt to then edit them.
As a result the major players tended to aim their products at the pro end of the market and this gave rise to products like Avid , Creative Software’s editor that later became Sony Creative Vegas, Adobe’s Premiere Pro and others.
There were a few developers that attempted to approach the subject from the consumer point of view and easily the most successful in that market was Pinnacle Studio.
Now just because everyone bought that early software doesn’t necessarily mean it was any good.
In fact it was awful!
The great difficulty for Pinnacle was that it was in a new and very rapidly developing digital area.
The Windows operating systems of the time were barely able to deal with a whole range of required processes and really, it was a case of everyone stumbling around trying to make it all work.
As the years passed more competitors entered the market, Windows improved significantly and very soon Pinnacle found itself falling behind.
The answer to that mainly lies in the fact that Pinnacle was based on concepts derived from the world of professional film editing which was a far cry from the market they were targeting.
It was an attempt to kind of “dumb down” existing methods rather than approach the subject from the perspective of the target market.
Sony did the same thing when they tried to develop a simpler version of Vegas for the consumer market and it wasn’t until they separated Sony Move Editor into it’s own development stream that they made any real progress.
Pinnacle also suffered from a lack of resources to aggressively redevelop the underlying code of the software to match the ever changing environments in which it was operating.
The result of all of this was that Pinnacle became known as being buggy, crashy and notoriously unreliable.
In the past I have revisited the software a few times to check what the state of it was and found that nothing had really changed all that much with it.
So that’s why it has never made it on to this site.
A few years back Pinnacle was bought by Avid and I am guessing that Avid could see the potential in the consumer end of the market and figured Pinnacle would be a good foot in the door for them.
In hindsight this was a pretty dumb move because in order to get Pinnacle up and running it was always going to take two major factors.
First of these was that the software needed to be fully stipped down and rebuilt.
This takes time and money and I don’t think Avid were either in a position to do it or had the desire to do it.
The second factor was that the abovementioned stripping and rebuilding would have to be done with a sharp insight into the consumer market as opposed to the pro market.
Avid clearly did not have this and just buying an existing piece of software is not going to get that expertise for you.
Simply put it was a deal that was doomed from the outset.
Cut to a few years later when Avid had realized the error of their ways in buying Pinnacle and along came Corel ready to snap it up, which they did.
The acquisition of Pinnacle from Avid by Corel happened back in 2012 so it has been with some interest that I have been following their progress with the software.
Initially Corel looked to be engaging in putting out brushfires with their various new releases and patches for the software most likely in an effort to get it stable.
What they were also doing at the same time was swapping out parts of the software and replacing it with whole sections of their already stable VideoStudio product.
To this day Pinnacle still shares a some of its functionality with VideoStudio.
It was probably around the time of their last new version that something became quite clear about how Corel were going to be moving forward with it.
Some major rewrites occurred and most importantly the style of the software was continuing to remain the same.
This showed the Corel saw Pinnacle as a product unto itself and were not going to be eventually merging it and it’s user base into their existing VideoStudio user base.
Because of that and because of the substantial development in the software has undergone I have decided to take a fresh look at Pinnacle Studio to see where we are.
Right now they are lining up for a major new release so when that happens I’ll be taking a look at it with fresh eyes and we shall see just we we are with Pinnacle.
6 Elements of Boosting Engagement in your Online Community
There was a time way back in the dark ages of the interwebs that all you had to do to get a gazillion views and followers on YouTube was to actually make a video and upload it.
Sadly those days are long, long gone!
These days YouTube has grown into an absolute behemoth as far as the number of uploaded videos goes and the rate at which new video is being uploaded doesn’t look like slowing down any time in the foreseeable future.
YouTube is just not what it was back in the day!
This certainly doesn’t mean that the rewards available from that service are completely out of reach but it does mean you have to be bringing your A game to the party to get anywhere.
There is a finite list of things you simply must attend to in order to lift yourself in the ranks of “everybody else!”
To get above that level, which is where you need to be you have to cover that exact same list with the difference being that you do it better.
This applies to the content you create, the way you present it, your video and channel optimization and your promotion.
You not only have to do it, you have to do it better.
One aspect of this that is becoming more and more important as time passes and the volume of videos increases is engagement.
If you have a million (not an exaggeration) possible videos that YouTube can serve up to a user based on a search then YouTube has to find a way of sorting them all out into some kind of importance.
It used to be that your optimization steps would do the trick but now that probably only eliminates about 500,000 of those results!
So now we still have 500,000 to sort so YouTube has placed particular attention on how much interaction your videos and your channel are getting to work out who goes on top.
One of the best sources of information I know of for learning the ins and outs of YouTube is Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators and this week’s video is no exception.
Learning Camera Basics for Video
To a very great extent most of us in the world of the amateur video shooter and editor are trapped in point and shoot mode.
This is mainly through necessity rather than a lack of desire to do otherwise.
The average person shooting video these days does not have the luxury of time to set up a shot, adjust the manual settings of the camera and still get the footage they want.
You can do this possibly to a small degree for some shots at family events or similar but let’s face it, most of the time we are just banging away in point and shoot mode in a desperate attempt to get enough footage to be able to later piece something together.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should give up on the idea altogether though! In fact if you can manage to grab some manually setup footage and incorporate it into your auto stuff you can really get a lift in the appearance of any project you are engaged in.
The key to being able to do this is that you have to know at least a few basic settings and setups and you need to know how to arrive at them fast.
If you can pull someone aside at an event or gathering and do a fast accurate take of a conversation, or a simple shot or someone answering a question you are well on the way.
Of course as I said earlier, the key to it is being fast and in order to get fast you need to be able to manually set things up and execute with seed.
There are two steps to doing this.
The first step is knowing cold what the basic manual settings are of the camera you are using and what effect each one achieves.
And the second is practicing over and over how to get to those settings, lock them in and set up your shot.
Below is a link to a video cheat sheet from Tom Antos covering some of these things.
You don’t have to learn all of them before you start.
Just take one setting.
Understand what it does and then go out and practice shifting from Auto mode to manual, getting the setting right and then getting the shot.
Once you get one under your belt, move on to another and another.
Pretty soon you will have a little box of tricks that can take your videos from mundane point and shoot projects up to a higher level.