A Guide To Inexpensive Video Editing Software

Corel VideoStudio X7 Pro And Ultimate

Corel users tend to be ferociously loyal bunch. So I imagine I’ll be on the pointy end of more than a few barbed comments for this dismissive snark: VideoStudio is no toy, but neither is it much of a creative instrument.

VideoStudio is most at home in the corporate presentation quadrant. Its interface is much more AV Dude than Filmmaker. But, in fairness, let’s recall that are a lot of employed AV Dudes and a lot of starving filmmakers.

Corel gives you a solid template set for slideshows and easily facilitates computer screen capture. And, if you check your artistic pretensions at the splash-screen, you may be laughing your way to the bank by the time you close out of the program.

A 64-bit native architecture is much less of a big deal than it was 18 months ago. Still, we should recognize that Corel forded the 64-bit river earlier than most. With support for increased memory capacity, VideoStudio can slash through 4K renders and meld stacks of HD tracks (up to about 20 of them).

Like others in the space, Corel gives you a FastFlick quick-and-dirty edit mode that helps get a visual story together, well, fast. 

My snooty-attitude notwithstanding, Corel VideoStudio does have a cute back door wormhole into the filmmaking world. If you own a Canon DSLR, VideoStudio Pro can likely drive it to create stop motion animations.

If you’re married to the Windows Mob, give VideoStudio a try. Even if you hate it (and you probably won’t), at $80, you won’t have gotten stung too badly.

Cough up an additional $20 for the “Ultimate” package and you get extra tools for shot-stabilization that can fix some of the “jello-cam” (rolling-shutter) effect that happens when you pan with a DSLR.

Corel VideoStudio X7 Ultimate also gives you tweaky color correction/alteration (called ColorFast), a rudimentary pen-on-screen “tele-strator”-style light-doodler (RotoPen), a title-animating kit that simulates handwriting (Handscript), a useful set of title/graphic animation templates by Boris (Graffiti 6) and some less-than-understated transitions and “light-splashy” effects (VitaScene). Hey, sometimes you need garish.

One standout feature is Corel’s entry into motion tracking. This is useful tech previously available only from pro-level programs. It lets you do tricks like identifiers/explainers that follow objects around the screen, “greek-ing” things you don’t want your audience to see (brand names, genitalia and so on), follow-the-ball sports action and more.

The premium level VideoStudio Ultimate drops a hundredweight of picture element-shifting gizmos (Motion Effects) on you. It also lets the third-party plug-in makers in the door. One standout: the Mercalli SE plug offers tweaky, tweezy stabilization. It takes too many steps, but only because it offers very precise control and creative choice.

If you spent all your money on a 4K camera, Corel gives you the least costly editing tool to cut your footage. But it will be slow unless you have monster hardware, in which case you probably didn’t need to skimp on the software after all.

If you’re going direct to the Web in an HTML5 environment, VideoStudio lets you code interactivity into your video pages. You can prompt users to play videos without downloading and shepherding a raft of plug-ins. Your movie can have multiple plots and user-dependent endings. Just be sure to set your project up from the get-go to export .html.

And, like other packages in this class, you can spit out your final versions to social-sharing directly.

Finally, Corel’s Discovery Center is one of the most organized free training sites around. It’s a nice way to get a sense of VideoStudio before you buy it. And a vital way to run it once you have.

Corel VideoStudio Pro X7
  • aebome
    It would help if you link to the other two articles in the series so we don't have to rummage through the site to see if we can find them. That's just basic.
  • bloc97
    Why is there 2 different UHD support in the table? One software is both N\A and Yes...
  • beetlejuicegr
    unfortunately for me as a tv news director/ control i had the bad luck (you will see what i mean ) to learn montage on Final Cut on Macs. After that software, all the rest in pc are Crap! :( and i am a known anti-apple user ;/
  • Lord Darren
    In the interest of potential longterm planning, wouldn't it be prudent to familiaize oneself with Premiere from the get-go? In theory this should ease the learning curve if and when you make the jump to CS or CC.
  • sm_sum
    I checked the guide, it's very well written and very comprehensive. I came across free software that have good editing features. Maybe check them out: http://listoffreeware.com/list-best-free-video-editors/