Top critical review
57 people found this helpful
Bells & Whistles don't compensate for flaws
on November 6, 2013
Every time I think I was too hard on this program, it gives me another reason to think that I wasn't. The more I use it, the more bad points come up.
--You can download a good PDF manual, which I did before I bought the product. It gave little warning of some of the things I would encounter.
-- Slo-mo works very nicely
--You can browse and view footage that is stored on your computer.
--When you find one you want to use, you can drag and drop to the program.
--You can preview and split a clip while it's in the "library" and not yet in the timeline.
--Screen capture bundled with the program allows for capture at 15, 25 or 30fps. Also allows for full screen or selected area. Is easy to set up and works well. You can save to program library and also to a folder of your choice.
--The program does a lot of things. So do a lot of other programs. So that really isn't too much to get excited about.
--There are some cool features like object tracking, which is very nice for NFL announcers to analyze plays, but somehow I don't think I'll ever find a use for. Especially since it is a very blunt instrument which easily strays from the intended object to be tracked (a surfer on a wave--high contrast, should be easy; fails to follow very well).
Things that made me give a low rating:
--The manual available is for the Pro version, not the Ultimate version, which supposedly has more features. So how do I use those features? Who knows?
--Resuming Play after Pause (or Pause after Play) in preview window creates a short blackout of the preview window. Irritating, distracting, and I hope it's not a sign of bad things to come.
Not allowed to change anything. All options are grayed out except for Default which is permanently selected (Radio Button). So much for user preference.
--The preview window is very small, too small to see details. And you can't make it larger. In comparison, Adobe Premiere Elements 12 allows you to resize the window (drag the edge) as large as you want. Very useful, one might say essential, for editing details.
--Can't change viewing speed of video in preview window. This is an extremely basic concept and essential for editing--slow it down so you can stop where you want to stop without having the reflexes of a quick-draw target shooter. Searched the manual and online and found nothing, so it seems that it can't be done. For comparison, Adobe Premiere Elements allows this--all you do is use the L or R arrows on your computer keyboard to nudge or run backward or forward.
--Audio sample clips are just numbered, with no description. So to know what they are you have to open each one and listen to it.
--No way to reduce the video and audio sample clips to a simple list. Either they're hidden, or they take up the space.
--Video and image samples are stacked on top of any visuals I put in the "library" so that to do any work I first have to scroll down past all of them each time. They are so useless and such a hindrance that I ended up deleting all of them. Corel even made this hard by not allowing me to select more than one at a time, and delete one at a time.
--Trimming function is awkward and counter-intuitive.
--Video effects are great--but you can't hide them. If you are in Edit mode and make the mistake of clicking on Options>Attribute, you will find your screen loaded with bright, blinking samples--exactly the kind of visual distraction you don't want when you're trying to get some work done. This wouldn't be so bad, but you can't make them stop. You can click on Options (to close it), Video (to switch to another editing function); you can right and left click all you want on FX--nada. The only way, it seems, is to leave the Edit area all together (click Share, for example--which, by the way, is actually more of a Save function). When you come back, the obnoxious blinking samples are gone. But your work flow has been disrupted. Again.
--When you split a clip and save each portion, the first portion ends with a number of frames of severe jaggies. So you end up with less useable footage than you shot. This is a disaster if you are shooting long continuous scenes that need to be divided and saved. And sometimes in real life that's what you need to do. This problem doesn't occur with "primitive" free programs like Virtual Dub.
--Capture ("snapshot") of video frame from within the program destroys the IQ, making the captured image useless. It reduces an HD image of 1440x1080px all the way down to 853x480px. If you insert it into the video, it's of obviously inferior resolution. I can do better by running a video in MS Viewer, and using MWSnap to do a screen shot, which can be saved as TIFF or JPEG. I didn't want to go this route for a number of reasons, but I may have to. In comparison, Adobe Premiere Elements 12 does a very high quality, high resolution snapshot.
--Screen Capture bundled with the program does not give the option of stills or single frame capture--only wmv. Every time you close Screen Capture the entire VideoStudio window pops open. A minor distraction, but too many minor distractions disrupt the work flow.
--If you split a video while it's in the "library" the resulting clips have exactly the same name and number (if any) as the original--the program does not add anything to let you know which is which. So if you do one split, you end up with 3 clips all with identical names. Obviously this creates the possibility of confusion. There is no way to rename the clips so you can tell them apart without viewing each one to see what it is. This is really messes up the work flow.
--If you split a video clip, the portion before the split will end before the point where you located the split. So you will lose footage. Solution: guess how much more you have to include, and hope you're right. Trial and error is not a good way to have to edit.
--If you run a video in-program, stop it where you want to take a "snapshot" and then take the "snapshot," you can't resume showing the video. The scrubber line will move, but the image on the preview screen remains stationary. If you click on the Play arrow, you get a message "Play trimmed clip (hold SHIFT key to play whole clip)." But I didn't trim the clip, I only took a "snapshot" of a frame. This looks like a bug.
NOTE: I did figure out a workaround that allows for some of what I need: use Time Lapse and set it so that each frame in a selected portion of a clip (actually a new clip cut from the original) lasts for 3-4 seconds. The bad news is that there is no flexiblity in this, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.
--Moving clips on the timeline doesn't let you leave them where you want them; to have a blank space you have to create one.
--If you want an overlay clip with a transparent background, you have to use another program (recommended in the manual: Corel PaintShop Pro and CorelDRAW ) to do it. And of course if you don't have these programs, you'll have to buy them, download them, and install them. This feature should have been included.
--Audio: when you import audio files to the library, the topmost file is barely visible (only a tiny portion of the bottom of the icon can be seen) and there is no way to scroll so that you can see what it is. There is so little showing that it's even hard to drag and drop to the timeline.
-- Audio: if you have more than one audio file in the library, and you click "Insert to..." to get it to the Timeline, you have two choices: Voice Track, and Music Track #1. If you click a second audio file, you have the same two choices. Other Music Tracks remain grayed out, so you have to put one in the voice track. This is incredibly sloppy implementation. Since audio has only 10 pages of the 244-page manual, it appears to be considered irrelevant. The implementation certainly makes it look that way. The manual speaks of inserting onto "the music track" (not "one of the music tracks") which implies they have only enabled one, even though there are two more grayed out. Is this a beta version?
--There seems to be no way to set new default Save file locations. So each time you do a Save, you either have to accept whatever bizarre location Corel wants, or take the time to enter (or browse for) the one YOU want. I can manage my own files; why not let me do so?
--You have to download and install QuickTime. What kind of program is this, that it isn't self-contained?
--Obnoxious popup ads and urgent appeals to register. At least you can turn them off (although the only way to stop the "register" one is to register).
--Support is a farce; if you go to the website and search for anwers you get mainly product promotions ("10 reasons you should buy...") and a mishmash of topics unrelated to the specific parameters you entered; if you attempt to access user forums you are directed to something called "PhotoVideoLife.com" which wants to make you register all over again to access the site (whatever it may be).
--Corel only allows you to use the program on one computer. Even Adobe allows you two computers. Earth to Corel: people travel, they use laptops, they also use desktops. And, of course, they paid for the software. Get real, allow them to use it.
The frosting on this very ugly cake was when I tried to register for the user forum to ask a couple of simple questions, like "how do you change the User Preferences," and "can you change the playback speed in the preview window." To register, I had to answer a series of very detailed questions about my computer (looked like a data-gathering exercise by Corel) and download some third-party software, which in turn led to urgent suggestions to buy from the third party. I'm registered in a number of user forums for photographic and related tech products and have never been required to go through anything remotely resembling this lengthy and intrusive process. Folks, you already have my money, wasn't that good enough for you?
The primitive Windows MovieMaker actually made some of these actions a lot easier, and didn't junk up the workspace with cartoony video clips and unlabeled music clips. If it weren't so prone to crashes, I would almost be tempted to use it as an initial step in the editing process.
I've decided to bag this Corel program and use Adobe instead. It costs a few dollars more, does a lot more, does it better, and doesn't have the obstacles of the Corel program. I can hardly believe I'm saying this, because I have never been a fan of Adobe. But here we are.