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Sky's the Limit Video Editing: Pinnacle Studio 9

What Real-time Can Really Do

Another major innovation in Version 9: You can now modify a sequence in real-time. In Studio 8 you could apply combined effects with the cursor and then view the results. It was limited to changing brightness or adding a mosaic effect. Studio 9 now allows you to apply complex effects in real-time and change the settings. But beware: I am not talking about the transitions, which we will return to. To select an effect, you need only edit the clip, click the corresponding tab, and select it. A window then appears with the altered settings, the effect of which you will be able to preview in real time. Moreover, you can layer effects one on top of the other.

There are two types of effects that can be applied to videos: artistic and corrective. The first group (the artistic effects) is not just kid's stuff. Although the Relief effect is still outdated in this version and the old-time version is banal, the Diffraction effect, by contrast, is amazing. This effect lets you insert a moveable light source, customize its movement, apply it to just part of the clip and set the size and type of light. This is pretty clever. So, for example, you can use this effect to create a fireball and have it trace a path across a landscape.

The Correction feature is even more useful. It is less reminiscent of B movies and is by far the most practical innovation. If your sequence is too dark or too colorful, you need only call up the color correction to change the color settings, brightness and contrast - all in real time. Very practical for correcting recording errors. Blurs and image interference resulting from too little brightness can be repaired in the same manner.

Naturally, as with all earlier versions, Studio 9 offers every conceivable transition effect, from the simplest to the most complex. There are people who like that. The 3D effects are rendered faster if you have a good 3D graphics card. All you have to do then is enable "3D acceleration" in the "Edit" menu. Version 9 has transitions, titles, menus and sounds, and you can get supplementary packages for a tune. For example, there is the Hollywood Fx Plus Version 5 package with 300 additional effects and transitions and the Hollywood FX Mega package, which contains 425 effects and transitions, along with a tool with which you can create your own effects. More packages with transitions and sounds, or even with DVD menus, are expected to be added. My personal opinion is that all transition effects just spoil a film. Studio 9 leaves the choice of title and music open, and you can even import some. Pinnacle even sells SDKs, if fans feel like developing their own plug-ins.