VideoStudio Ultimate X8

Corel’s new VideoStudio Ultimate X8, comes with XAVC S support and a huge collection of additional content.

Corel VideoStudio was introduced in 2008 when Corel acquired ULead and with it its VideoStudio product. Since then it has changed considerably, with new features and plug-ins added with each new update. The product under review here is the latest Ultimate edition, which, because of the extras it includes, represents the best value.

With this update Corel has taken a good look at the method users adopt while working with the program. Consequently many of the changes to this version are designed to help you become more productive and as a consequence more creative. Take the edit list mode, for example, it’s made it much easier to decide what clips to use by adding much more on screen information. Whereas before you would have to right-click and view properties, all this information is now instantly available, you get date, resolution, FSP, length, video and audio codecs used. Another admittedly small but important addition is a tick box in the corner of any media you use. This is only available in the thumbnail view, but instantly shows when a clip is in use, so you don’t inadvertently add it a second time.

In order to keep pace with changing technology, Corel has now added support for Sony’s XAVC S format. This is based on MP4-AVC/H.264, a new standard for video cameras that can support resolutions up to 4K – 3840 x 2160. It’s also improved the support for the ever popular MKV format.

Going back to my earlier comment, the ultimate edition includes a huge array of 64-bit special effects and presets. There are ten new add-ons, with names like New Blue, Boris and ProDAD. They cover everything from image enhancement and motion effects, to pro titles, transitions and animated pen effects (you might use this with maps to show where you’ve travelled, for example). All these are in addition to the fairly comprehensive range of facilities Corel originally provided.

Another worthwhile effect new to this release is Freeze Frame; with this you can stretch the timeframe to highlight some event within the video. Perhaps as someone is about to dive or just before a surfer gets wiped out.

Don’t you find it’s difficult to find copyright-free music tracks to finish off your productions? Even then you generally end up editing the footage to fit the track, which is not an ideal solution. Yet the new Score Fitter in this version will create a track to fit your video. You don’t have to worry about repetition either, because there are different genres of music, broken down into categories, songs and finally versions. If that’s not enough, there are 17 free tracks from Triple Scoop Music to choose from as well.

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If you produce tutorial videos or commentaries, the new Audio Ducking feature will be quite a time saver. It automatically reduced the volume of the background audio, making the voiceover much easier to hear; previously you would have to go in and tweak the volume settings for each voiceover individually.

This release of the Corel Capture utility has become more usable; it now records from full screen, a region or window and can include the system and microphone audio as well. I did a number of test captures recording both full and partial screens; the output is good, achieving high quality yet keeping the files sizes manageable.

Finally if you’re struggling to find inspiration, you can turn to the instant projects, these are a selection of video beginnings, middles and ends or even complete projects if you like. They come with effects, music and transitions, all you have to do is slot in your own video content. There’s very little that Corel has missed with this release, which considering the price to content ratio, is exceptional value.

A massive update to what was already a very comprehensive suite.

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