It doesn't seem like it's been that long since X4 came out, but now VideoStudio Pro X5 is on the street. Should you upgrade? We'll review the software to help you make that decision.
Tons of New Features
I’ve been using VideoStudio Pro for a few years now and while I’m always interested when a new version of the software is released, I also tend to be a bit leery, too. Sure, I love new features – who doesn’t? – but will these new features slow down the program or make me learn a new interface when I was quite happy with the old one? Or, worse yet, will the updates not really add enough value to justify upgrading?
Even though I felt there were a few tiny things missing, I was quite happy with version X4 of VSP and felt it was a major enhancement over previous releases. However, I’ve been testing out VSP X5 for the past week or so, and I definitely don’t want to go back to X4. In fact, I’ve already uninstalled X4 from my system and I’m doing all of my production work completely in X5 now.
Before jumping in and taking a look at some of my favorite additions to X5, here’s a quick rundown of the major new inclusions in the latest version of Corel’s video editing software.
- Screen recording capabilities – You no longer need to use another application to capture footage for screencasts before editing in VSP.
- Template organization – Manage and preview templates within the X5 organizer, just as you would with images, audio files or any other asset.
- HTML5 authoring
- More multimedia track support – X5 lets you add up to 20 overlay tracks; plus, there’s room for an additional 2 title tracks and 4 audio tracks on top of that.
- 3D video import
- Import multi-layer graphics from PaintShop Pro – When importing, each layer is placed on a separate track.
- Canon DSLR support for Stop Motion
- Support for videos shot in 50p/60p
Screen Recording Capabilities
One of the biggest new additions to VideoStudio Pro X5 is the screen recording tool, which allows you to capture video footage from your computer and insert it directly into your timeline for editing and inclusion in other projects. Not only is this extremely useful for those who want to produce tutorials and software demos, but it also offers a relatively painless way to create training materials, pre-recorded webinars and snazzy business presentations. Or, if you’re into more casual productions, you can use the screen recorder to capture video from your latest gaming session, edit the footage to toss in some fun effects and post the result directly to YouTube without having to hassle with multiple software programs.
In my opinion, this feature alone makes it worth upgrading to X5 since good screencasting apps can easily run $200 or more. Sure, there are some free options available, but they all have limited functionality and can take a lot of time to figure out how to use them properly. Plus, the freebies don’t have all the other editing capabilities of VideoStudio.
Another nice feature in VideoStudio Pro X5 that should be very appealing to web authors is the ability to create HTML5 output – complete with clickable text, images and other video elements. When using this output method, an entire folder is created and this folder can easily be uploaded directly to your web site or opened in other HTML5 editing tools for further refinement.
Not only is this a great tool for those who are already creating HTML5 video in other applications, but it’s also a wonderful learning aid for anyone who wants to learn more about this type of web authoring. Through the Corel guide, you can download several free HTML5 Instant Project templates, swap out the placeholder media files with your own, and create the HTML5 file and all its component parts in minutes. Then, you can view the result locally in your web browser and see how all the elements tie together.
Template Support and Organization
Even though the ability to import and export templates was introduced in X4, the functionality was somewhat awkward. There really wasn’t a good way to preview a template before importing it into a project, so managing your template library was a bit frustrating. This issue has been addressed quite well in X5, fully integrating project templates into the video production workflow.
A new tab, labeled Instant Project, has been added to the Organizer panel – here, you can import and preview any template in the same manner you would with other assets such as photos, video clips and audio files. There’s even a quick link to the Corel Guide here that you can click to look for new free content you can download and use in your productions.
It may seem like a fairly simple addition, but this is actually one of my favorite new features in VideoStudio Pro X5, since it majorly enhances my workflow process. Now, if I design a particular sequence that I want to use in lots of other projects, I can export that creation as a template and very easily find it again whenever I need it.
With the release of X4, Corel launched PhotoVideoLife.com, a template-sharing site that allows you to upload your own instant project templates and download those created by others. With the improved integration of templates in X5, I suspect that PhotoVideoLife will start to see a lot more traffic – especially since many of the available downloads come direct from Corel designers.
While I love the concept of PhotoVideoLife and I think there are some great templates available there, the site can be a little frustrating to use. The site doesn’t support video previews at this time, so you only have a few frame shots of each template to look at before deciding if you want to download or not. Plus, before you can download a template, you have to add it to a shopping cart (even if the template is free) and then wait for an email with your download link. As more people become involved with the PhotoVideoLife community, I hope this process becomes a bit more streamlined.
Import Multi-Layer Images
Before, if you created a multi-layer image in PaintShop Pro and wanted to preserve those layers when importing to VideoStudio, you had to export each individual layer as a PNG file and put them all back together again after the import process. Even then, you were limited by the number of overlay tracks in previous versions of VSP.
With X5, all you have to do is save the image in PSP format to preserve the layers. Then, you can import that file directly into VideoStudio with each layer placed on a separate track. This allows you to apply different effects and transitions to each layer to create some awesome results.
Although I’ve only used this new feature sparingly so far, I’ve very impressed by how smoothly it works and how much time it saves. Plus, when coupled with the new ability to add up to 20 overlay tracks, this capability opens up a ton of new design possibilities.
Speed and Performance
One of the reasons why I loved version X4 of VideoStudio Pro so much was because it was so darn fast – not just faster than previous VSP releases, but faster than comparable video editing apps as well. With the inclusion of so many new tools in X5, I was worried that speed might be compromised. Happily, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, X5 is even faster in some instances since it takes full advantage of GPUs and multi-core processors.
Note that these performance enhancements don’t always extend to certain plugins. Boris Graffiti, included in the Ultimate version of VSP X5, still suffers from slow rendering on many systems. But, you can improve the performance of this plugin and many others quite a bit by adjusting the preview quality within the specific plugin’s settings menu.
Pricing and Overall Rating
VideoStudio Pro X5 is available in two flavors. The Standard package lists for $79.99, but owners of version X3 or later can opt for the upgrade price of $59.99. Likewise, the Ultimate package is priced at $99.99, but the upgrade is a little cheaper at $79.99. Whether you’re upgrading or you’re a first-time purchaser, I definitely recommend shelling out the extra $20 and picking up the Ultimate package, which includes extras such as Boris Graffiti, NewBlue Video Essentials, and a collection of proDAD tools and filters.
So, what’s the final verdict? VideoStudio Pro X5 is one of the best values I’ve seen in ages. Not only do you get an excellent video editing application packed with features and easy-to-use tools, but now you also get screencasting functionality as well. I’m not quite sure how VSP has managed to incorporate all of these utilities without suffering from a performance penalty, but it has. I rate the software 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
*Please note - the author received 'evaluation copy of VideoStudio Pro X5' from a company other than Bright Hub in order to develop the content contained within this article or review.