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Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Plus
/ Studio 10.5 (3/2007)
by Douglas Dixon
Studio MovieBox Plus
Studio Plus Titanium Edition
In the Studio
Pinnacle Studio Products: Software,
See also: Pinnacle PCTV HD
Pinnacle is back! Not that it was ever really gone, but
there was something of a hiatus after Avid acquired Pinnacle in early 2005 and
then figured out how to integrate Pinnacle's professional broadcast products
with Avid's product line (Liquid Edition is now Avid Liquid). And now Pinnacle
is refocused as the consumer brand, particularly with a strong presence at
There's the flagship Pinnacle
Studio home video editing software, plus Studio bundled with video capture
hardware. And the affordable Dazzle
hardware for easy video archiving, editing, and TV viewing. Plus the PCTV
line to watch, record and time-shift TV on a PC. Pinnacle also has added a Mobile
Media line for place-shifting -- managing and moving videos, photos and
music to portable devices, including the Apple iPod, Sony PSP, and DivX devices.
The Pinnacle Studio software is available stand-alone, or
bundled with video capture hardware -- both PCI boards and external USB
break-out boxes. The Studio MovieBox
is the USB version -- a palm-sized external device with analog and digital
connectors, easy to connect to a desktop or laptop PC, especially for analog
Pinnacle Studio Moviebox
The MovieBox has inputs for composite video (RCA
connector), S-Video, and stereo audio (2 RCA) for NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. There's
also a FireWire in/out connector for hooking up a DV camcorder, and the USB
connector to the PC.
Studio MovieBox Plus
then is the enhanced bundle. This adds video and audio output connectors on the
back side of the box, especially to connect to a TV for real-time preview of
your edits. It also upgrades the software to support HDV editing with Studio
Plus Titanium Edition.
Moviebox with mic and green screen
Then for studio and videocast productions, Pinnacle also
adds a professional hand-held microphone with a small table stand for narration
and interviews, plus a 10 by 12 foot green-screen cloth to use as a chroma-key
backdrop for compositing overlay effects. Pinnacle even includes USB and
Which brings us to the Studio software itself. Pinnacle
Studio 10 was released in October 2005, and updated up through version 10.6
in September 2006. The updates included enhanced support for MPEG-4, presets for
export to portable devices including the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and
Apple video iPod, added support for HD editing and recent digital capture
devices, and enhanced stability.
Pinnacle Studio Plus
If you've worked with previous versions of Studio you
should still find it familiar, with a three-tab Capture, Edit, Make Movie
workflow to help guide novice users through the editing process. The interface
is designed to run full-screen, with the Album of clips at the top left of the
screen, the Player window at the top right, and tab-specific controls along the
Click the Capture tab to record video clips --
digital video directly from a DV camcorder, analog from the Studio MovieBox, or
from other Windows capture devices. Studio has extensive options to select the
capture device and format, for example to create DV files for further editing,
or more compressed MPEG-2 files to save space if you're going direct to DVD or a
The Diskometer on the bottom right of the screen
graphically displays the available free space on the disk and the capture
format. Click Settings to change the input device or change the capture format
For DV camcorders, Studio displays a virtual Camcorder
Controller, so you can control and play the camcorder by clicking your mouse.
For analog recording, the Diskometer expands with two
fly-out panels to adjust the video colors and audio levels, even dynamically
Then click Start Capture to begin capturing. You can choose
to capture for a specific length of time, and whether to automatically create an
edited SmartMovie after capture. As Studio captures your video, it splits it
into clips based on the selected scene detection option, and adds them to the
Album at the top of the screen.
Once you've captured your clips, move on to the Edit tab
to assemble your movie. The Album at the top of the screen now has additional
tabs to access other editing elements: videos, transitions, title text, photos
and frame grabs, DVD menus, sound effects, and music.
The Player is expanded with controls to preview and play
back the currently-selected element, whether from the Album or the edited movie
You then edit your movie in the Movie Window across the
bottom of the screen, assembling video and audio clips, and applying transitions
and effects. You can select the default Storyboard view for quickly organizing
clips; the Timeline view to synchronize parallel tracks of video, audio, text
overlays, sound effects, and music; or the Text view to review the clips in your
production with start and stop times.
Edit Storyboard: Trim
To build your movie, just drag and drop clips to the
Storyboard. Then to adjust a specific clip, double-click to display the Modify
Clip Properties Toolbox. Use the tabs along the left side to trim the ends of
the clip, add a title (with motion), edit a disc menu, grab a frame of video,
create an automatic SmartMovie, add a picture-in-picture or chroma-key overlay
(using the included green screen cloth), or add an effect.
The SmartMovie feature is a great way to get started with a
collection of clips. It creates a music video or slideshow based on a general
style (i.e., fast-paced, elegant, moody). You can use your own music, or Studio
includes SmartSound to automatically generate soundtracks based on a specified
style and variation. Studio then takes snippets of your clips and edits them
together to fit the beat of the music. You can enjoy the result as-is, or edit
it further if you desire.
To jazz up your production, you can add transitions from
the tab in the Album, or double-click a clip in the timeline to add video
effects -- which also can be keyframed to change over time.
Edit Timeline: Audio
Finally, step on the third Make Movie tab. Here you
can export your production to DVD disc, to a video file, or back to tape. Studio
supports writing to AVI, Windows Media, Real Media, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX,
and iPod- or PSP-compatible formats.
You also can burn to disc in DVD, VCD, or S-VCD format. You
actually create the menus under the Edit tab -- there's no separate DVD
authoring module. Menus just work much like titles, and you then set chapter
markers in the Menu track along the top of the timeline.
Studio provides a friendly and accessible interface for
quick storyboard editing, especially for novice and occasional users. But you
also can switch to the timeline view and drill down deeper to add moving
transitions, moving titles, dynamic effects, video overlays, and other
enhancements. Studio Plus Titanium Edition steps up to support HD editing and
add keyframeable real-time effects. And the Studio MovieBox Plus bundle includes
the USB hardware for analog capture and preview, plus a mic and green-screen.
That should be enough to get anyone started with video editing, and keep them
busy for quite a while!
To check out Pinnacle Studio, you can download the trial
version from the Pinnacle website, which is a restricted version of the software
good for 30 days after installation.
Pinnacle offers Studio as both stand-alone software and
bundled with video hardware (www.pinnaclesys.com).
Pinnacle Studio Plus
The basic Pinnacle
Studio version 10.5 software is focused on basic home video editing,
especially in DV format, with the Capture / Edit / Share workflow used across
the product line ($69, or $49 with limited-time mail-in rebate).
The Studio Plus
Titanium Edition then adds support for HD formats, with HDV editing and HD
pan-and-zoom, plus keyframeable real-time effects with preview and professional
TV style effects ($99 / $69).
MediaSuite Titanium Edition then bundles additional software for a media
editing and burning suite, including Jasc Paint Shop Photo Album Standard
Edition for photo editing, Steinberg WaveLab Lite for audio editing, plus
additional Pinnacle CD/DVD burning & copying applications ($129 / $99).
Pinnacle Studio MovieBox
The hardware bundles include Pinnacle Studio software with
a hardware capture device complete with analog and digital inputs. The Studio
Plus packages include the Titanium Edition for HDV input and output, Pinnacle
RTFX volume I, plus a microphone and green screen.
and MovieBox Plus ($99, $149) are
external USB-based devices, while Studio
MovieBoard and MovieBoard Plus
($79, $149) are internal PCI boards.
Pinnacle also offers add-on premium volumes with additional
transitions, effects, and content styles. Studio installs sample versions of
these in the Transitions tab and the plug-in tab under the Video Toolbox.
- Hollywood FX
is a collection of some 400 advanced transitions, with 25 themes of 16
transitions each ($99 per volume). It also includes the HFX Creator tool to edit
your own transitions.
- RTFX is a
collection of over 20 advanced video effect plug-ins. ($99).
- Premium Pack
is a collection of more than 25 sets of professionally-designed DVD menus, video
titles and dynamic sound effects ($49).
Originally published in Camcorder & Computer
Video magazine, 23, 1, February 2007.