Avid has been one of the biggest names in professional video editing for some years now. But, despite this, the company's attempts to take on the consumer-grade end of the market, such as Xpress DV, never quite grabbed mainstream attention.
Now the company has released an Avid-branded editor aimed at the keen consumer, taking on the likes of Adobe Premiere Elements and Apple's de-professionalised Final Cut X.
Avid Studio is based on Pinnacle Studio, which the company also owns, but that's no preclusion from it offering 'prosumer' features, and this is why Avid is giving this Studio its own Avid name.
Whereas Pinnacle Studio holds the beginner's hand, Avid Studio is likely to fill the newcomer with dread, although it does still include Smart automated slideshow and movie creation wizards.
Avid Studio offers unlimited editing tracks, exceeding even Adobe's Premiere Elements in multi-layering potential. Although it still takes a tab-based approach, dividing the editing process into logical stages, those stages are more opaque but also more full of capabilities.
There are areas of overlap in features between Avid and Pinnacle Studio. Both let you import a plethora of media types, such as from file and tape-based camcorders, plus stop-frame animation on a frame-by-frame basis. However, Avid Studio will import 5.1 multichannel audio as well as export it, and you can toggle audio positioning on the timeline to edit spatial arrangement.
Some formats need activation online before you can import them, though, notably H.264. This is free, but still slightly irritating. It's worth noting that there are no facilities for editing 3D movies included here.
Editing follows the usual process, with clips dragged to a multi-layered timeline. However, there's a useful graphic along the bottom which always shows the full timeline, with an orange box illustrating which portion is currently visible in the main section.
Double-clicking on a clip opens it up for editing. From the library, this provides trimming, correction and image stabilisation. But once a clip has been added to the timeline, you can apply effects using this dialog, as Avid Studio doesn't let you drag effects to clips. This approach is similar to Avid's professional editing tools.
A huge range of extra content, which cost extra with most editions of Pinnacle Studio, has been bundled as standard. In particular, this includes the RTFX v2 package, and the Scorefitter loop-based soundtrack creation system.
A host of Red Giant plugins are bundled too, ranging from Knoll Light Factory and ToonIt to Trapcode 3D Stroke, Shine and Particular plus the excellent Magic Bullet Looks.
At the export stage, you can output your project directly to DVD or Blu-ray, with menu authoring built in. A very extensive selection of disc menu templates has been bundled as well. You can also export to an AVCHD-based DVD, a cheap way of watching HD on your Blu-ray player without the expense of BD discs.
However, the only online option is YouTube, although resolutions up to full HD can be used, and Avid Studio will upload your file directly to the web once rendering is complete.
It's early days for Avid Studio, which is still only in its first incarnation. But there's definitely promise here. The range of features available will be bewildering for the beginner, who would still be better off with Pinnacle Studio. For the enthusiast, however, this is a powerful editing tool which should definitely be considered alongside the likes of Adobe Premiere Elements and Corel VideoStudio Pro.