4 video editors: Pro results for ambitious amateurs

Video-editing software now offers features formerly only available to pros. We review four of the top packages (with video examples).

By Serdar Yegulalp, Computerworld |  Software

The latest incarnation, VideoStudio Pro X6, keeps the simplified workflow of previous editions (the "capture/edit/share" tabbed interface), with most of its changes under the hood or outside the program itself in the accompanying suite of products.

The motion-tracking function in Corel VideoStudio Pro X6 makes some normally very difficult processes (such as blurring a license plate) easier.

While the suite has been enhanced to support 4K video footage, it does not support importing Redcode at any resolution. It does, however, support AVCHD 2.0, which most consumer and prosumer video cameras shoot natively. To keep your system from choking when working with 4K footage, a "Smart Proxy" function generates low-res copies of footage for the editing process, similar to the same feature in Sony Vegas Pro.

One example of how VideoStudio Pro tries to package high-end features for non-technical users is the motion-matching function. Take a clip, mark an object in it with either a bull's-eye or with an area selection tool, and the program will attempt to follow the movements of that object and generate a motion path for it. You can then attach other objects to that motion path, such as a text label, or re-use the motion path elsewhere. Area-selected paths can also be used to generate a mosaic effect over part of the image as a way to, for example, quickly blur out faces or license plate numbers.

Powerful as this function is, it does require guidance. When I tested it, I found that the most accurate tracking came when I selected an object as close to its center as possible, or avoided objects that changed rapidly in size (in other words, quickly came closer or moved further away). On the whole, though, it's still far less tedious than trying to match-move things entirely by hand.

VideoStudio X6 includes a screen capture program called ScreenCap X6, which all by itself is a value-add: People editing tutorials or demonstration videos will love it. You can pick an individual application window to record from via a drop-down menu, draw a rectangle on the screen to delineate where to record from (you can automatically constrain the rectangle to the aspect ratio of your display), or simply capture an entire display. Audio can be captured simultaneously from a microphone or from the system's main audio channel.

When you're done, the resulting capture is added automatically to a VideoStudio Pro clip library and can be used immediately in a project. The number of frame rates you get for a given clip will vary depending on your hardware, but the program will attempt to capture at 15, 25 or 30 fps.

My one big complaint with ScreenCap X6 is that you can't adjust the capture area while recording -- in other words, you can't zoom in or out. You have to stop recording, alter the capture zone and start again.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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