Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Corel Corporation regarding the just released VideoStudio Pro X5, the new version of their resourceful video editing application.
We began our discussion by talking about the increasingly important role that video is playing these days, especially on the Internet. We reflected on the fact that there is a new breed of content creator who is not a complete amateur, yet at the same time is not looking to win an Oscar or an Emmy for editing. Instead, these might be journalists or other media creators who just want to get their messages across.
Thanks to video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and countless other news portals and blogs, video has not only become mainstream but ubiquitous. Of course each new model cell phone also competes with ever-higher res HD cameras.
Whether it’s an obscure recipe for Moroccan pastries or a review of a lavaliere mic, someone probably has made a video for it. There’s also the scores of well meaning folks who continuously crank out tons of video tutorials on everything from how to play the chords to your favorite tune on the guitar to training videos for all manner of computer software.
To be a part of the online conversation, increasingly you need to be equally conversant and at ease using video.
However, while the creators of such videos need to edit, they usually don’t need the sophistication, or learning curve, of a mainline editing package like Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer.
So if you’re among those creating short guitar tutorials and video blog entries but don’t happen to be a full-time editor, Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X5 might be exactly what you need. As a nice touch, the software offers tools perfect for web-video creators that are unique to the application and make the process as effortless as possible.
Let’s have a look at some of the new features in VideoStudio Pro X5.
Ready, set, capture
Many of the people who make tutorial videos on how to use software on the web use a screen capture program such as TechSmith’s Camtasia, which records whatever is happening on your screen into a movie file.
In version X5 of VideoStudio Pro, Corel has implemented just that: you can now use the app’s fully featured screen capture and recording capability. That’s right folks, no need to buy a separate program. Now you can capture inside your video-editing app and combine it with audio, video, graphics and special effects.
This will save you some dough. You now need only one program to capture and edit. What’s VideoStudio Pro X5 cost? Just $80, or $100 for the Ultimate version.
A capture program like Camtasia Studio retails for $299.
With VideoStudio Pro’s screencast tools, you can also add voice over narration, background music, as well as the titling, animations and visual effects that are part of X5.
But one of the top new features is that the app becomes among the very first editing programs to offer integrated HTML 5 video output.
Video on the Internet, of course, continues to be enabled by well-established technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight and Java.
However, since video is so important to the future of the Internet, HTML 5 was specifically engineered with new features to display it. HTML 5 now offers the ability to enable video embedding by including the video element.
Video will be an open web standard and not part of any third party proprietary technology. However, HTML 5 still has issues that must be resolved. One of which is: which codec will emerge as the standard for the web? For now there are two contenders: H.264 (favored by Microsoft and Apple), and WebM (Google).
There is something else that is perhaps the coolest thing about VideoStudio Pro X5’s HTML 5 abilities. Thanks to HTML 5’s new canvas element, VideoStudio Pro allows you to put graphics on a separate track and add links and behaviors to them. In other words, they can function as buttons and buttons mean interactivity.
This means you could use VideoStudio Pro X5 to create a video-based interactive presentation by linking the buttons to different chapter marks that you have defined on the timeline. HTML 5 capable devices include the Apple iPad and the iPhone’s version of the Safari Web browser as well as Android tablets and phones. Very cool indeed for $80 list.
For example, you might be making a video that demonstrated how to make a wooden cabinet. You could set up still graphics in a menu over your video that could jump to the different sections that you set up with chapter markers, such as sawing, gluing, sanding, and finishing. Thus your viewers would be easily able to play, or replay just the parts that they wanted to. Of course those buttons could be external links, say to a store that sells woodworking supplies.
This advanced interactivity is something you once needed Flash to accomplish. While Adobe is hard at work on their own HTML 5 tools, right now you have the option of using VideoStudio Pro.
Time to make the templates
VideoStudio Pro X5 comes with a library of pre-designed templates for you to use in your projects. Rather than breaking out After Effects and Photoshop every time you need an attractive background to lay your video into, just dip into the library and choose a template.
Many of the multi-track templates were designed with motion and have placeholders for you to replace with your video clips as well as elements that can be made interactive in HTML 5.
While you might find these templates useful in your own projects, you can also make your own by importing graphics and using the layout and animation tools in VideoStudio Pro. Once you do, you can either save them as a template on your hard drive, or upload them to Corel’s new online trading community, photovideolife.com. Once there you can download free and premium templates, as well as additional content such as 3D titles and animations.
Seems like more and more companies are creating online marketplaces where users can trade their own creations as well as where you can buy aftermarket products. I think it’s a great trend and a smart business model. While the initial cost of a product can be low, a marketplace can continue to generate a steady stream of additional revenue.
So far, we’ve discussed a few of the important major new features in VideoStudio Pro X5, but there are others of note.
VideoStudio Pro X5 has been written to take advantage of today’s multi-core processors. By distributing processing over several PC cores, these processes are completed in parallel. Obviously this means that X5 is the fastest version yet.
You now have the freedom to add more multimedia tracks — up to 20 overlay tracks — for video clips, graphics or photos as well as two title or subtitle tracks and four audio tracks.
One important new feature is the ability to drag and drop multi-layer graphics from Corel’s PaintShop Pro photo editing app into VideoStudio Pro where the separate layers are automatically distributed onto separate overlay tracks in the timeline. Since layers can contain transparency, you can composite them over the video for different effects, or animate them using the animation tools. For those unfamiliar with PaintShop Pro, it’s similar to Photoshop (but costs a lot less).
Burning and sharing
Once you’re finished making your video, it’s time to distribute it to the world and VideoStudio Pro X5 provides you with a number of different ways to do just that.
You can upload video directly from the application to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Flicker as well as output them for specific mobile devices.
As discussed earlier, thanks to VideoStudio Pro’s new support of HTML 5, you can produce dynamic projects that let viewers interact with your video online.
There is also a disc authoring solution contained in VideoStudio Pro X5. With it you can create DVD and Blu-ray discs complete with menus, titles, subtitles and transitions. In addition, you can use the program to burn from an ISO disc image, which is helpful for disc replication or backups.
The Ultimate version
VideoStudio Pro comes in Standard and Ultimate versions. The Ultimate version, contains the following additional apps: proDAD VitaScene (offers more than 100 broadcast-quality customizable effects); proDAD RotoPen (lets you draw on maps with animated pen effects or apply animated pen effects to any path); Boris Graffiti (this well known 3D titling and vector animation plug-in allows you to put text on a path, or even create 3D text with bump maps and reflections); proDAD Mercalli (3D video stabilizer); NewBlue Motion Effects (a collection of effects and motion filters); and NewBlue Titler (easy to use solution for 2D and 3D titles).
Did we mention that all those extras come when you drop $20 more?
There’s no argument that pro motion picture and video editors in New York, Hollywood and elsewhere won’t be picking up VideoStudio Pro to do their projects. Corel makes no claim on those users. Instead, the Canadian company is very clear that their target market consists of the legions of web authors, bloggers, video enthusiasts, educators, families and others who simply don’t need an industrial strength NLE.
This is not to say it doesn’t do things that high-end pros won’t find useful. I think the ability to do screen capture, output HTML 5 interactive video productions and the option to save reusable multi-track templates are unique and useful for anyone editing motion media.
Besides, the app is inexpensive at $80 for the standard and $100 for the Ultimate version.
If you are a video maker or content creator for the web, blog, classroom or otherwise and need an editing and screen capture program that is accessible, has a library of templates and won’t break the bank, you’ll want to take a look at Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X5.