Not many applications make it to their 22nd model, however Pinnacle Studio can declare that distinction. The venerable video enhancing software program has develop into steadily extra highly effective and speedier with every iteration. Corel additionally develops VideoStudio video editing software, with Pinnacle positioned because the higher-end of the 2 product strains. It is aimed toward near-professional-level fans, with wonderful enhancing options and results equivalent to stop-motion video, multicam enhancing, and movement monitoring. Pinnacle additionally helps 360-degree VR content material, and its rendering velocity is a prime performer in our testing.

This yr’s replace focuses on coloration grading, display screen and webcam seize, three- and four-point enhancing, and enhanced movement monitoring and 360 footage help. For the veteran Pinnacle customers on the market, here is the quick model of what is new on this yr’s replace:

  • New color-grading instruments, together with coloration correction, coloration wheels, LUTs, and a waveform scope.
  • Three- and four-point enhancing, which helps you to mark a number of out and in factors on each the supply and the timeline.
  • Multicam with display screen file as one of many angles.
  • Improved movement monitoring.
  • Extra 360 choices together with “tiny planet” and “rabbit gap” results.
  • Movement split-screen results.
  • Seamless transitions utilizing up, down, or aspect movement and similar-color areas just like the sky to maneuver from one shot to a different seamlessly and elegantly and with customized parameters.

I will go into extra element about these new options all through this assessment, however first I will cowl the fundamentals. In case you missed final yr’s enhancements, they included a simplified but more-customizable interface, a keyframe-centric enhancing panel, movement 3D title creation, large angle lens distortion correction, video templates, portray results, and morph transitions.

Pricing and Beginning Up

Like most video enhancing software program aimed toward shoppers to near-professional customers (a gaggle generally often called prosumers), Pinnacle Studio is accessible in a trinity of excellent, higher, and finest ranges, with the entry-level Pinnacle Studio itemizing for $59.95, Plus for $99.95, and Final (reviewed right here) for $129.95. If that you must edit 360-degree or 4K content material, you may have to spring for Final, which additionally provides high-end results from NewBlue and limitless video tracks. It is also the one stage that features a number of the new options like split-screen movement results, seamless transitions, and all the brand new color-grading instruments. Sadly, there is not any free trial model of any of the Pinnacle Studio ranges. A number of opponents, together with Adobe Premiere Elements and CyberLink PowerDirector supply free trials.

Home windows 10 is really helpful, however Pinnacle Studio additionally runs on Home windows eight.x, and seven, and it requires 64-bit variations of these OSes, as you would possibly anticipate. It additionally requires an Intel Core i3 or AMD A4 GHz or increased, an Intel Core i7 4th era or later or AMD Athlon A10 or increased for UHD, multicam, or 360 video, and a minimum of 4GB RAM, with 8GB really helpful.

First you obtain a small installer stub app, which then downloads the huge full program. It is a 1.7GB obtain and takes up 3GB on-disk after set up, so you may need a quick web connection, a while in your fingers, and loads of area in your exhausting drive. After all, should you’re enhancing 4K video, you want an enormous disk anyway.

Importing and Interface

If you first run this system, you are invited to this system’s new Person Expertise Enchancment Program, which sends nameless utilization information again to the corporate; turning that off is easy, should you’re not . Subsequent, a dialog tells you that the Import characteristic allows you to file and open media recordsdata.

Import takes up the complete program window, which makes it simple to select the varieties of importing you want, whether or not it is from DVD, pc folders, cease movement, snapshot, or multicam. The software program can import 4K content material, and you may star-rate and keyword-tag content material at import, which helps you discover it later. The search bar additionally helps you discover content material you have not marked on this means, looking as a substitute for phrases within the filename.

A brand new choice on the Import mode is MultiCam Seize. This opens an exterior app that allows you to file your display screen together with any webcams you might have linked or inbuilt to your PC. You should utilize operate keys to start out and cease recording, and the software produces separate, synced clips which you can add to your mission bin. It allows you to alter lighting and sound sources, and in my testing it labored flawlessly.


Pinnacle’s interface sports activities flat, 2D icons, and a pleasing black and grey coloration scheme. This system makes use of the idea of Challenge Bins, by which you stash all of the content material for a given film mission—clips, photographs, and sound recordsdata, however not results and transitions. It is a widespread method for pro-level apps equivalent to Final Cut Pro X, and it is a characteristic that Corel’s different line, VideoStudio, doesn’t supply.

The entire program window is topped by 4 mode-switching buttons: Dwelling, Import, Edit, and Export. The primary is solely a welcome display screen providing tutorials, information on new program options, and extra belongings and applications on the market. Should you’re a longtime person of this system who’s caught in your methods, you may revert to the legacy interface view in this system’s Management Panel by selecting Setup > Management Panel > Legacy Choices > Allow Legacy Authoring Mode.

Pinnacle Studio Edit Interface

Edit mode makes use of the usual three-pane editor interface, with supply content material occupying the top-left quadrant of the display screen, the preview window on the prime proper, and the timeline throughout the underside half. The Final stage permits a vast variety of tracks, as talked about earlier. The Plus stage limits you to 24 tracks, and Normal to 6. You may change the relative measurement of the panels, add a source-video preview, and change the film preview to full display screen.

You may pull interface panels off and alter their positions, as you may in another editors, equivalent to Magix Movie Edit Pro. The preview window contains detailed controls, equivalent to jog and shuttle, body advance, and rewind. You increase and contract the timeline (both the principle one or the one within the preview window) with a intelligent mouse-drag motion, however I want there have been a mouse wheel choice for resizing the timeline.

You may search and kind any content material, which is greater than I can say for some video enhancing applications, equivalent to Studio’s sister utility, VideoStudio. Hiding and displaying objects by content material sort—video, audio, picture, and mission—is simplicity itself. There’s an infinite and customizable assortment of keyboard shortcuts. It’s also possible to select which buttons you need to show on the timeline toolbar, together with Cut up, Add Marker, Trim Mode, Multi-Cam Editor, and Audio Ducking.

For many who need the final word management, Pinnacle lets video editors time each form of impact and adjustment with keyframes. That features place, measurement, rotation, opacity, borders, corrections, filter results, pan/zoom, transitions, and time remapping. Keyframing allows you to evenly improve or lower an impact over time. As soon as you’ve got received a video mission arrange the best way you need, it can save you it as a template from the File menu. You specify which clips ought to develop into placeholders, which you’ll be able to fill in subsequent tasks with totally different clips.

The interface makes no particular concession to the touch enter, which I discover helpful for scrubbing, altering worth sliders, and tapping management buttons. That mentioned, scrubbing the timeline by finger did work acceptably. The software program now absolutely helps high-resolution screens; in testing earlier variations, some parts appeared tiny on my 4K contact display screen monitor, however that is not the case. Fairly than built-in assist, you get a web-based PDF (that is nonetheless higher than Adobe’s unimpressive net assist, which reveals information for different merchandise and from non-staff customers). Typically, nonetheless, Pinnacle’s interface is extra accessible than these of some competing video editors.

Primary Video Modifying and Transitions

Pinnacle makes use of a magnetic timeline, so any clip you drag and drop into it snaps to any present clips, and you may flip that conduct off, should you favor. Dropping a clip inside one other splits the unique one, and a razor icon presents clip splitting, as nicely. The Trim Mode button (or simply double-clicking a be part of level) opens a second preview window so you may see the primary and second clips’ states on the trim level. That is supposed to assist with effecting slip and slide trims, however I discover it much less intuitive than the trimming home windows of CyberLink PowerDirector and VideoStudio, amongst different apps.

New for model 22 are three- and four-point enhancing. You turn into this enhancing mode from the identical button on the correct aspect that switches amongst Good Modifying, Insert, Substitute, and Overwrite modes. With the three-point choice, you specify out and in factors on the time line, and an in or out level within the supply clip. This fashion, while you insert the clip onto the timeline it will likely be match to your specification.

Two new insertion buttons seem on the supply window: Maintain Velocity and Match to Period. The second of those stretches the supply clip to suit the goal space within the timeline. The four-point choice allows you to specify out and in factors on each the supply and the timeline. If you use that, in case your supply choice is longer than the spot on the timeline you’ve got marked, you see a dialog asking whether or not you need to align the supply clip with the start or finish of the timeline factors, and whether or not to trim the supply or overwrite the timeline.

Should you select the Match to Period button, your supply clip is sped up or slowed down to suit the marked space within the timeline precisely. I see how these might be helpful choices and fewer haphazard than merely dragging supply onto the timeline. Specifically, the time stretching to suit a marked space saves you time.

Canine-eared corners of adjoining clips allow you to alter transition lengths between them. It’s also possible to allow dynamic-length transitions, or simply persist with transitions of set lengths. Cross-fades are accessible proper on the timeline by way of the transition canine ears, however the place from which you get your fancier transitions is considerably hidden, in contrast with how different video editors current it. They’re additionally not as easy so as to add to timeline clips, with no automated length choice. Typically I dragged a transition between clips in my testing and the app did not add something. There may be, nonetheless, a really full number of transitions, grouped as 2D-3D, Creative, Alpha Magic, and extra.

New for model 22 is the Seamless Transition software, which implements an impact that is all the trend amongst beginner videographers. As Davonte Douglas explains on this tutorial, you do not even want software program to make seamless transitions, however software program can in reality make them even smoother and extra spectacular. The seamless transitions in Pinnacle Studio work like some other transitions: You simply drag them from the supply panel down between clips. You get selections for downward, left-to-right, and upward movement between clips, together with variations for rotation through the transition. You may positive tune the movement by inserting related areas in choice bins.

The Morph transition, although not new for model 22, remains to be value calling out. It allows you to draw guides within the first and second movies to have an effect on the transition. It is not fairly as spectacular as Closing Minimize Professional X’s Movement transition, which blends leap cuts—for instance, you would possibly seamlessly minimize a couple of phrases or perhaps a sentence out of a single clip of interview. The Pinnacle Morph transition is just about a crossfade that allows you to add blurry movement between clips.

Additionally not new (it was launched in model 21) however nonetheless value mentioning is the Large-Angle Lens Correction characteristic. Merely double click on on a supply clip, after which select that choice from the highest menu. There are six GoPro presets, however it’s also possible to manually alter the geometry, ensuring strains that needs to be straight are certainly rectilinear—a problem with GoPro’s wide-angle lenses.

Movement Monitoring

You will get to Pinnacle Studio’s Movement Monitoring software both by right-clicking on a observe or by double-clicking on the clip within the timeline to open the Results window. First you masks the thing you need to observe, and then you definitely even have this system observe it. Its sounds easy, however in fact the method is a bit of dicier than in another software program. On my all-in-one PC with a 4K show it took a couple of tries to get it to observe my masked biker, and after many makes an attempt, I nonetheless could not obtain dependable monitoring. On a system with an ordinary HD show, the monitoring labored positive.

Motion Tracking in Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate

All such instruments have issue monitoring objects when the background confuses the problem, however in my exams Pinnacle’s misplaced the tracked object extra typically than the competitors—even Corel’s personal VideoStudio. Some sort of step-by-step wizard would assist. The software does supply Mosaic and Blur choices, one thing you may typically need to do in a video for issues like obscuring faces, license plates, branded objects, or naughty bits.

360-Diploma VR Video

Like CyberLink PowerDirector, Pinnacle Studio now allows you to work with 360-degree video, from cameras just like the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K and the Samsung Gear 360. You may both do some primary enhancing whereas sustaining the 360-degree facet or convert the 360 to straightforward 2D view. I examined footage from the latter. Confusingly, you need to add the 360 clip to the timeline first and then right-click on it and select Add as 360 or 360-to-Normal.

360-degree video editing in Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate

When enhancing 360-degree content material, you see two home windows with two tabs, a 360-degree supply and a preview window with the 2D finish outcome. You may pan across the scene both within the supply window with a crosshairs management or simply click on and drag the mouse pointer round within the preview window to vary the viewing angle.

This system did an excellent job of straightening out my 4K 360-degree take a look at content material in double fisheye format. If you’d like the content material to stay in 360 levels, you are restricted to primary trimming, fade transitions, and titles. After including titles, you even have to decide on Add as 360, if you would like that mode retained. I had hassle shifting a title, which landed within the heart of the video and did not show in 360 Preview mode. Stabilization is not an choice for 360 video, although it is nonetheless accessible from the menus; making an attempt to make use of it resulted in a program crash in my testing, nonetheless.

Small World 360-degree Effect

New for model 22 is the flexibility to create the “tiny planet” and “rabbit gap” results along with your 360-degree content material. These are enjoyable results, and you may even animate issues just like the zoom, rotation, and even transition from tiny planet to rabbit gap or vice versa.

Multicam Modifying

Like its stablemate Corel VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio allows you to concurrently edit a number of clips of the identical occasion shot at totally different angles. The bottom model permits two digital camera angles, Plus makes it 4, and Final provides you six. The software did an excellent job of aligning my clips utilizing their audio tracks, however it’s also possible to align utilizing time codes and markers. As with all these instruments, you turn amongst angles by tapping a clips field in a grid. There are even bins for switching to clear and to black, which is nice if you wish to add B-roll later.

Pinnacle Studio Multicam

If you hit OK, a brand new clip reveals up in your mission, not within the timeline. I like which you can right-click and select Edit Film to fine-tune angle shifts in a timeline and even reopen it within the multicam switcher window. Some multicam instruments, equivalent to that in VideoStudio, merely create a brand new clip that is not adjustable after the very fact.

New for Pinnacle’s multicam capabilities is the separate Multicam Seize software, mentioned above within the Import and Interface part above.

Cease Movement

Cease Movement is among the most interesting varieties of animation, in my ebook. Simply assume again to Rudolf the Purple-Nosed Reindeer or extra just lately to Rooster Run and Wallace and Gromit. The Pinnacle software allows you to management a linked digital camera to take pictures mechanically at time intervals you specify, and it may even present ghost photos of your final shot so you understand how to place the subsequent one.

You may then ship the captures to the timeline and alter length and apply some other enhancing. You may’t, nonetheless, create animated GIFs. The software now contains DSLR help, and round guides that inform you how far to maneuver an object to have it cross the display screen in a specified time interval between zero.three and 10 seconds.

Stop Motion in Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate

Superior Results

Pinnacle claims to supply greater than 2,00zero results. That is greater than anybody actually wants, and plenty of are duplicates with transitions or, worse, simply goofy overlays. Pinnacle would do higher to trim out the fats and mix the duplicates to make results simpler to seek out and use.

Colour Grading. With model 22, Pinnacle provides a raft of latest coloration instruments. The Normal and Plus editions add some primary coloration changes, however Final presents pro-level coloration grading. Select the top-left panel’s Editor button, select Colour, and also you see 4 numbered choices: Primary, Tone Curve, HSL Tuning, and Colour Wheel. Primary presents White Stability, Tone (which incorporates publicity, distinction, and different lighting choices), and Primary Settings (vibrance, saturation, readability, and haze correction).

Tone Curve in Pinnacle

The Auto Tone and Auto White Stability choices on this panel labored nicely for my pattern clips. You may even apply the very pro-level LUTs (lookup tables) for coloration mapping, however Pinnacle does not embody any by default. You will have to seek out them; you will get them from high-end video digital camera corporations should you shoot with these. I used to be capable of take a look at this with a LUT in .CUBE file sort, and it appropriately utilized a horror film look to the clip. The Tone Curve software, like Photoshop’s, allows you to change lighting for results, correction, or distinction changes. HSL (hue, saturation, lighting) allows you to change the colour depth and brightness individually for eight colours of the spectrum. One concern I had in testing this software was that I could not see the impact till shifting the play head. That is not an enormous deal, but it surely is not superb.

The Colour interface can also show a video scope in 4 modes: waveform, vector, histogram, and RGB parade. Skilled editors are acquainted with these views of coloration info, although they’re of much less use to amateurs.

Color Wheels in Pinnacle Studio

The Colour Wheels view allows you to alter saturation and hue individually for every of three tonal ranges: Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows, in addition to making use of an general coloration shift. It is fairly pro-level stuff like what you discover in Adobe Premiere Professional and Closing Minimize Professional, however not in Corel VideoStudio or Adobe Premiere Components. I admire that double-clicking the management factors resets them to the middle. You should utilize these instruments to both fine-tune the colours or to get some loopy results, as within the screenshot above.

Filters. Many of those are commonplace, old-school Photoshop filters, however there are various spectacular results amongst them, equivalent to Dream Glow and Previous Movie. Many included third-party results, equivalent to NewBlue’s Drop Shadow, Shredder, and Photon Blast, are high quality. With the Final version, you get a number of NewBlue plug-in results. The most recent of those to make its means into this system is NewBlue Video Necessities 5, which helps you to apply selective focus, selective coloration and selective tint. Different NewBlue packs embody a number of geometry-altering results, together with good auto-contrast, gradient-tint, diffusion, and rolling-shutter results.

Why ought to digital photographs be the one sort of content material you may flip into artwork and improve with artsy results? The Paint software in Pinnacle provides you spectacular Paint results: Stylization, Pencil Sketch, Oil Portray, Element Improve, and Cartoon. You are not truly portray on the picture, however the results make it look painted or drawn. I notably just like the Stylization impact, which seems like graphic novel artwork. The Cartoon impact makes use of extra of a black ink define across the object within the video. However these results aren’t as subtle as PowerDirector’s AI Types, which you are your video the look of particular artists, equivalent to Van Gogh.

Pinnacle Studio contains sturdy instruments for 3D enhancing, although that is gone out of trend for the second. Image-in-picture can also be nicely supported, and Pinnacle now has templates like these in PowerDirector, and what Premiere Components calls “video collages.” Pinnacle Studio features a dozen of what it calls Cut up Display screen templates. You may drag these onto the timeline after which open a sub-editor so as to add clips to the PiP format. The Cut up Display screen Template Creator allows you to draw shapes to create your very personal reusable PiP format. With model 22, you need to use keyframes to animate these templates.

Transparency. A particular software of its personal, this impact is accessible from a button above the timeline. This gives a straightforward approach to alter every observe’s transparency stage, in percentages. It is a great tool for creating an evocative impact, particularly to point out the passing of time. However I discover PowerDirector’s masking software with automated animations extra enjoyable.

Chroma-Keying. This labored nicely with my take a look at green-screen footage, practically completely eradicating the considerably imperfect inexperienced background.

Stabilization. The Stabilize software allows you to alter borders and zoom, and you may have it work within the background, as it’s pretty time-consuming. My shaky footage got here out considerably smoothed. As with all related instruments, nonetheless, it is no substitute for in-camera stabilization or, higher nonetheless, a tripod.

Titling. Textual content is a power for Pinnacle, with cool issues like 3D title enhancing like that present in Closing Minimize Professional X. You may change the title place on three axes, in addition to selecting mild supply and angle and materials varieties like steel, plastic. And you’ll animate it utilizing keyframes. It is a powerful software. Magix Film Edit Professional and PowerDirector have additionally added some nifty new title tips in latest variations, together with video masks title results. Even with out the 3D choices, Pinnacle presents a good selection of animated textual content choices, all of which you’ll be able to edit on-screen in WYSIWYG trend.

Display screen Cam. Pinnacle Studio’s screen-cam functionality is one thing you may additionally discover in Corel VideoStudio. The software comes as a separate utility known as Dwell Display screen Capturing. Pinnacle Studio’s implementation labored completely in my exams.


Sound in your digital motion pictures is one other sturdy level in Pinnacle Studio. Proper from the timeline, you may show stage controls, and toolbar buttons take you rapidly to a number of background music and to voiceover recording. You may even increase and decrease clip quantity by dragging a clip’s audio line up and down, as you may in Closing Minimize Professional.

The Scorefitter choices stretch background music of assorted types to suit your film. Simply drag its timeline entry to suit, and after processing some rendering, presto, instantaneous background music! The supply panel’s Sound Results tab presents a wealth of sound clips, from birdsong to sturdy wind to all method of automobiles. There are additionally audio cleansing instruments just like the Speech De-esser (to take away sibilance) and a noise reducer.

Audio ducking mechanically lowers background music throughout speech. The software labored nicely in a take a look at video, with extra management than its VideoStudio counterpart. I discovered it simple to set the brink for it to kick in and the quantity of discount in quantity of the background music.


I examined rendering time by making a film consisting of 4 clips of blended varieties (some 1080p, some SD, some 4K) with an ordinary set of transitions and rendering it to 1080p MPEG-Four at 15Mbps, H.264 Excessive Profile. Audio was MPEG AAC Audio: 192 Kbps. I examined on an Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC working 64-bit Home windows 10 Dwelling and sporting a 4K show, 16GB RAM, a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700T CPU, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics card.

The take a look at film (which has a length of slightly below 5 minutes) took Pinnacle Studio simply 1:54 (min:sec) minute and 54 seconds, coming in simply behind PowerDirector’s snappy 1:29. Each of these handily outstrip another contenders I examined: Corel VideoStudio took Four:20 and Adobe Premiere Components took 5:18.

Nevertheless, when utilizing a number of the program’s extra demanding options, equivalent to time remapping, this system give up unexpectedly. Thankfully, when this occurred, this system supplied to let me resume engaged on the mission final open after I restarted it. Such instability has lengthy been an unlucky hallmark of the complicated class of video enhancing software program, however lately it is improved on the entire.

Sharing and Output

This system features a full disc-authoring module with help for Blu-ray discs, together with DVD and AVCHD format. To go this route, you click on the Disc Menu Content material button, which seems like a disc. A wide selection of menu types is at your disposal; you add chapter markers to style and preview with on-screen disc controls. After this you select the Export to MyDVD choice, which seems while you click on the Export mode-switching button.

As for the extra trendy output methodology—sharing on-line—Pinnacle’s Export dialog’s Cloud choice presents direct importing to Fb, Vimeo, YouTube, and Field. Once I tried the primary, I used to be fortunately capable of set the privateness stage earlier than importing, and I had a alternative of video high quality, from 360p to 1080p. Sadly, this system cannot create animated GIFs out of your quick motion pictures—one thing Adobe Premiere Components does with ease.

It’s also possible to merely export to disk in a variety of file codecs, together with AVCHD; DivX; MKV; MPEG-1, 2, and Four; QuickTime; and WMV. Presets allow you to goal your output format to standard viewing units such because the iPhone and Xbox. Fortunately, the most recent model provides the flexibility to export to H.265 HEVC (Excessive Effectivity Video Coding) format, which is necessary for data-hungry 4K and even 8K content material, because it doubles compression whereas sustaining picture high quality.

The Pinnacle of Client Video Modifying?

Pinnacle Studio is a wonderful video enhancing software, and the most recent model provides a couple of nifty new enhancing instruments. That mentioned, this model of Pinnacle Studio was simply unstable sufficient in testing that I would advise present customers to carry off on upgrading till Corel updates it. Final yr’s model remains to be a lot succesful in the interim. The corporate usually releases a .5 replace midway via the yr, and I will replace this assessment when that occurs. The software program nonetheless impresses with its many highly effective video enhancing instruments (although its motion-tracking may use a bit of work), and much more with its rendering velocity. It is actually a near-professional-level product. Its usability has improved, although it is nonetheless considerably behind our Editors’ Selections for video enhancing on the PC, CyberLink PowerDirector and Corel VideoStudio. For macOS, our Editors’ Alternative is Closing Minimize Professional X.

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