As with most video editing software on the market, the movie making process in Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection 15 is organised in tabs. Here, however, there are only three stages: Import, Edit and Make Movie.
Edit is the default tab on which Studio Ultimate opens. We found the program apt to crash at the Import point, however. One of the new features in version 15 is Archive/Restore. This makes it easy to back up all project data to a single location for instant restoration in the event of a crash, but that's not much help at the import stage.
When it works though, Importer opens to helpfully list the available import sources by name and allows you to assign subfolders for video, audio and photo assets. It picked up the Flip camera with no problem, but didn't see the video files on our AVCHD camcorder, so we had to import them using the 'Other Devices' category.
Once your import is complete, Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection 15 instantly switches to the Edit stage and starts scene detection on the last file imported. These scenes are then listed and you can start assembling a movie by dragging and dropping scenes into the storyboard (the Movie Window) below. You also have the option of switching this to text view, which could be useful as a shot list for scripting purposes. The other setting is of course Timeline view, which offers eight tracks in total.
Playback and scrubbing of video, even HD formats, is fast and timeline editing simple. It's also easy to create surround sound audio using a graphic interface or add voice/special effects and background music. A smart movie function is on hand to automatically create music videos or slideshows based on the media and music in your timeline.
You also get numerous DVD menu and montage templates, transitions and effects. As with its more expensive sibling Avid Studio, Studio Ultimate includes some great effects from vfx company Red Giant. New export options include DivX Plus HD (.MKV), YouTube HD and QuickTime HD formats, in addition to the usual Blu-ray and file options.
Fast editing workflow and extensive export options make Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection 15 review a good tool for sophisticated movie creation.