Mar 12, 2011

Avid Studio Review: Editing Software

As part of my continually progressing edit studio upgrade, this week I purchased the newly released Avid Studio.  For years I've done the bulk of my editing work on Pinnacle, this is also an Avid product, and although both Pinnacle and Avid Studio are based in the consumer to prosumer series of editing products they're both able to produce professional level results.  I consider this to be the best of both worlds. 

Pinnacle, and now the new Avid Studio, continue on with a tradition of user friendly functions and a wide range of custom options for the more advanced editor.  The long and short of it is that if you've enjoyed Pinnacle, you'll enjoy the refined features (and more ambitious layout) that Avid Studio provides. 
The basic rundown of features looks like this: 

  • Sophisticated movie editing tools, including markers and keyframes
  • Powerful media management library to organize videos, photos, and audio
  • Media editor to apply corrections or effects to videos, photos, and audio
  • Unlimited timeline tracks for advanced editing and compositing
  • Professional add-ons and plug-ins (valued at over $2,000):
    • Red Giant Plug-in package
    • Complete Avid content package
    • 100 additional HD video transitions
  • Comprehensive collection of how-to videos from Class on Demand™
  • Motion Titler for adding animated graphics and text
  • Audio tools for professional sound quality
  • 5.1 surround sound import/export functionality
  • AVCHD burning; DVD and Blu-ray disc authoring and burning tools 

The editing I do is largely promotional, largely web-based in HD, and the software I use needs to provide an ample amount of flexibility and user-friendliness to ensure that I can meet the varied requirements of both corporate clients and myself.  The biggest upgrade in jumping from Pinnacle 15 to Avid Studio is being able to carry over the filter features from Pinnacle into the unlimited timeline tracks of Avid Studio.  For more advanced edits, the 3 video and 3 audio tracks in Pinnacle simply aren't enough.  That was a big limitation, and Avid Studio's unlimited tracks are by far the most noticeable and welcome addition.

Avid Studio comes with an ambitious collection of new transitions and filter options, however at least half of them you'll never use because they look like they came from community TV in the mid-90's. I guess this is always the case if you're looking to work off of presets. There are some great effects though, that when tweaked, allow for some very unique looks and titles that you can preview on your clips in real-time.

Capturing video is also made easier as the software will catalogue your individual shots as it imports instead of just showing one lump sum of video.  This makes scrolling your library a breeze, and makes picking and choosing the clips you want simple.

In general, Avid Studio adds a bit more polish to where Pinnacle leaves off.  A more structured (and in some ways, technical) timeline is helpful for larger, more intensive edits, where coordinating specific shots requires the space and markers to do so.  All this is achieved while still maintaining a clean and efficient layout, that even a novice editor could pick up without too much effort. 

As someone who edits on a day to day basis, the strength of this software is in its obvious interface that takes the pompousness out of other programs.  I found it easy to organize and layout numerous tracks of footage, cut between them, and make precision edits.         

I look forward to experimenting and using Avid Studio in combination with my other editing software as I move forward.  I think it's yet another amazing example of just how affordable it's becoming to produce diverse and high-end video on a smaller (and often) individual scale.  If you're passionate and educated about editing, I think you'll find that no one will notice you're using a relatively affordable piece of software - in fact, you'll have others who screen your work asking how you did that and what you were using.  

With so many options, it's a good time to be an editor.

For more info, check out the follow up post I wrote that highlights some of the problems I've come across with Avid Studio and where it could use improvement - CLICK HERE.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, I wanted to upgrade from the old Studio and had heard some downers about the Pinnacle upgrades after 12.0. (Last time I upgraded was to 11 and after that really leery of anything else after reading reviews.)

Anyway, need to upgrade to accomodate a new computer. Really like the way the old Studio program operates, user-friendly to me and made some fun stuff with it. Just for personal use, althoug a bit limited. But enough of a perfectionist that, even though it's only for my personal use, I want it to look as pro as I can make it. For the price, Avid looks like what I want.

Editing Luke said...

I think the price is certainly one of the strong points, and there are enough options to keep your editing fresh.

As someone who has worked with Premiere, Final Cut, and the pro version of Avid - you can't beat the user friendliness of this program.

Anonymous said...

Hello Luke,
Does Avid Studio have it's own Archive/Restore tool like Pinnacle Studio 15? Thanks and take care.

Editing Luke said...

Sadly, Avid Studio doesn't have the new archive/restore feature that Pinnacle 15 offers. This is an unfortunate setback that for whatever reason they decided not to include it.

I've gotten around this problem however by purchasing several large external hard drives connected through a USB hub. This allows me to archive projects myself by keeping complete edits organized on specific drives. While not as ideal as having the software manage this, it does keep me connected to where my footage is. For any editor, that's a good habit to get into regardless of an archive/restore feature - and really isn't an issue when space is easier and cheaper to come by these days.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Luke. Thanks for the review. I was wondering, does Avid Studio allow you to bring over the Scorefitter library? I recently purchased the complete set from Pinnacle and would not want to leave that behind.


Editing Luke said...

To be honest, I haven't worked with the scorefitter library stuff much. However, I was able to use all of my previous filters from Pinnacle by importing them into Avid Studio. In that respect, if the scorefitters work with Pinnacle 15, I'd expect them to work here also as that function hasn't changed.

Scott said...

Thanks for the review.

I am currently using Pinnacle Studio 14 and upgrading to version 15 would be about half of the cost of upgrading to Avid Studio.

Is the cost worth it, would you recommend going straight to Avid studio.

Look forward to your thoughts.


Editing Luke said...

Thanks for the comment, Scott.

I'd say the cost is worth it if you think you could use the unlimited timelines of Avid Studio. This is by far the biggest difference between the programs and it's what you'll notice most when it comes to editing larger projects.

If you've felt comfortable working within the limited timeline tracks of the previous Pinnacle programs, then you won't feel limited by Pinnacle 15. However, if like me you've felt constrained on bigger edits and wished that you could spread your video, titles, and audio over more than just the 5 or 6 tracks in Pinnacle, then Avid Studio is worth the extra cost and will go a long way in facilitating your more ambitious editing projects.

Still, both good pieces of software in my honest opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Luke. Appreciate reading your review.

I was wondering if you'd looked/noticed if there are 64bit executables included, or if it's simply 32bit? Wanting/hoping to leverage 64bit Windows 7.

I'm torn between upgrading to this, or cutting it loose, and learning Sony Vegas Platinum.


Anonymous said...

Hi Luke-

I was wondering the about rendering speeds. I built a PC specifically for Studio 14 based on what the techs at Pinncale recommended. I have Windows 7 64 bit and an i7 processor, tons of ram, and loads of Video ram. I got the fastest hard drives I could find (but not solid state) with a plenty of space...then I find out that my software is only 32bit. The new Pinnacle Studio 15 is only 32bit. I am considering moving to Avid Studio for quicker rendering time. Have you noticed an increase in speed with this software?

Editing Luke said...

Avid Studio is still a 32 bit program, but it will work with Windows 7 64 bit. I haven't tested this personally, this is just what the software advertises.

Chad, Vegas is also a great program and I think it has some strengths for more intensive edits - I've mainly used Avid Studio/Pinnacle for web based productions.

I have noticed that the software is marginally faster than the previous version of Pinnacle I was using, but it still occasionally overthinks and takes its time. There are a lot of variables in this too - heavy use of filters, transitions, titles, etc. always take longer to render.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your quick reply Luke. Appreciate the feedback. Sorry, I had one other question... Pinnacle Studio doesn't make proper use of the controls in NewBlue's plugins, and I was wondering if Avid Studio is different in this respect?

Hope that made sense.


Editing Luke said...

Chad, I haven't played with the new blue plugins myself (as of yet) but Avid Studio does allow you to import the upgrades you were using with Pinnacle. I'd expect that their functionality has improved with the newer software as it's designed to be more versatile, but can't say for certain how this plugin translates.

Anonymous said...

I have pinnacle 14. I am trying to decide if i should upgrade to 15 or go to Avid. The biggest thing i miss in Pinnacle is the ability to tag clips and then sort them. I have a few hundred tapes from scuba diving, family movies, orchestra performances,.etc. I want to right click a clip and add numerous tags (Caribbean, fish, deep dive). I want to be able to search the many thousand clips and find content. Does Avid allow this type of clip tagging?

Editing Luke said...

Yes, you are able to label your pictures and video with specific names within your Avid Studio edit library.

Anonymous said...


I have Pinnacle 14 and always had problems rendering large HD clips (2GB 1920x1080x60i). These files ended up very pixelated after rendering.

I hoped that this would not be the case with Avid Studio, but unfortunately, the exact same thing happens.

Interesting enough that Studio 15 renders these files correctly.

I've chatted numerous times with support, with no solution.

If you have any idea why this pixelation happens, I would really appreciate it.

Editing Luke said...

I imagine you've gone through all the troubleshooting, and I myself haven't come across this problem.

All I can really suggest is that you pay diligent attention to how you're importing your raw footage and the format you're exporting it in. As an added precaution, I've often found my renders to be far more seamless if all of the live-rendering that the program does has finished before I finalize the movie.

Unfortunately, there are so many variables between equipment, software, and formats that you just have to figure out what's causing the problem through the process of elimination. At the very least, you've found something that does work.

Anonymous said...

I still use Pinnacle 11 cause it renders files more quickly. I mainly create .wmvs for the web. I upgraded to P12 and it literally would take almost 4 times longer to render the same file and when you're dealing with a 15 minute clip with effects it would take hours. I stuck with P11.

I recently installed the P15 and Studio trial versions. Rendering 1280x720 .wmvs with P15 still took twice as long as P11. Studio is much quicker and comparable to P11 so I think I will upgrade to it. Also, I need to start making .mp4s with the h.264 codec and P15 will not allow you to select the h.264 codec. Studio does.

AvidStudioPro said...

Great review. Avid Studio allows users to make high quality films and videos. The interface is easy on the eyes and the tools are indespencible. I love the add-ons (especially Magic Bullet Looks). Take a look at my YouTube page for tutorials and my Facebook page for news, tips, and advice.

ObiShawnKenobi said...

Hello....I have been using Studio for a few months now and LOVE it.... except a week ago it started crashing when I render, it now wont even render movies I already rendered a few weeks ago... I am curious if switching to 64bit windows 7 would make it handle rendering video w lots of plugins better? Thanks for your time!

Anonymous said...

thanks, very good =)

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