First Looks: Corel VideoStudio 2018

If I was ever inclined to write a history of software, specifically slanted towards the personal computer from the “early” days starting at the time of the Tandy TRS-80, Apple II, Macintosh and of course, the IBM PC, along with Lotus, Adobe, Microsoft, Wordstar, WordPerfect and Quattro and Supercalc, would be the name Corel. (And one day I just might. I was there you know)

You see, back in around 1985 when Aldus had Freehand and Adobe had Illustrator (before Adobe bought out Aldus and merged the two products) there was Corel Draw, and on the PC front – as against the Apple platform – it was untouchable.

Corel has had a lot of history since then – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corel – but today it is still around with a vengeance and bigger and stronger than ever.

And in the last week, the company has released Corel VideoStudio 2018, it’s consumer video editing package, that in truth, makes some of the “big boys” look lame in comparison.

Breaking from the previous version number vernacular in its name – the last was X10.5 – this latest carnation has a bunch of new features, that for the price is extraordinary. We have always said that VideoStudio punched above its weight, and VideoStudio 2018 is no exception.

Basic Functions

VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 User Interface.JPG

Let’s take it as a given that after so many versions, VideoStudio lets you edit video in a pretty straightforward fashion, tried and true. You can import from all of the standards as well as the newer ones such as MTS, MXF and XAVC in H.264 and H.265 formats and bring in stills in anything from TIFF to PSD and all in between.

Similarly, audio is well catered for, and in a nod to “older” systems, if you even have a Firewire card (look it up kiddies), MiniDV, Digital8 and VCR  tape footage can be ingested. Good luck finding one that will suit current motherboards mind you, and if you do find one, please let me know!

Output formats are also well entrenched with digital formats such as MP4, DVD and Blu-ray (this needs a separate plug in due to licencing by the way) and even device formats such as for the Microsoft XBOX, Sony Playstation and Apple gizmos as well as Nintendo Wii in the mix.

Transitions? Of course. By the shed load (if you must) as well as visual effects (ditto the comment on transitions – check out any George Lucas / Star wars movie for a masterclass in transitions/effects). More advanced stuff is there too such as green screen, slow and fast motion and even basic colour and white balance correction.

New Features

But it is the new features that make Corel VideoStudio 2018 shine like a supernova.

As regular readers know, here at FV&VR central we are playing with virtual reality at the moment and have our toes in the water with 360 degree video using our 360Fly camera. Well VideoStudio 2018 is on its second generation of 360 editing (version X10.5) also did it), and I’ll have a more in depth look at this side of things shortly so stay tuned.

Suffice to say that in this version VideoStudio lets you manipulate your 360 degree footage so it lets the viewer look in any direction by changing the viewing angle during playback. The viewing angle can be controlled by using a touchscreen, onscreen controls, or by moving the viewing device, such as a smartphone or tablet, in different directions. If you too are in the early days of  dabbling with 360 degree footage / VR, then VideoStudio 2018 is worth the price for this functionality alone. The likes of Skybox and Mettle can come later when you have come to grips with the basics.

Another new feature sure to prove popular is Split Screen templates. Sure, anyone can create picture-in-picture (PIP), but this is proper Top Gear opening titles stuff, with multiple screens of different sizes and shapes all running their own clips. And unlike higher end systems where you need to use Bezier curves and lines to create masks and position them, Corel makes it dead easy.

VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 Split Screen Video.jpg

Allied with this, is Pan and Crop and Resize / Zoom. Vegas has had this feature since Day One, and it is one the most used so it is very welcome here I can tell you, letting you perform all sorts of tricks on your video. The famous “Ken Burns” system uses this technique to great effect, in that case turning an otherwise boring video into something very special.

You can even pan and zoom a clip as the video is playing.

Another new function is that of 3D titling. Now I’ll admit this is not high on my priorities, but it does have its place and Corel has made sure it is not simply letting the user extrude an existing font in the z-space, so has incorporated a full bevelling / lighting / texture / camera system into the feature.

If you’re into Wallace and Gromit et al (or as an Aussie check out the phenomenal work done by our very own Nick Hilligoss from the ABC Natural History Unit in Melbourne), then the enhancements of Corel VideoStudio’s Stop Motion functions will have you fizzing with excitement.

In short, VideoStudio provides you with the stop motion animation controls you need to sync with your camera and capture frames automatically. Transparent onion skin layers help you see the change between each frame. You can use the new overlay grids map out each subtle movement. VideoStudio 2018 adds support for more Canon cameras and introduces support for Nikon cameras. Just plug in your camera and start capturing images—Stop Motion will do the rest.

Have a Play

Of course, the best way to see if all this video goodness appeals to you – and video editing systems do become personal with one man’s ceiling another man’s floor I know – the best way is to have a play. Corel has made sure there are oodles of tutorials, examples and clips to dabble with, so the first step is to get the trial version.

Thankfully, it is your option to download all of the effects and transitions etc (the overall package is around 5GB off memory) and with Australia’s current state of the art (hah!) internet connectivity, this means it might take a little while to grab the lot, so just do it bite sized chunks if you are in this boat (as we are here).

Conclusion

Now if you are a dyed in the wool Adobe Premiere user or one-eyed Vegas Pro user, there is no way you are going to drop these sorts of systems for Corel VideoStudio 2018. Well I doubt it, unless you are really struggling with coping with the workflow of these high-end NLEs that is.

But if you want to take your Windows MovieMaker efforts to bigger heights or really want to get serious about that smartphone or compact camera footage, or even a hobbyist who has decided to go the extra step or branch into the areas of say 360 / VR or stop motion, then Corel VideoStudio 2018 is right up your alley.

And the casual GoPro fanatic will be able to perform magic on those hours and hours of skiing / fishing / boating / motorbike / car / insert yours here footage you have.

And at USD$99 you won’t go wrong. Get the trial version here.

We’ll have more indepth looks at specific of Corel VideoStudio 2018 such as 360Editing, Pan and Crop and more very soon.

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