- Simple to use
- multiple track timeline
- narrative record
- VCD and DVD authoring.
- Effects can't be applied to sub-clips
- animated library pane can be distracting.
Ulead's Video Studio 6.0 offers a simple and direct solution for videographers who want to capture, edit and output their video without having to depend on separate tools or utilities.
Video Studio 6.0 uses a rather linear workflow model, with a toolbar along the top of the screen providing quick access to the eight options -- start, capture, storyboard, effect, overlay, title, audio and finish. However, you're not tied to this process, and can easily jump back and forth between modes. As is now common, you can capture video directly from within Video Studio, but owners of DV cameras can choose to capture straight to DVD-compatible MPEG2 files, rather than cumbersome DV AVI.
The interface is very similar to previous versions, but now uses a preview screen that expands to take up any spare monitor space you may have, rather than the fixed-resolution workspace of before. Library thumbnails are shown in the left-hand pane (although the animations can be distracting), with clip and tool options on the right.
Generally speaking, the transition and video effects supplied by Video Studio 6.0 aren't quite as polished as those in MGI's more expensive VideoWave 5.0, and you can't allocate effects to sections of a clip -- they have to be applied to the entire clip. So if you want to isolate an effect within a clip, you'll need to cut a sub-clip from it before applying the effect. It also lacks VideoWave's timewarp facility for speeding up or slowing down your footage.
However, Video Studio 6.0 has the advantage of a multi-track timeline. This isn't as advanced as the one you'll find in Adobe's Premiere, but does provide you with an easy way of applying titles, effects, audio clips and overlays so that they cover more than one clip, or the entire project. You can extract CD audio, and Video Studio 6.0 also lets you record a vocal track while you watch a project preview, which is handy for documentary voice-overs.
Video Studio's overlay feature is possibly its most powerful asset, with a second track on the timeline allowing picture-in-picture effects or composites to be built on top of the existing timeline -- regardless of clip positioning. The DVD plug-in found in version 5.0 is also available here, providing a simple but highly effective method of creating and burning DVD or VCD titles.
Of the three products reviewed here, Video Studio 6.0 offers the best combination of features, simplicity and performance, with a price that makes it an extremely attractive prospect for the less demanding videographer.