Monday, February 23, 2009
With HD video now available in D-SLRs, we take a look at the best affordable programs for producing video portfolios of images, movies and multimedia projects
Corel’s VideoStudio X2 offers the time-saving Movie Wizard mode for automated, full-length edits in only a few clicks. Alternatively, the VideoStudio Editor provides more extensive options with clip dragging, resizable interface windows, and large dialog boxes and controls. The Painting Creator allows editors to draw, paint or write on video, and other creative solutions include transition and overlay tracks, auto panning and zooming, title background animation, and templates for movies and DVD menus.
VideoStudio Pro X2 adds to the features of VideoStudio X2 by adding Blu-ray authoring, NewBlue Film Effects for filters that provide “old film”-style looks and advanced MPEG-4 encoding for smaller files that are easier to e-mail and faster to upload and view on websites. A Photo & Video Bundle is also available with Corel’s Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate. List Price: $69 (VideoStudio X2); $99 (Pro X2); $149 (Photo & Video Bundle).
MoviePlus X3 from Serif uses an easy-to-understand sequential approach with its Storyboard interface to piece together movies quickly. Videos and still photos can be combined with easy edits, special-effects additions, drag-and-drop transitions, trimming and zooming. For more complex projects, the Timeline mode provides a flexible solution for mixing frame-accurate clips, images and audio with context-sensitive, button-accessible tools. Timeline skimming is also available for faster review of edits, a dual-Timeline mode provides accurate previewing, and there are thumbnail stills for keeping track of the project’s layout.
Workspace panes can be hidden or resized for better viewing, and on-screen guides provide tips, tricks and techniques. Effects include video overlays, picture-in-picture, masking for cutting out areas of the video, time and reversal playback effects, backgrounds that can be inserted behind the subject (as well as bluescreen capability for easy removal of backgrounds), animated titles, color, brightness and contrast adjustments, and re-creation of popular styles like diffuse glow and old film. There are audio effects, as well, including frequency gates and compressors for controlling volume, stereo panning and channel swapping, and reverb, bass and treble controls. List Price: $79.
Nero 9 is as much a multimedia suite as it is a video-editing solution. The interface provides editing features through the StartSmart command center with one-click tabs for playback, ripping, burning, copying and backup functions. Video-editing tools include color correction, transitions, text effects, soundtrack and special audio effects, and a Movie Wizard for a selection of templates that includes special occasion themes like birthdays, holidays and weddings. Files can be exported to video cameras, e-mail attachments and for playback on iPods, PlayStation Portables and online.
Nero 9 also acts as a media center. The included Nero Live application provides television viewing and recording on your PC, clips of which can be edited into your videos. An Ad Spotter will automatically detect and remove commercials from recorded video, too, and the Movie Grabber feature will search for music clips in video and convert them into WAV or MP3 files for later listening. Nero offers a Blu-ray disc-authoring plug-in, as well. List Price: $79 (Nero 9 Download); $99 (Retail Box); $9 (Blu-ray plug-in).
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