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Quick Review

Rating: 4/5

The Good
Great bang for your buck

The Bad
The interface will take some getting used to.

The Price: $475

The Advise

 

MediaStudio Pro
PC
Ulead

MediaStudio Pro
Uleads new Jack of all trades digital video creation software, MediaStudio Pro, is now available. See what we found.


By Ishmael Hall

The Ulead video Editing Software comes in six integrated applications: Video Scan/Capture, Video Editor, Audio Editor, CG Infinity, Video Paint, and DVD Authoring. It’s a complete Video Editing suite, built in separate components to keep the interfaces of each component simple. In the upper right corner of each program there is a drop down box that allows you to switch in between each open application. MediaStudio Pro is a Jack of all Trades, but a master of none, well actually it is pretty darn close to being a master DV application. The power of MSP is top-notch, the only thing that can use improvement is the interface, but I think that anyone who becomes acclimated with the software will have all the power they need to produce professional video.

Capturing

Are you tired of logging and capturing video in real-time? I know I am; Ulead understands the painstaking task of logging and capturing. Video Scan/Capture has a unique feature that scans the tape at 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x and up to 10x speeds, so you scan fast-forward through the tape and Video Scan/Capture will create a list of thumbnails of your tapes content. Then you can choose the thumbnails that you want to capture and let Video Scan handle queuing your camera and capturing the batch of clips while you go do something else with your time. Another neat feature is Seamless capture, which allows for uninterrupted video capture of clips larger than 4GB on Fat 32 hard-drives that can only support file sizes up to 4GB.

Video Editing

Video Editor features real-time playback of video effects, and can export full resolution video directly to your TV monitor or tape deck on the fly with the Matrox Parhelia dual head video card. In addition, you can also output via FireWire to a normal DV camera. Ulead recommends the Matrox Parhelia video card because MediaStudio Pro was written specifically for its drivers. With the Parhelia, you can view full resolution, full screen, real-time video effects and output the video to multiple devices: two monitors, a NTSC display and a camcorder. If your processor is fast enough, it is possible to record your finished project to VHS or DV tape without ever having to render. The greater the complexity of effects, the more processing power it takes to render on the fly.

Video Editor accomplishes real-time effects with a pre-fetch mechanism that works similar to RAM. Pre-fetch looks ahead and begins rendering the video before it is displayed on screen. There may be a slight pause before video playback while pre-fetch renders your video, but the amount of pre-fetch desired is adjustable in the program’s settings. Video Editor uses multithreading to allow interrupting of small task like UI response refresh while major task are being executed, thus the entire system runs smooth.

If frames are dropped during playback because your effects are too complicated for your processor, you can use the selective rendering feature. Selective rendering marks areas on the timeline that were too complex to render on the fly; Ulead then pre-renders those complex areas first before beginning playback so that you will only see smooth video.

The interface is standard for an editing application, but there are a few exceptions to note: the media library is well organized and easy to use. You can browse through animated thumbnails of available effects and video clips, create new project bins and move content such as audio, stills, and effects into organized project locations.

The time-line includes standard A-roll/B-roll editing plus up to 99 additional overlay channels. The top-bar of the time-line includes short-cut buttons for all tools, plus buttons to quickly import video, still, text, or audio files into the time-line. The one thing that was missing—and is missing in many software applications—is customizable keyboard short-cuts.

Special Video Effect Features

The other components are up to par for the industry yet some can use improvement. CG Infinity can do titles and vector animation like Adobe After Effects, but the key-framing interface can be improved. The nice things about CG Infinity are the templates and in-depth library of character styles that are provided; they are robust enough to create very nice looking titles right out of the box.

Video Paint has great automating features that allow easy rotoscoping over multiple frames. For those of you who have never experienced the task of rotoscopting, it can be very painstaking to touch up frame after frame, “Photoshopping” out an unwanted object such as a microphone or blemish on someone’s face, or adding in a special object such as a vase on a table. If your image is fairly steady, you can add a mask or an object once, and then have Video Paint repeat your work over multiple frames.

Exporting to DVD or the Web

The export options in the MediaStudio Pro suite are very comprehensive. You can export video for email, web, CD-ROM, DVD of course, and even optimized for greeting cards; a great way to distribute rich media to friends and family or for professional review.

The MediaStudio Pro software suite brings new advancements to affordable video editing software (only $475 to download). I think that anyone, novice to professional will find aspects of MSP that are advantages over some of the other comparatively priced video editing programs. The tools and features of MediaStudio Pro can produce professional quality video and enhance your video projects.

Ishmael Hall is a professional Digital Artist who has a digital portfolio worth mentioning to the best in the business. Ishmael has a degree in Interactive Digital Media Creation and Management and enjoys creating unique media that pushes the threshold of entertainment and interactivity. Ishmael can be reached at ishmael@dvvideo.com.

 

 

 

 
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