With digital camcorders and video editing software falling in price all the time, you don’t need to be Roman Polanski to make your own movies these days. Ulead’s VideoStudio has been at the forefront of the budget video software market for some time now and this latest releases promises even more value for hard-up users looking to make music videos, spruce up their home movies, or produce documentaries on their life.
Slow-mo and star wipes
The application certainly looks good on paper, with a host of new tools for working with HD media, as well as a bevy of templates, video effects and filters, and capturing tools. There are three different apps bundled with the suite, catering for different needs and skill levels, including Movie Wizard and DV-to-DVD Wizard. However, it’s the main utility, VideoStudio Editor, where all the action happens.
The program certainly boasts some decent editing features and effects, including an extended storyboard to view and organize scenes (alongside the ubiquitous timeline), easy freeze frame options, an extra large preview window, customizable title and text templates, multiple audio tracks to allow for voice narration and a music score (along with a balancer to make sure your levels are never off), and built-in instrumental scores to fit the length of your movie. The user interface doesn't do too bad a job at making all of these features easy to tap into, but it will still take most virgin film producers a while to grasp the basics.
Stutters and stalls
There’s no doubt that with a little practice, you can conjure up some good looking creations with this package, but you’re sure to experience a few setbacks along the way. The main problem with VideoStudio has always been its strain on your system memory and unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have been addressed properly in this version. Load times are cripplingly slow and, unless you’re using a NASA computer, previewing complex edits can be horrible experience, with clips and audio jumping and lagging frequently.
Other annoyances include the fact that you can’t fast forward and rewind from the scene preview window, and the zoom facility on the timeline is not nearly powerful enough. Strangely, considering its support for the new HD disc format, Ulead appears to have neglected to include support for Blu-Ray too. Another point worth mentioning is that several Softonic users have hammered the technical support as being very poor, with many people reporting that their queries are consistently unanswered. Come on Ulead, if you’re going to bring out a program which sometimes falls over then at least give the customer a bit of help to put things right.
Video creation on a budget
Despite its flaws, VideoStudio has enough features to enable the creation of fairly sophisticated videos, and it’s pretty easy to use once you get acquainted with the interface. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for reliability then you’d probably be best off looking at one of the other budget editing apps such as Adobe Premiere Elements or PowerDirector.