Over the last 20 years, Pinnacle Studio has steadily become more powerful and efficient. One of the earliest commercially available video editors, it has faced some troubles in the past to be the ultimate video editing tool. With Pinnacle Studio 20 (which has been upgraded to Pinnacle Studio 21), Corel has tried to introduce some major overhauls like motion tracking that allows you to add dynamic text to moving object or person. Since its development as a high end video editing software, Pinnacle Studio has gone through a number of revisions, 19 to be precise but somewhere in the development cycle it lost its spark. However, with the 20th version Corel has done a great job. Running the software on my system for a few weeks now, I am in a position to recommend this software to expert users. Also, if you want a video editing tool for 360-degree VR content, then Pinnacle is one of those very few video editors that support such content.
Pros and Cons of Pinnacle Studio 20
Pinnacle Studio 20 has the timeline and storyboard workflows that make it easier for novice as well as expert users to take maximum benefits of its loads of effects
Native 64-bit operation
Good titling and 4K support
Excellent audio tools
Search option is available for all types of content
Easy to upload edited content on Facebook and YouTube due to direct online sharing option
Tutorial content that is actually helpful
The interface can be irritating to some users as the application has so many features
The standard version has limited track accuracy
Slow rendering is one flaw that gives an edge to its competitors
Choppy 4K performance
You need to upgrade to the ultimate version of the software if you are looking for 4K support, video stabilization or 360-degree video editing tools
Pinnacle Studio 20 Features (Upgraded to Pinnacle Studio 21)
Corel has engaged with existing users and put an enormous amount of effort to get Pinnacle bug free and improving its efficiency as a modern video editing tool rather than just adding new features. The best thing about Pinnacle Studio 20 is that is stable. You may not be impressed with this new feature if you never got to use earlier versions of the software. I took it all on this software from rendering big files to adding hundreds of actions just to crash the software but it endured it all.
With Pinnacle Studio 20 you get more than 2,000 effects. Most users will find such large number of effects to be overwhelming, but simple to use interface takes out all the complexity. There are many professional quality and impressive effects added to the software like Old Film, Dream Glow and NewBlue’s Drop Shadow, Photon Blast and Shredder. For 3D editing Pinnacle has included powerful tools that even support picture-in-picture. New dedicated tool is added for Transparency function. This makes easy to create effects like evocative (showing time flow).
Motion tracking module is the new addition to this software. To add this effect you can simply drag it from the effects library onto the timeline. For better control the tool, it is divided into two separate effects-one of face/object tracking and other for moving objects like graphics or text. There is step-by-step wizard included to guide you how to use the tool. For obscuring things like license plates, faces and branded items, Mosaic and Blur options are added to the Motion Tracking tool.
360° VR Video Editing
With the latest edition of Pinnacle Studio you can now work with 360-degree videos from devices like the Samsung Gear 360. It is possible to do basic editing like basic trimming, adding titles and fade transitions while maintaining 360-degree aspect or do sophisticated stuff like setting paths and converting the 360-degree video to a standard 2D aspect. After editing you can directly export the 360-degree video to services like YouTube. As VR devices are increasing in popularity, digital movie creators need to adapt themselves to these devices. Pinnacle Studio 20 is an ideal tool to start with 360-degree VR video editing.
Here’s a video explaining the 3600 video editing feature of the software:
Now with Pinnacle you can edit the multiple clips of the same event shot at 6 different angles using multicam tool. Previously with older versions multicam tool was not able to handle 6 cameras. Now the tool is all beefed up to allow you to sync different video angles before starting with video editing. You can align clips using the audio or time codes and markers. Unlike most multicam tools, Pinnacle allows you to adjust the edits after the effect like fine-tune angle shifts.
Note: The Basic version of the software supports 2 camera angles, Plus version supports 4 camera angles while Ultimate version supports 6 camera angles.
Stop Motion Animation
Of all the effects, I personally consider Stop Motion to be best kind of animation. Pinnacle’s stop motion tool lets you control a connected camera to take shots at time intervals you specify. Added advantage-it makes it easier to position the next image by showing the ghost image of last shot. This tool does not create animated GIFs.
Therefore, if you are looking for a near professional software to capture frame by frame action animation, Pinnacle is your best bet.
Easy Track Transparency
With Chroma-Keying tool you can easily work with imperfect backgrounds. It is fantastic tools for overlaying content while maintaining the transparency. For zooming and adjusting borders you can use the Stabilize tool, it also works in the background. I found it extremely useful while editing my shaky videos that came out smoothed after editing. Here’s a video explaining Pinnacle’s Transparency tool:
Another strong feature in Pinnacle Studio 20 is Tilting. Some video editors have a poor Titling feature that often leaves editors struggling. With Pinnacle you get the strong tilting effect. Animated text creation is easy due to the WYSIWYG editor and there are many effects to choose from. For live screen capturing you can rely on Pinnacle Studio’s screen-cam capability. Unlike most other video editors I found screen-cam to be easiest and light on the system causing no hang or freezing.
No video editing tool can even be considered if it has no sound tool. Pinnacle comes with an excellent Audio tool for creating digital movies. You can add background music or voice-over recordings easily to your video clips. There are loads of audio tools like the Scorefitter options to stretch the background music to fit the video and the Audio ducking tool that automatically lowers the background music during speech.
Pinnacle deserves a worthy mention for its superb performance. It’s rendering speed is simply the best even beating some of the fully professional video editors. Even with tested with multiple PiP objects, Pinnacle was fully responsive. (I have seen some of the best editors slowing down handling PiP objects)
With full disc-authoring module included in the software you can even write videos to Blu-ray discs. You can choose from an array of formats when importing content to disk that include DivX, MKV, WMV, AVCHD, MPEG-1/-2/-4, and QuickTime. It is not enough, Pinnacle comes with direct uploading option for all services including Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and Box. You can upload any video quality ranging between 360p to 1080p. And if you are scared of exporting video in a 4K or 8K format, don’t worry Pinnacle Studio 20 supports H.265 HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) format that doubles the compression while exporting in such formats.
Why Pinnacle Studio?
I need to brush off any rumors that suggest that Pinnacle Studio 20 packs any distinguishing features that its competitors have. BUT, the software offers you an exceptional abundance of these features to control the edits at the level of standard professional video editing software. You will find this application meeting your needs if you are looking for a software that is closest to the professional video editors while maintaining a simple to use “drag’n’drop” style interface. All of this without burning a hole in your pocket.
It’s easier to decide why you should pick Pinnacle Studio 20, once you get a glimpse of the software’s capability in this video:
Pinnacle Studio 20 is a well-deserving video editing software that is suitable for any and every user. Timeline/storyboard interface, workflow is what you need when editing videos to the level of professionals. This software not only impresses with its loads of powerful video editing tools, but also how fast it renders the edits. If you are dealing with high end 360-degree or 4K content, then Pinnacle is one of these few video editors that support such content (Ultimate version only). I was also impressed by the huge library of effects and transitions this software bundles, best of all video editors I have used. For those looking for a professional-level video editor, Pinnacle Studio 20 definitely does the job.