Monday, December 8, 2014

Pinnacle Studio 18

Pinnacle Studio 18 review

We upgraded to Pinnacle Studio 18 recently, and wow I'm glad we did. We have the Ultimate version which is made to work with 64 bit computers. This makes a huge impact on the actual editing process, as everything is much snappier--adding titles, adding special effects, working with video footage--everything is much faster. So far it doesn't seem to make that much of a difference in the actual rendering of the dvd project, but it's well worth it for the actual video editing.

There are alot of really nice extra effects including some effects packs from New Blue. They are ones that most video editors will use daily, and seem to be geared for the types of family and business editing that most of us do.

Studio 18 includes support for HD and 4K (if your computer is fast enough to work with those types of files); includes izotope music and speech cleaner; allows for bluray disc creation (if you have a bluray burner); includes 3D features (which we never use); includes 2000 transitions, effects, templates and menus; allows for unlimited editing tracks for superior editing capabilities; works with Sonifire music if you buy the optional plugin (and you've updated to the latest patches); includes Scorefitter and some other free royalty free music; photo slideshow features; and many other features.

We had been using Studio 16 for quite a long time, and it worked pretty well but was made for 32 bit computers. For our video to dvd transfer projects it worked quite well. We decided to upgrade to Pinnacle Studio 17 and it was a disaster--the program was crashing constantly and caused us enough grief to return it for a refund. We were a bit skeptical to upgrade to Studio 18 but now we're in video editing heaven!

We normally don't recommend new products so quickly, but Studio 18 is definitely ready for prime time. Give it a shot--you can request a refund within the first 30 days if it doesn't meet your video to dvd editing needs.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Scripting a Video DVD Project

One of the best ways to create a perfect DVD keepsake using video footage, photos and text is to write a video script. For our customers, most will send us a variety of photographs (regular or digital--each numbered), family videotapes, and a written script. The script helps our video editors to give customers the exact DVD in the order that they want. After we scan any physical photographs, we follow the customer script.

A sample video dvd script looks like the following sample:

1. Place a title "Smith Family Memories"
2. Fade in to photo #27
3. Use the first 5 minutes of tape #3
4. Fade in to a title "Emily's Birth 1967"
5. Use the first 12 minutes of tape #1
Etc. etc.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Convert Video Files Before Creating a DVD

Many times a video file that you want to use to create a DVD is in a different format than the other video files you are using for your project. For the vast majority of DVD projects, it is best to convert all of your video files to the mpeg2 format.

There are many free programs that will convert your video files to mpeg2. One of the best is a small program called Handbrake. Use it to convert each of your video files to mpeg2 first, and then import these newly converted files into your DVD creation software. It will make for a much easier time making your DVD.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Helpful Tip for Pinnacle Studio 16

If you're having trouble when video editing with Studio 16, especially if you have trouble with the program not responding when using the Title editor and/or any of the video effects, change your Windows theme to the most basic so that Aero is completely turned off. You'll be surprised how much of a difference this makes when doing your video to dvd project.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate First Impressions

1. We're running Studio 16 Ultimate on a Vista 32 bit laptop with a good video card (Nvidia 8600M GT). We set the playback optimization slider to 25 (in the control panel under preview) and effects and transitions are quickly rendered in the background for smooth playback while editing. We also have the preview quality set to "fastest playback".

2. The ability to add custom collections in the library is awesome. We made a custom collection "favorite transitions" and put all of the transitions used the most in that collection. Now we can easily get to those through the library without having to scroll through ALL of the transitions.

3. For some reason if we run Studio 16 as "administrator" we see an marked increase in performance. Not sure why, but it's definitely noticeable.

4. In the control panel under storage locations, there is a button all the way at the bottom to "delete render files" and IT ACTUALLY WORKS! It actually deletes the render files!

5. The included video tutorials are excellent.

6. We like the feature that can toggle on/off transitions length using the dynamic button (to the left of the magnet). We have transitions length set to 1 second so when we drag transitions between clips it stops at the set length. When we want a longer transition, all we have to do is click the dynamic button, insert a transition to a length that we want, and can click the dynamic button back again so future transitions are at our set length.

7. LOVE the storyboard track and the checkmarks that show which items from the library are in a project.

8. The jog shuttle is excellent. If you move it just slightly to the left or right, you can move very slowly through the footage.

9. When you double click on a video source file, you can click on "transition in" or "transition out", choose your transition from that screen, move the white slider to increase the length of the transition and watch the transition into or out of your clip right on that screen. Nice.

10. When you double click on a photo or video and choose "corrections", there are tons choices to make adjustments (such as removing red eye), and these corrections are saved only in the project (so the original file is not affected).

11. You can change the aspect ratio of the project at ANY time and the timeline will re-render to the new ratio. Awesome.

12. When you hover over many of the buttons, you get a tooltip box where in most cases you can watch a video of the feature you're trying to use. Very, very helpful.

13. You can customize the toolbar to hide any features that you normally don't use. Makes for less clutter, and you can always add them back later.

14. The installation process takes longer than other versions, but you don't have to add all of those activation keys during the install. All of the Ultimate features are already activated during the installation. Since we already have Studio 15 and Avid Studio on this laptop, Studio 16 also entered the previous activation keys from those programs into Studio 16.

One feature that we would like to see is that when using the storyboard above the timeline, it would be SO handy to be able to drop transitions between source clips/photos right on the storyboard.