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on March 5, 2010
Sorry about the formatting, Amazon is removing all my spaces when I publish even though it looks fine in the editor.

Computer Specs:
Intel Core2 Duo @ 1.86 GHz
2 GB RAM
256 MB Video
32 bit
Windows Vista

My test:
Added 2 videos.
Added image stabilization to one
3D transition between them.
Rendered the project.
AVCHD in and MPG2 out (both in full HD, 1920*1440, Dolby 5.1 if available)
Video length 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

Overall Review:
**** Corel Video Studio Pro X3
**** Cyberlink PowerDirector 8
*** Sony Vegas Movie Studio Pro Plus 9
**1/2 Adobe Premiere Elements 8
** Magix Edit Pro 15
* Roxio Creator 2010
* Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14

Package Options:
My reviews are against the top versions of each product line. You will find that most of the differences between the top versions and the base are Blu-ray export options, and some add some extra sound options. See for yourself the option that suits you at the manufacturer's website in their respective product comparison guides.

Windows 7:
All seemed to work for me in windows 7, 64 bit with 4 GB RAM. I didn't do any tests with it b/c I wanted to use an older machine that would come closer to representing the average computer. This includes Roxio 2009, but not 2010 for reasons stated below.

Final Opinion:
If you want something super easy to use, then I would go with Cyberlink PowerDirector 8. If you want something with a bit more power that you can grow into, I would go with Corel Video Studio Pro X3. Sony Vegas Movie Studio Pro plus 9 may very well be good, but I see no reason to purchase it with the power of the Corel package.
If you are a masochist, go with Adobe, Magix, Roxio, or Pinnacle.

DETAILS:
Adobe Premiere Elements 8
65 min render time
Pros:
You can search effects
Layout was good but not great
Interface was pretty straightforward
Cons:
Virtually locked my system
Slow and temporarily froze frequently
Output menu was cumbersome

Corel Video Studio Pro X3
19 min render time
Pros:
Great Output menu
Very fast
Easy to use user interface
Proxy editing*
Autofit for timeline
Cons:
No search function for effects
*edit*
After further review of this software, I had to knock it down from 5 to 4 stars.
I noticed more and more buggyness from the software the more that I used it.
It wasn't enough that one couldn't use it, but it was enough to be a bit frustrating at times.
*edit*

Cyberlink PowerDirector 8
30 min render time
Pros:
Output menu was nice
Very nice and easy to use layout
Cons:
No Blu-ray output
*edit*
Blu-ray output is available on Ultra.
After further use of this program, I have some issues with it and have lowered it to 4 from 5 stars.
I was disappointed with the menu editing in that you can not do text only menus, you can't really "customize" menus, and their stock menus total a whopping 2. They state they have thousands online, but almost all of these are menus that are horrible junk ones that others have created. There are literaly a few that are good or better. In addition, you can not search these menus, and the sorting is poor at best to browse them.
*edit*

Magix Edit Pro 15
41 min Render time
Pros:
Simple
Cons:
Poor user interface
Oversimplified (Too simple I think for most people)
Very Cumbersome to use and add effects
Output options were confusing and cumbersome
Extremely limited options for PC output (which is what many will be doing)
A couple of lock ups

Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14
Pros:
Nice little finished project to see what can be done
Nice interface for editing
Cons:
ONLY SOFTWARE that I was not able to import a video
Locked up my system many times and left errant process running at 80% CPU
Took 50 seconds just to load the import video TAB
When I selected videos to import and hit start import, absolutely nothing happened
Tried one of their movies and went to help to find stabilization and it crashed on me b/c I didn't have enough memory
No Blu-ray output
Cons on install on windows 7 computer:
Failure on export of file on all formats
I actually tried Pinnacle about 10 years ago and had absolutely nothing but problems. Spent many days downloading patches just to get it to work. Then, like a moron, I did an entire project and when I went to burn it, the burn failed every time. I see a decade later, I still can't export a file.

Roxio Creator 2010
Pros:
-----
Cons:
They don't allow a trial download. I contacted them asking them if I could download a trial and even noted that I was a current customer. I personally like the 2009 Roxio. It was a nice "all-purpose" program. They told me that I had to buy it. I was offered a money back guarantee, but to do so, I had to send in a letter of destruction. This is way too much effort on my end to see if your software works for me.
I find it ridiculous in this day and age that you can't have a trial version of something, especially when EVERY ONE of your competitors does. In addition, this is how they were treating an existing customer!
You throw in all the compatibility issues that can occur in software in general and video software in particular, and that leaves me to think they have something to hide.
As icing on the cake, the following sentence was in their reply.
"Creator 2010 does support AVCHD software and hasn't been know to have any issues thus far!"
I replied to them about this OUTRIGHT LIE! First, you can read the compatibility issues on Amazon. Second, as a person that writes programs, there is no such thing as bug free software, especially video editing software.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio Pro Plus 9
14 minute render time (NO ANTI-SHAKE IN RENDER, see below)
Pros:
Computer stayed pretty responsive during render
Savable packages of effects
How to guide is nice
Cons:
Couldn't search effects
Very, very cumbersome to use
Couldn't find stabilization
The render time approximation stayed at around 1 minute or 2 left the entire time
Here is my issue with Sony Vegas. I have compared its features with many of the other programs and they are all very similar. Now, when compared with Corel Video Studio Pro X3 and Cyberlink PowerDirector, they are virtually identical. I personally think Sony leaves their software cumbersome so that it "looks/seems" more powerful.
I was definitely most disappointed in this product because it was the one that I was looking the most forward to using. When I say that it is cumbersome to use, it doesn't mean that it can't be used. Let me give an example. I am a programmer, and in something like excel, I like the ability to write my own code to create functions and tools that it doesn't offer or to tweak ones that it does. HOWEVER, when I want to enter numbers in boxes, I just want to enter numbers in boxes. I don't want to click in a box, go to a menu or right click, select some gadget and then enter a number. It is ok for complicated things to be complicated, but simple things should not only be simple, but also INTUITIVE.
The main thing that I saw that you could do in Sony Vegas that you couldn't do in the others is change your transitions (both audio and video) ramp as far as how quickly they come in and go out. I am not talking about changing the time, but how your out video accelerates out and how you in video accelerates in during that time. It is a cool feature, but something that 99% of people will only not use, but won't care about either.
Another thing, the image stabilizer should be easy to do, and it may be. However, I did a search in help for stabilize, stabilizer, sta, shake, anti, etc. and could not find out how to do this very simple thing. This worries me greatly that if this isn't readily available in the help docs, then much of the other stuff probably isn't either.

*A note on proxy editing.
Proxy editing is basically you working on a very low def version of your file, but when it comes time to actually render your output, the original file is used. Some view this as a crutch because they say you should be able to optimize the software to work with the high def video. My opinion is that if I can work faster, then I will work faster. Who cares what my resolution is while I am editing. If you have the fastest software out there for HD, and you can do your edits in very low def and it is even faster still, then why would you not want that?
1616 comments187 of 198 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 19, 2010
VideoStudio X3 is a great product. I can see that there have been some other users who have had problems downloading and installing the trial, which I had a few problems, but once I was able to get the product installed I found it to be a fantastic video editor for the novice to intermediate video editing users.

I have been using basic video editors for several years. First, I started with Windows Movie Maker, which I loved until they made drastic changes to the program. Since then I have been using various products from Pinnacle and other vendors. I had even looked into the X2 (previous) version of this product and was not satisfied with that it had to offer. But, I am always on the lookout for a new product that will give me back some of the easy to use features that Movie Maker once had. I have finally found that product, VideoStudio Pro X3.

Aside from being a solid video editing package, it comes with some outstanding bonus materials such as a annimated drawing tool, great sound clips, and fantastic effects. X3 also includes the basic video editor from Corel (Video Studio Express 2010), just for those times you want to make a quick movie. So, it is technically two packages in one.

The Instant Project feature is great. It allows you to easily create a quick slideshow with some pretty nice editing.

I tested X3 on a basic dual core system (almost 5 years old) and a newer system. It ran great on both computers. Overall I have been very pleased with X3.
11 comment49 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 16, 2010
I had no trouble installing it. Those that had difficulty and removed it are really the lucky ones.

The program immediately goes through your entire system (mine has 2 TB disc storage) and catalogs each and every thing. Can you stop it? Not that I could find. It just does it. It saps up your entire system for hours on end...it never did stop until I uninstalled it. Many services are started that just keep running and sapping CPU in the background when you close the program (my Win 7 professional 8 megabyte 3 gHz I-7 computer came to its knees).

The DVD making portion is a crippled program. It will only write, with limited options, to a blank DVD...no DVD folders or images, no other output option. The number of templates is laughable...and they are motion templates, whose effects you cannot see except in a separate preview screen, not as you use them.

The 12th (X2) version at a huge discount (I got it for far less than half price on gold box) works just fine if you have a separate DVD making program. Ulead's Movie Factory 6 is far better than the one included, and it works under Win 7 just fine. Too bad Ulead was bought by Corel so they could ruin the program.

I hate to admit this, but Final Cut Express and iMovie (earlier versions than cuyrrent) on the Mac are far more robust, complete, and faster than any of the Win versions of video I have used. Someone needs to really get with it (and its not Roxio or the now moribund Pegasys).
55 comments36 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 9, 2010
I needed a program that would help me put together dozens and dozens of videos our guests had taken from our wedding. These videos would be compiled into a home made wedding video since we didn't hire an expensive videographer for our wedding. If you are seriously considering purchasing this software, you really need to try it out first and see if it's for you. The trial version is available for download on the Corel website and you have 30 days to try it.

I was able to do lots of different transitions, subtitles, sound effects, backgrounds, "paint"/animation over pictures, merge pics, videos, overlay different tracks of music, titles, sound effects, control background music levels, mute videos and put in my own music/voice tracks, etc. Too many features to remember. The end result was an EXTREMELY professional video comparable (if not more exciting) than other people's wedding videos.

Something to remember with this software...You have to have some imagination and put in some elbow grease (and learn to use the features) to get a good video out of this program. It's not like a simple template you open up, add some pics and videos in, finalize and you have a fancy product. If you are looking for something simpler I can see why this program can disappoint. However if you don't mind the learning curve you'll love discovering all of the neat things you can do. The user interface is not the friendliest though, especially if you have hundreds of videos and pictures to sort through. You have to plan from point A to Z (or a good idea of it) when you actually put the tracks down otherwise you wind up having to drag files all over the place. It is not the most time saving software to use if you have a lot of files and your special effects/options are not exactly in a pull-down menu. You have to click around and look for them.

If you plan on putting this on a laptop make sure it can handle the program. The program does tend to HOG a lot of space and memory...even make your PC stutter. It didn't affect my final product, but was a pain when reviewing my video before finalizing because it kept freezing and I couldn't tell whether my background music/video/voice timing was off. (Imagine old kung fu movies with the guy talking and sound three seconds later). Also the trial came with a neat program for making the DVD on screen menus and chapters. Unfortunately the DVD maker program would crash my laptop completely. Looks like a promising addition to complete your "professional video" with a great DVD menu...too bad I will need to find another PC to do that with.

Overall, everyone has been very impressed with what I have done and no one could tell that I made it myself. Lots of work but a lot of fun.

UPDATE: (We went out and bought a copy) Finally finished our wedding video. We installed this program on our desktop which is more than able to handle this software. Unfortunately the Corel DVD Factory software that comes with this program continued to crash when we tried to burn the DVD. We were able to create a beautiful video with the VideoStudio and make very professional DVD titles and menus/chapters with the DVD factory but only got as far as conversion of the video for burning (then it would crash). We ended up using Nero StartSmart to burn the converted files. The entire process was very time consuming! I'm still giving it 4 stars though because our final product came out great..just wish it wasn't such a headache.
11 comment31 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 31, 2010
I have been using ULEAD/COREL VideoStudio since version 10 in 2006 and they have all worked fine for me after installation. Used ver 10 for a few years. Then upgraded to version X2 and it also worked fine. So I decided to upgrade to version Pro X3 and this version has first of all less feature than the X2 version and worse, it does not work. After installation on my WIN7 machine it gives me an error message every time I want to run a project and shuts down. I duly contacted Corel customer support and that's were things got worse. After being promised a 48 hour response, I got my first response after a week instructing my to download a number of ActiveX controls. this would fix this well known issue. It did not and Corel stopped responding to my repeated requests for support. So I wasted a $50 upgrade fee and Corel lost a long time customer for good. I am now moving over to Sony Vegas and Corel will not see me purchasing any of their software again no matter what. there seem to be more problems than usual with the new Pro X3 version and I would be aware of what you're getting into before upgrading. Many users on forums advise against it, especially because Pro X3 does give you actually less of a feature set than X2 did. If the old version owrks fine for you, think if you really need to upgrade. If you are thinking about Corel VideoStudion as a first install, make sure you comapred with other top notch programs before you buy.
0Comment15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon June 25, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sadly, it was not to be.

To begin, let's clear the air on hardware issues. I run a pretty darned good setup:

Dell Studio XPS 8000, Intel i7, 8 gigs of RAM, Win7 Pro 64 bit. High end video card. So my machine's no slouch. I'm connected to the web through T2-3 grade cable-modem. It smokes.

This software loaded flawlessly, though slowly. Okay, no biggie, I thought.

Updates went smoothly though slowly.

Then, of course, I took it for a test drive and kicked the tires.

Unfortunately, the wheels fell off.

The project: To transfer a 3 minute segment of a DVD home movie to another DVD disc to send to a family member. About as simple as it gets.

I loaded the source DVD into my drive, indicated it as the "source", and hit the transfer icon. In no time at all, the activity card read "program failing to respond", or whatever the wording is. I aborted, and started again. This happened several times. Each time, my computer's DVD activity light was working solidly, so SOMETHING was happening, but the program seemed hung.

I left the computer for a couple of hours while I was taking care of my granddaughter, and lo and behold! I came back and the video had actually made it into the program.

"Aw-riiiiiight", I thought.

Editing went very smoothly, and intuitively, along the lines of most of the current software out there. My experience has been with Sony's products (very good), AVS4U (freeware; pretty darned good), early Ulead (couldn't get it to work), and maybe a couple of others.

So... I edited my project and saved it, then sent it to the "Factory" part of the system to transfer it to DVD, and that's where the test drive finally went completely over the rails.

"Factory" couldn't find the saved project anywhere, no matter what I did or where I searched.

Bottom line: I wasted a whole lotta time on a project that would have taken me 20 minutes max on other software I have loaded on my computer.

I didn't bother calling Corel. Why should I? To waste even more time trying to talk to some tech somehwere to solve a problem I shouldn't even have to be dealing with?

Nah. Save your money.
22 comments23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 29, 2010
Title says it all. I'm running a brand new Dell Studio 1749 top of the line. Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 software crashes ALL the time. I edit a bit, save, edit some more, crash. over and over and over again. Sometimes it'll go for a couple hours, sometimes it'll only stay open for a few minutes. It took me several days to get my project rendered. I had to break up my 10 minute project into 3 separate pieces to get it to render at all before it crashed again and even then it would crash at 98%, 99%, and 100% - luckily that was enough for it to save as a video for me to finally transfer to DVD - which then took another couple days to baby it through. I'm not happy with my end product because I was unable to keep it open long enough to make the final touches. I just wanted to get it put onto DVD and be done with it.

Stay away from this. Seriously. Time to fork out a good amount of cash for a pro version of video editing software because all of the other versions in this price range have the same user reviews of constant crashes.
1414 comments26 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 1, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have rarely been this impressed with any software ... and even rarer so with a home video editing suite. After wading through the morass of Roxio Creator, and Adobe Premiere Elements, I thought I had found the one true king of them all in Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Collection 14.

Well, the king is dead. Long live the king!

Lest I sound like a Corel fan boy - let me clarify that I've never used anything Corel, and I ventured into this software with some trepidation.

What did I like?
################

Aside from the fact that I didn't experience a single crash in about 7 hours of usage (no mean feat when editing video); that its operation was as intuitive as breathing (again no mean feat ... just look at Premiere Elements); and that it was faster than a speeding bullet on steroids when rendering the final video (again, just ask Elements) - there was simply no contest.

Capturing video was a breeze, editing was simple, and tasks such as adding transitions, titles, etc. were intuitive.

A feature I ended up using quite a bit was "Fit Project in Timeline Window" which zooms into (or, out of) the timeline so that all clips are visible in your editing window. The Multi-Trim video tool ended up being simply invaluable to me. It lets you take a single clip and add as many cut-in and cut-out points as you like. When done, the editor prunes out all the unwanted portions leaving you with just the portions you need. What genius!

The rendering steps were just as straightforward. Rendering to a standard DVD (I had to share this with other parents) happened so quickly that I thought something had gone wrong!

Its integration with DVD MovieFactory was also pretty neat. In short order, I had my menus, and chapters all configured, and my DVD ready to go.

What didn't I like?
############

Strangely only 3 transition effects are provided. Yes, I typed that right - 3 transitions, not 30. You have a dissolve, crossfade, a slide and that's it. While I'm not a big believer in overusing different transition effects - I still would have liked a choice here.

The software comes with a plethora of filters - such as ones that add in an element of hand held jerkiness to the image (as if home movies aren't jerky enough already), and a number of others that only seemed to make matters worse.

Conclusion:
########

There are many features that I didn't use on my current project - such as SmartSound, the ability to adjust video playback speed, and to reverse the video in a clip (I can imagine some fun uses for this). So obviously, this review doesn't speak to all that is possible with this software.

This software far exceeded my expectations in terms of stability, functionality, and usability. IMHO, this is simply the best consumer video editor currently available.

Unfortunately, my experience may not be universal - one reviewer complained about enough crashes to make this program unusable. Therefore, as with any software, I strongly recommend that you download the trial version first and try it out in your own computing environment.

Happy Editing!
11 comment14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 30, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had high hopes for this software. In the past I have used Pinnacle System Studio to create several DVD's with menus, various effects and music tracks. The later version of that software become more and more bug ridden until I had to through in the towel.

Along comes Corel Video Studio Pro X3 and it looked like it had the same user interface as Pinnacle so I thought it would be a great replacement.

Unfortunately it couldn't handle a simple 2 minute video clip from an iPhone without crashing. All I tried to do was add in a dissolve transition and every time it would crash when I played it back.

I have better things to do than to try and work around bug ridden software. I would skip it until this issue is resolved.
0Comment11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been having difficulty getting this program to run. Over the past few weeks, I've been struggling to get Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 to actually run without taking up all the resources on my computer and/or without crashing on me. Unfortunately, I've had no such luck. At this point in time I've given up on trying to work with this program. Because it makes my computer run too slowly, I don't think I can give this program a worth while review. My computer is a Sony Vaio All-in-One desktop.

Not recommended.
0Comment11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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