Although it is regrettable that the ergonomics did not undergo a more radical revision, and the DVD authoring was not revised at all, Studio 9 remains a pleasant surprise. The new look of the interface, ergonomic improvements and the full-screen mode alone make switching to Version 9 worthwhile. The real-time effects for image and sound and the automatic editing function not only afford additional creative opportunities but also the option of improving the quality of a movie considerably. Finally, amateurs will appreciate the support for the home theater format. Moreover, Pinnacle has really done something for the stability of the program - it now truly resembles a final version.
The program structure has been designed to be intuitive and offers a wealth of functions. Hardly any computer skills are required of the user. Although Studio 9 does not have all of the advanced functions of professional software - for example, Adobe Premiere - it does have everything that an amateur filmmaker needs: real-time effects, advanced management of soundtracks, transitions galore, to name only a few functions.
The Version 9 of Pinnacle Studios is only practical to buy the "naked" software if the computer already has an IEEE1394/FireWire interface and if you own a DV camera.
If you are still working with an analog camera or if the computer has no FireWire interface, it is worthwhile to get one of the hardware bundles given below.
Studio DV Version 9
In this package, Studio 9 includes a FireWire IEEE 1394 PCI card. Naturally, this is a Plug&Play card, and it offers two external and one internal connection. That is only good for PCs that are not yet equipped with FireWire. It restricts you to digital video. The transfer rates are average, which is naturally sufficient for video.
Studio AV/DV Version 9
The PCI card in this package offers a FireWire connection and analog Cinch and S-Video connections. This makes it possible to transfer footage from an analog camera or a VHS video recorder. You can also transfer the created film to an analog data carrier. In analog operation, both the sound signal and the output go through the sound card during transfer. This solution is meant for those who want to use both analog and digital sources. In analog mode, you can transfer MPEG-2 PAL up to a data rate of 8.2 MBit/s. The video in/out quality is good.