Sky's the Limit Video Editing: Pinnacle Studio 9

Interface: Evolution Yes, Revolution No

Anyone who was expecting Studio 9 to come up with a completely new interface will be disappointed. Although Pinnacle has changed many a detail, the basic structure remains the same.

However, now the user interface can finally be displayed in full-screen mode, regardless of screen resolution settings. That is a major development - until now, owners of screens (especially TFT displays) with resolutions above 1024 either had to reduce the resolution or harm their eyesight. It was pretty annoying not to be able to use the full resolution of your 17" LCD. Besides, in practice, the ideal size still required a 19" LCD or 21" CRT monitor with 1600 or 1280 resolution. Those who like to run two monitors can display the preview in full-screen mode on the second monitor. To do that, you need to set your Nvidia or ATi graphics card to dual display operation and switch the display of the video overlay in the driver settings to the second monitor. The quality is nothing to write home about, because the computer needs the resources for editing, but it makes it much more pleasant to edit. These two innovations alone justify a switch to Version 9.

Pinnacle also has coordinated its look with that of WindowsXP. While only a matter of taste, it makes it more pleasant to use. The only true ergonomic change to the interface is the toolbox icon in the timeline at the top left. It replaces the two icons for image editing in the earlier version that were not as easy to see. If you put your cursor on it, icons for picture or sound will appear that will open the menu in picture or sound editing mode, depending on what you click on. As before, these are windows that replace the raw clips at the top left and allow access to cutting, titling, effects, mixing, etc. This is one of the most important functions, but it will be hard for a beginner to find out what is behind it. In practice, cutting the clip begins with a purely intuitive double-click. This will call up the same menus. What's missing altogether are the different ways to access the individual functions.