Ulead MediaStudio Pro 8

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Ulead MediaStudio Pro 8

Pros

  • Solid features

Cons

  • Lacking some basic elements of video editing software

Bottom Line

While MediaStudio Pro has many commendable features and an attractive price point, it’s let down by the basic operation of the underlying editing software.

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Though unlikely to challenge leading video editors like Adobe's Premiere Pro or Sony's Vegas, Ulead's revamped MediaStudio Pro 8 has new features that will be extremely useful for video editors who need convenience more than performance.

Surprisingly for the price, MediaStudio Pro comes with extensive support for video and audio file types (including HDV and 24P), and includes full Dolby Surround Sound export out of the box (though AC3 audio import requires a plug-in). The interface has also been updated, with smart resizing, dockable windows and tabbed panes (like Premiere Pro), and key tools are given their own dedicated buttons above the timeline - rather than hard-to-grasp tool shortcuts and combination keys.

The timeline can handle as many tracks as you'd care to throw at it, but track height can't be adjusted without going into the timeline setup panel, and the "click to drag/click to drop" procedure can make finding the right track position tricky as the track view scrolls far too quickly. Timeline "scrubbing" is also disappointing, with Video Editor apparently unable to play audio in reverse and Audio Editor is unable to scrub at all.

It would also have been nice to see the Capture Tool and Audio Editor functionality merged into Video Editor. You can jump between applications using the Switch menu and open audio files in the audio editor, for example, but any changes you make have to be saved to a different file and re-imported into Video Editor rather than being updated dynamically.

But MediaStudio Pro has a couple of impressive tricks up its sleeve. The first of these is Smart Proxy. Because the processing requirements for HDV, in particular, are very high even for today's CPUs, MediaStudio Pro allows you to set a proxy file service for high-definition content. Similar to Pinnacle's "Draft Mode", this allows you to work from lower-definition preview files, making multi-track edits of HDV footage more feasible. When the time comes to finalise your project, MediaStudio Pro uses the original high-definition content.

The second unique selling point is Video Editor's Smart Composite - essentially a collection of 22 slick, multi-layered video compositions for lead-ins and segues that can be tailored to suit your needs. The "Romance" composites, in particular, will make putting together a polished wedding video a much faster task.

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