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Sky's the Limit Video Editing: Pinnacle Studio 9

Sound Functions Improved

Pinnacle bought up the music software specialist Steinberg. Several functions of the Steinberg software have already been integrated into Studio 9. For that reason, the effects tab also appears in the sound-editing menu. Here you get a complete equalizer that you can set manually but also has its own defaults. That is particularly useful for editing the original soundtrack recorded with the video cam's built-in mike. Also useful is the limiter that prevents over modulation of the sound with a sudden honking. Sound editing is also very helpful when inserting a voiceover: With Echo, you can give a somewhat skimpy original sound more depth, but this should be used sparingly to avoid turning the clip into a Z-movie horror strip. And finally, there is a practical filter for reducing background noise such as that produced by wind.

We could not resist the temptation to show you the Grungelizer effect. Even the name is funny. It is analogous to a sepia effect in pictures. It allows you to give the sound the effect of an old LP recording. Because Steinberg owns the rights, you even have an old-fashioned mixing desk with which you can define all of your settings. If you are a fan of the 30s and the early sound pictures, then you'll be spoiled by Pinnacle's Version 9.

Movie Theater In Your Living Room

Pinnacle could not ignore the current rage for home theater mode. Many people have a 16:9 TV, and more and more DV cameras record in 16:9 format. That's why software for video editing owes it to itself to be able to handle this format. And that's what Studio 9 has, and it allows you to work in native 16:9 format from the loading stage all the way to movie creation.

Surround Sound

Not one to do things halfway, Pinnacle has taken into consideration even those who own a home theater system. Now they can put sound in Surround format too. It's extremely easy if you have a point at the center of a room with virtual speakers. You can move the sound back in real time, but there is no left or right side. That is not bad at all. You can place the voice in front of the image and make the music come from behind. In order to get some of this when you view it too, you need to create the movie as an MPEG on hard disk or DVD. Moreover, your PC or home theater amplifier must be able to decode Dolby Pro Logic. This initial Surround format only encodes on two channels, but reproduces sound with a rear track. This allows Pinnacle to continue using the PCM stereo track from MPEG-2 and does not need to fall back on an internal Dolby Digital track, which would be much too hard to implement. In the case of a home theater system, the light display for Pro Logic will not come on, but it works fine. The rear sound really makes its presence known. This option opens up perspectives if you can reproduce Pro Logic. But bear in mind that you need time to position the sound in a film of more than five minutes' length - lots of time.