Corel VideoStudio Pro X5 Ultimate Review

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Corel VideoStudio Pro X5

There's stiff competition among consumer video-editing software, so it requires something special to stand out. In VideoStudio's case, it is emerging as the editor of choice for people who don't actually own a video camera. That may sound strange, but there's a Painting Creator module for animated drawings that build up, line by line. Another module creates stop-motion animations from a live video feed such as a webcam (tapeless video cameras sadly won't work). The latest to join the ranks is a screen capture utility, which records the PC desktop and creates a WMV of the result.

There are lots of these screen recorders around but VideoStudio's is better than any freeware utility
we've seen. It can record the whole screen, a particular window or a user-defined rectangle, and there are options to record the computer's audio output, a microphone or a mix of both. Capture is at the native resolution at 15fps. We'd have liked 25fps too but capture quality is excellent. This update also introduces HTML5 authoring – a first for a video-editing package. It's broadly similar in scope to the existing DVD and Blu-ray authoring module, with a background video and the ability to overlay text and graphics that act as links, either to other parts of the timeline or to external URLs. HTML5 authoring is a welcome addition but it pushes the limits of VideoStudio's timeline controls Editing is done on the timeline rather than the disc-authoring module, and although there are templates available, populating them with our own media was a cumbersome process.

Designing from scratch proved more fruitful, but we'd prefer it if URL links didn't open in a new window. These ancillary features are all well and good, but what we really care about is being able to perform everyday editing tasks precisely and efficiently. There are some improvements here, too, with better support for multiple-core processors giving a significant boost to preview performance.

We were able to play five simultaneous AVCHD streams on our Core i7-870 PC. Older versions of VideoStudio struggled with two streams. The video track count is up from seven to 21, which is useful for making the most of the improved performance. However, VideoStudio gets pretty cumbersome when building up complex montages of videos, text and bitmaps across multiple tracks. Ripple editing is poorly implemented, and it's annoying that the main and overlay tracks behave
differently.

There's still an air of lethargy to the interface, too, often leaving us waiting for a second or two before playback commenced or a control panel appeared. The performance improvements didn't appear to extend to QuickTime AVC footage captured with Nikon and Canon SLRs, where the software sometimes struggled to play a single 1080p video stream with no effects.
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