"very Intuitive"on by beullar
Pros Intuitive, easy navigation, fast, stable, excellent Video Filtering
Cons insufficient audio tools, .VSP files not compatible with Movie factory 4
Summary I try all new video editing and DVD Authoring software as soon as it is released. So far Video Studio 9 has performed better than any comparable software on the market. Roxio 7.5 is good and has better integration and audio editing, but its VideoWave and DVD authoring programs are not as capable as Uleads. Pinnacle is a buggy mess that has NEVER produced a complete project without multiple crashes or freezes, Cyberlink is ok for basic editing and Adobe Premiere Elements is counter-intuitive and much more difficult to navigate. Video Explosion V 1.5 is one of the better programs (identical to Sony’s Vegas) but needs to be updated.
With that said, Ulead’s VS 9 has a very intuitive interface with loads of transitions and video filters. All effects and filters are editable to suite your project. I have worked with it for about 3 weeks now and produced a number of projects (slideshows and videos) and found it to perform almost flawlessly. My only complaint is that it needs much better audio editing tools. Something that will allow it to blend or splice sound tracks would be nice. Every project produced has worked flawlessly. Render times for a 20 minute video on my machine were about 20 minutes and that was after adding multiple filters and transitions with a motion menu. (My system is a P IV 3.2 Mhz, 1 Gig Kingston Hyper X mem, RAID 0 array with 2 x 10,000 RPM Raptor 36 Gig HDs and a 200 Gig ATA 133, 7200 RPM Hd for video storage and working and ATI 9800 PRO AIW 128 Mb video card).
Overall, I found this to be the best program for the hobbyist or beginner. At least download the free version and compare it to the others.
A word of advice. This program will NOT burn a disc if you have Roxio on your system. Roxio must be removed or you will not be able to burn a disc. Also, if you purchase Ulead Movie Factory 4, be advised that it will not import the Ulead VS 9 .VSP files. You will have to render any project to an mpg file then import it to MF 4. This limitation is only with VS 9 VSP files and not with previous versions of VS. Ulead is fixing this problem
Pros Simple user-interface anyone can master. High-quality, easy to use effects including 3D transitions, masks, p-i-p, animated titles, multi-track audio /video. Lots of extra content.. Never crashes!
Cons Expensive, does not support DivX, MPEG-4 plugin costs an additional $30.
Summary Believe it or not, I auditioned half a dozen consumer level video editing programs (Pinnacle, Magix, Intervideo, ArcSoft, Roxio, Ulead) before deciding to go with Ulead VideoStudio 9. Although all of these applications share a good deal of common ground, each has it's own unique features (and in some cases, serious issues). In the end it comes down to selecting a product that has the best "overall" fit versus your needs. Of all the editing programs I demo'd, VideoStudio 9 seems to offer the best balance of user simplicity and professional style features. The "multi-cut" editing interface (used for manually cutting a long segment of video footage into individual clips) is by far the best of any program I tested. This is a very critical feature if you plan on removing commercials from TV show recordings or editing lengthy wedding/event footage. Additionally, UVS9 is built around a solid foundation that (unlike many similar programs) is nearly crash proof. Although the preview mode can be a bit choppy (especially if 3D transitions are used), the final output to file or disc is excellent. If you plan on creating videos for for your portable player or Sony PSP you'll have to fork out an additional $30 for the optional (download) MPEG-4 output plugin.
Before deciding to spend your $100 on **any** editing program I definitely recommend doing some homework. At the very least, read user reviews at CNET and amazon to get a feel for the general performance of each application. You'll be surprised to learn that some of the best known applications are riddled with crashing problems, a/v sync issues, and overly complicated procedures which more or less negate whatever "great" features are offered. Also, choose a program that has a active on-line user forum. No matter what program you choose you'll probably have some questions and relying on the developer's email tech-support for fast answers will be a frustrating experience.
Pros Easy steps through whole process, stable, no crashes
Cons People totally new to editing will take time to learn program.
Summary I have used VideoStudio 5 (unstable) and 8 (slower rendering), Windows Movie Maker (few features), Pinnacle Studio 9. This beats them all. There is a lot to like about PS 9, but it crashed often on rendering and burning discs. VideoStudio 9 proved to be stable. I haven't even begun to use all of it's features, especially the automated ones. Adding audio smart sound trax works great, as they automatically fit themeselves to the video. Audio "rubberbanding" (dragging a line to increase or decrease volume levels) is intuitive and very useful. Haven't yet used the "blue screen" effects, but look forward to fun effects with this feture. Pan and scan on photos works easily and ads motion to static pics. I highly recommend this product. Reviewers that give it lower ratings simply for not working with their particular hardware have to realize this is often the fault of the the hardware manufacturer or drivers. I only wish they had more dvd menu templates, or user created ones were downloadable.
Pros Intuitive controls. Stable platform. Large preview screen. Animated Text.
Cons would like to be able to simply place transition in the front/end.
Summary I have spent several hours over 3 weeks reviewing several demos of Sony Vegas, Studio-9+, Ulead VS9, PowerDirector, ProShow producer, and Adobe Elements. Each has its pros/cons, but you will find that VS9 has the most balanced, easy to use, functional and stable program available.
My purpose is to edit 4:3 and 16:9 home videos using a 3chip Sony PC-1000 and get them on DVD; with the addition of slide shows from the photos taken on my 5MB Cannon camera. I wanted the best of both worlds... I needed a simply, easy to use program that allowed me to do professional transitions/fades with "Hollywood text". Videos would need slowly fading or moving titles/text. Stills required slow pan/zoom and music required easy to adjust fades to fit the slide show.
ProShow producer was purchased from a friend and "in his review" was the best slideshow producer, but it does NOT capture video and takes several minutes to load a short 1 min video file before allowing me to edit it. i.e. not good for home movies.
Sony Vegas was a very stable product allowing smooth fades. The problem was that it is too professional with no storyboard to get a global view of the project. The timeline was frustrating because the image and fades keep running into each other as you move things around. The ripple did not help with this. i.e. too professional with little room for error when editing.
Adobe elements was well liked in the editor and user reviews. It was reported as the best for professional editing. My problem was that there was no storyboard and the images on the timeline were tiny on my 17" monitor. The layout of the screen was adjustable, but it left most everything at your fingertips. As a beginner it was a mess of clutter. This is similar to my experience with Adobe Photoshop. Very powerful, but the learning curve is very steep. i.e. too complex for the above average consumer.
Cyberlink PowerDirector was great for the simple minded. Problem is that is leaves little room for adjustments. Pan/zoom of stills were Wizard automatic, but you could not adjust the way it pan/zoomed. It has both a timeline and storyboard. Because it was to restrictive, I did not spend much time in this. I found this program listed as the "gold" winner in a top-10-review dot com something, but I completely dissagree.
This top-10-review did recommend studio-9 as a "bronze" winner and Ulead SV9 as a "silver" winner. In my review, these are the top two products under $100 for DVD home moview and slide shows.
Studio-9 does not have pan/zoom, but studio-9+ does. Studio 10 is the latest version, but I have read that you should RUN from this because of its poor stability and known problems with crashing and freezing. Studio 10 was not available as a demo, likely because of all these serious issues. Nonetheless, 9+ was available as a demo. It has a preview 16:9 screen, but the screen is small in the upper right-hand corner. It has timeline as a three line storyboard to help you "see" the project better. Pan/zoom must be individually set. Setting pan/zoom is a guess, because it does not show you the original image, nor does it give you a numerical % zoom; so you just have to play with the clip to get it right. Video/audio fades were easy and you can put any transition at the beginning and end for a smooth transition. Numerous transition (standard and Hollywood) are available, but crossfades are the most clean without being too busy/cheasy. Also the transitions are not "motion" icons, so you either have to remember the effect or click on them to see what it really does. Titles are few, but you can put a transition in the beginning/end to give it some pizzaz. It does have audio filters, but the noise and wind filters were not very effective with my windy day at the park clip. DVD menus are a pain the micromanipulate. I found it cumbersome to mark every chapter and link every thumbnail. The smallest con is the capture screen; it shows a ugly/bulky camcorder...looks nothing like a my sleek PC-1000. Summary: Studio 9 Plus is a very good product, but I really wanter the latest software. Unfortunately all the abysmal reviews scared me away from Pinnacle.
Finally, Ulead VS9...This was the best program for several reasons, but first the con. You cannot add a transition in the beginning or end of an image/clip; only between images. So the only way to fade the project in and out is to add a black "color image" and slip a transition in between so that it will fade to black, or any color you choose. The preview screen is wonderful, but when you edit in 16:9, it keep the monitor a 4:3 size. (this is a very small quirk).
The PROS... the preview monitor if medium size and sits right in the middle. No squinting to see you project/clip and it shows it in medium-resolution. You can also enlarge the monitor to fill 80% of your screen; the resolution is still very good (unlike Studio9+) and it has the play/pause/stop controls still on the screen (unlike Studio9+). This was a very thoughtful design. Timeline and Storyboard are interchangeable. The storyboard is only a single line, so it does not hold much images. (S9+has three, but they are almost too small to be useful). Pan and Zoom are easy to adjust. (almost as easy as Sony Vegas). It shows the entire image with a "start crop" and a "end crop". It also shows the position/size/%zoom as a numerical value as well. (no guessing)There is also a middle point if you want to move around the photo. (Vegas has indefinite middle points). Music fades were easy and completely adjustable. TEXT animation was great because you can fade in/out the text as well as zooming/moving text. This is a very simple but professional and elegent attribute of VS9.
Lastly, DVD menus are easy to create. You simply create a few video projects and slideshows, and add them to the DVD menu. That way you can have a birthday party, vacation and slideshow on the same main menu. Then you can select chapter points in each of these projects or have the program find them for you. You can opt to add an additional chapter (sub)menu for each of your projects. I found this to be simple as well as clean.
Simply put, VideoStudio 9 is the most RELIABLE, INTUITIVE, FLEXIBLE and PROFESSIONAL video-editing program under $100. My 3 week review is over and I finally purchased Ulead VideoStudio 9. The previous reviews were extremely helpful, but don't trust all the reviews you read. Download the demo and see for yourself, but don't waste you time like I did demo-ing every software. Just try it, then BUY IT.
Hope this was helpful.
Pros Easy to use for small files (under 5 minutes)
Cons Crashes often on large files, poor quality video output
Summary This is an okay product for beginners and people that want to make short, little movies. Once you start getting into larger projects (over 5 minutes), it becomes very very slow, and crashes often. The DVD creation utility is laughable, especially when compared to other products available. You can only link to one project to put it on a DVD, as far as I can figure out. When you finally get down to burning a DVD, it seems that you have about a 1 in 3 chance of the program crashing somewhere in the middle of the DVD creation. The quality of the video is not spectacular (I use a 3 CCD camera that produces execllent color, but it looks very ordinary on the output of this software--but what should I expect for $100). Another annoyance is the fact that many of the titles, special effects, and menus required additional payment as "premium" content, a fact that is not really disclosed on the box, as far as I can see.
On the good side, the ChromaKey utility works very well, but not many users are going to spring for a green-screen to use it.