There’s no end to innovation in home video technology, whether that means 3D, 4K, or 360-degree VR video, and the software you use to edit all that content must keep up. Corel VideoStudio Ultimate does so admirably, and is chockablock with powerful video editing tools. It supports stop motion, multicam editing, motion tracking, time remapping, video masking, and audio ducking. The program is incredibly capable, and the 2022 release adds useful new tools like a GIF creator, speech-to-text autocaptioning, variable speed changing, and some fun face editing. The result is a solid, fast-rendering product with a clear interface that makes video editing a delight, earning it our Editors’ Choice award.
What’s New in Corel VideoStudio Ultimate?
We’ve been reviewing Corel VideoStudio since before 2012, and it has been one of our top choices for video editors for consumers in the past few years. It’s an easy-to-use and powerful tool. In addition to some enticing new features in the latest release, the app has all the standard tools you’d expect, such as timelines, storyboards, transitions, picture-in-picture (PiP), and sound editing. Corel also produces Pinnacle Studio, which is more for video professionals.
Here’s a quick rundown on what’s new in the 2022 version:
Face Effects and Face Indexing. Most videos shots by hobbyists include people. The new tools let you both enhance people’s appearance and organize clips by Face Indexing.
GIF creator. You’d think converting a video clip into an animated GIF would be simple—unless you’ve tried doing it in Photoshop. The new VideoStudio tool makes GIFs simply and lets you create a repeating animation.
Speech-to-text converter. Adobe made a lot of the new speech-to-text auto-captioning feature in its pro-level Premiere Pro software, and Corel gets you a similar feature without so much complexity.
Camera movement transitions. Camera movement transitions are similar to the seamless transitions that were hot in the enthusiast video editing community a few years ago. The effect uses blur to blend the scenes you’re joining.
Enhanced audio waveform editing. The new version makes it easier to find and use audio editing tools.
Variable-speed keyframing. Use preset templates or create your own for smoothly speeding up and slowing down your project video.
Animated AR stickers. Similar to what you find in Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, these face overlays such as mustaches and hats can make an otherwise drab talking-head video more fun.
New format support. The ability to export audio to HEVC MOV files and PCM 5.1CH has been added. The program can also create smaller proxy files using Apple ProRes format for more efficiency.
Better media tagging. You can now use multiple keywords for media items; finding and renaming LUTs for color effects has also gotten easier.
Other recent version updates include performance and stability; a mask creator; the AI-powered Highlight Reel auto-movie creator; Slip, Slide, Roll, and Stretch editing modes; upgraded color grading replete with color wheels; a Painting Creator for animated hand-drawn text; Photoshop-like blending modes such as Multiply, Screen, and Overlay; and 4K monitor support.
How Much Does VideoStudio Cost?
Corel Video Studio is available at two levels: Pro ($79.99, or $59.99 for an upgrade from the older version) and Ultimate ($99.99, or $79.99 for upgrades). Both are frequently discounted online, and the pricing is one-time, so there’s no subscription required. I reviewed the latter edition.
The higher-end option adds effects from Boris, NewBlue, and ProDAD; lets you use six multicam tracks (as opposed to four for Pro); and lets you import XAVC (Sony 4K) content. By comparison, CyberLink PowerDirector Ultimate ($99.99) doesn’t limit the number of multicam tracks even in its lower-cost version. The more consumer-oriented Adobe Premiere Elements costs $99.99, but doesn’t include any multicam or 360-degree VR editing and offers limited motion-tracking capabilities.
VideoStudio runs on Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11. The 64-bit OS versions are required. There are no macOS or Linux versions.
To get VideoStudio, you download an app that in turn downloads and installs the 2GB application; Ultimate’s included plug-ins grow this figure to 4GB. For comparison, PowerDirector weighs in at just under 1GB, while Premiere Elements takes up a considerable 3.5GB of disk space, sans plug-ins. You’ll need a pretty big hard disk anyway if you want to do hi-res, high-bit-rate video editing, especially if you work with 4K footage (which even smartphones can record nowadays).
The VideoStudio Interface
VideoStudio starts by showing you its Welcome view, represented by a house-shaped icon. Here you can find inspiration and instruction in the form of tutorials, videos, and templates. The interface sports clean, flat icons across the bottom rather than thumbnails. The Get Started section lets you create a new project or open one from a list of those you’ve already created. The Get More section offers extra-cost templates, filters, transitions, and overlays—great material for the video hobbyist.
The other three modes—Capture, Edit, and Share—are where you do real video editing work. Overall, the interface makes for a handy guide of taking you through the process of adding, editing, and outputting your digital movie.
In Editing mode, a pleasing dark-blue-gray interface uses the familiar three-pane view with source, effects, and your video preview. The timeline takes up the bottom portion of the window. Buttons for the most commonly used tools, such as transitions, titles, and effects, are on the right. I like the way icons in the source panel make it easy to show and hide video, photo, and audio content types.
VideoStudio lets you resize and move the interface panels, and you can even pull them out into separate windows. You can also choose which buttons appear on the toolbar above the timeline (including buttons for the Pan and Zoom and 3D Title Editor) and set three custom interface layouts and easily switch among them. Multiple-screen support lets you see your video full-screen on one and all of your editing tools on the other, for example. VideoStudio offers one of the most flexible UIs in the space.
Tools in the preview window give easy access to cropping, scaling, and moving your video content around in the frame. Guidelines help you center and align overlays and text. A cue/chapter marking tool is at your disposal below the preview window. You can adjust a track’s transparency from a button in the track head area, near the Track Muting button and Ripple Editing button. You can resize the timeline tracks simply by dragging the lower edge in the header down or up.
One qualm about this interface is that although the company says VideoStudio supports high-DPI displays, that’s not the case on my test Surface Laptop 3, which has a 2,496-by-1,664 display resolution. The menus look tiny on this high-res screen unless I change the overall Windows display scaling setting.
Importing, Organizing, and Basic Editing
To start a new project, choose File > New Project. While most other video editing programs display a dialog box at this point to help you choose your project settings, VideoStudio just immediately throws you into adding content and building a timeline. I’d love to see choices about my new project’s format, or an option to use FastFlick or Instant Project, the app’s simplified editors. On the other hand, I’m certain some advanced users just want to start editing, without any hand-holding.
Capture mode (press the large Capture button at the top) lets you record from a connected camera, scan a DV source, and import from Digital Media or a mobile device. Getting media into VideoStudio is simple, and now you can use a tagging capability as you get with Adobe Premiere Elements, though the Corel tool is not as streamlined as Adobe’s. A search box lets you more easily find media and effects, and you can sort source content by name, type, or date.
Another new organization tool is something that’s more common in photo editing software than video editing: Face tagging. VideoStudio can identify faces in a clip and let you name them so you can find them later. You right-click on a clip containing a face and the app finds any faces in the media and lets you select which ones to index. It then creates Face Indexing Sets in your Media section. Like most of these tools, it works fine for full face views, but not so much with profiles.
Back in the main editor, you simply drag and drop a clip from your source tray to add it to your timeline. If you double-click on a clip in the source tray, it opens in the Single Clip Trim window. This provides a handy way to set the start and finish markers of the section of the clip that you want to add, with precision to the individual frame level. Corel has increased the maximum number of tracks from 20 to 50; competitors like PowerDirector offer 100 or more, but few hobbyists will find that to be a major stumbling block.
The program’s Replace mode lets you drag a clip onto the timeline instead of leaving the one there and moving it to the side or splitting it, the new clip simply replaces it. This mode is especially useful when you’re working with templates, and indeed when you drag and drop onto a template, you see a message box asking if you want to switch to Replace editing mode.
The app also supports editing modes familiar to professionals: Slip, Stretch, Roll, and Slide. These simply give you more options for moving media around on the timeline. The Stretch option is notable for slowing down or speeding up a clip when you use it. I’ve circled these edit mode tools below.
You can use these options in conjunction with Replace mode, though they’ll only affect what you do after the clip replacement.
The Multitrim Video tool lets you set multiple in and out points, so you don’t have to create a lot of separate clips if you just want to remove some dead space in the middle of a clip. It also lets you detect ads in TV content. PowerDirector matches this multitrim capability, but most other editors lack it. The Corel trim tools offer easy, clear navigation, including a jog wheel and zoomable selection scrubber. That’s far more than you get with Vegas Movie Studio Platinum.
As with Apple Final Cut Pro X’s Clip Connections, VideoStudio lets you group and ungroup clips. It can make editing complex projects much easier. Moving or trimming a grouped set of clips keeps them together, so you don’t have to realign everything after making an adjustment.
Easy Movie Creation
VideoStudio has not one, but three instant movie creation features: Highlight Reel, the newest and slickest; Instant Project, a template system; and FastFlick, a separate but included program that offers even easier template-based editing.
Before pressing the Highlight Reel button, which looks like a camera aperture, you need a library or folder in the source panel. The tool does face recognition, so that’s one way to organize media, but it also shows media by date. When you press the aforementioned button, it asks if you want to import all videos and photos into the Highlight Reel. Once you do that, the program takes you to a smaller, less complex Highlight Reel window.
You then choose All, Year, Months, Days, or Faces, and tap the blue Create button. Doing so applies Auto settings for duration and transitions .You can customize them, as well as any content that appears in the movie. To test the feature, I dumped 135 videos and photos from a vacation trip. An “Analyzing…” dialog appeared for a couple minutes.
The tool automatically puts blurred side panels on vertical smartphone video, adds elegant cross-fade transitions, and shows the date in the margin. I was happy to see that it didn’t include multiple takes of the same shot, but just chose one the AI considered best. It was quite successful. Unlike with some easy creators, there’s no automatic background soundtrack, but you can add one in the Movie Settings and still retain the audio from the video clip. One error I experienced was the inclusion of a completely blank video clip.
When you’re finished creating the reel, the program doesn’t open it on the standard timeline, but saves it as a project file, which you can open for detailed editing. You’ll want to export to a viewable format like MP4, as well. Another such limitation is that the only audio file type accepted is MP3. If you choose to match the video with the music, you get a choppier result, with all clips and photos about the same time length.
You can get to Instant Project by clicking the button with the magic wand icon in Edit mode, right below the Media button. This is simply template-based movie creation, with templates for your movie’s beginning, middle, and end. You can also create custom templates. Double-clicking a template fills the timeline with placeholder clips, transitions, and a background music soundtrack. It’s not as helpful as Adobe Premiere Element’s templates, which give you a storyboard of what kind of shots work in each placeholder.
Corel includes templates targeting intros, video montages, split screens, webcam overlay (useful for gaming or instruction) social media posts, sales, and portrait-to-landscape. These populate the timeline with set effects, text, and PiP layouts, and all you have to do is drag your clip into placeholders in the timeline. You can get more templates from the Welcome screen’s Store section.
Split Screen templates appear at the top of Instant Project. Drag one onto the timeline, and, again, you’ll see placeholders for PiP clips. You need to hold down the Ctrl key while dragging a clip into a placeholder, which is less intuitive than simply dragging it on top of the placeholder, as you do in Premiere Elements’ similar Video Collage feature.
The separate FastFlick app is much simpler to use than Instant Movies. You just pick a template, add your media, and let the program do the rest. It’s perhaps a bit too simple, producing cookie-cutter results. You can, however, transfer its creations to the full VideoStudio editor for customization.
You can start FastFlick from its own desktop icon or from the full program’s Tools menu. It’s also available as a standalone product for $19.99. You can create your own templates, as well. One template applied the nifty effect of turning my video back and forth from a sketch look. This feature is only partially touch-friendly and didn’t let me use Windows 10’s on-screen keyboard in my testing.
Text tiles and background music are customizable, though, if the template you choose doesn’t already have titles, you can’t add them. I like the slider that adjusts the relative volumes of the clip audio and background music. When you’re done, a button optionally takes you to the full editor. Otherwise, you can produce your video in a variety of standard file formats or share it online.
Video Corrections, Transitions, and Effects
Corel VideoStudio offers 150 transitions in 21 categories, ranging from the basic fades and wipes to 3D effects, peels, pushes, and stretches. Adding transitions to the timeline is a very simple drag-and-drop operation. If you drag a clip to overlap its neighbor, the default transition is inserted. In my test movies, the transitions were smooth and well-rendered.
The Camera Movements group joins the cool Seamless Transitions and adds more distorted, blurred, spinning movement effects than Seamless’ simpler panning.
The most common use of Seamless transitions is when the view pans to the sky and lands on the second clip. Inserting these transitions works well automatically, but you can adjust the effect in an Options Panel.
The panel itself includes sliders for horizontal and vertical position and scaling, but it’s not at all visual. Clicking on the Customize gear icon lets you actually see where your clips are joined, as well as how these vertical, horizontal, and scaling adjustments look in your clips. I was able to get a more impressive transition by aligning the sky in two clips using scaling. The Corel transition gives you a lot of control, letting you mark multiple points on a line that match an area of one clip to one in the next.
Dozens of special effects include diffuse glow, mosaic, and water flow. Among these effects, too, are image-correction tools such as anti-shake, color balance, noise reduction, and light enhancement. The anti-shake worked well in my testing, even on 4K footage, though it doesn’t show you a progress bar the way Premiere Elements does—handy for a task that can take a while. As in any high-end video editor, you can set any effects on and off with keyframes, and Corel provides a separate window with side-by-side original and preview views for working with them.
Adding montage layer tracks is extremely intuitive: You add an overlay track with the track manager and drag the new content into it. A PiP appears in the middle of the preview window, and you can resize and drag this around.
Another flavor of PiP is produced by the Dynamic Split Screen Video Template Creator. It has its own program window and lets you split the screen with lines or shapes. Unlike most similar tools, this one is customizable and flexible. As you add splits and shapes, boxes appear where you drop in your clips. Time your splits and shapes to move based on keyframes, and then save your work as a template to use in later projects.
The color picker for shapes and text lets you choose from themed palettes. That’s in addition to several other ways to zero in on the color you’re looking for, including RGB sliders and an HSL (hue, saturation, and lightness) color map.
The app’s chroma-keying tool does a decent job of cutting out a green-screen background in test clips, especially when using its color dropper tool. Finally, the Graphic tool lets you add solid colors, objects, frames, and even animations like a spinning globe to your movies, for extra bling.
The Face Effects tool reminds me of similar tools in Photoshop’s Face-Aware Liquify feature. Both let you change eye size and face width, and VideoStudio adds brightness, skin tone, and skin smoothing. It’s an impressive feature that you may use for a more flattering view of someone.
Springing for VideoStudio’s Ultimate Edition gets you truly pro-level effects from the likes of NewBlue, Boris FX, and proDAD. With them, you can, for example, refine the colors to make your movie look like a Hollywood production, add handwritten-looking text, and perform advanced image correction and stabilization.
Painting Creator resembles a sportscaster’s telestrator, letting you draw on the screen as the video action proceeds. I was thrilled to see that it worked with my touch-screen PC monitor. I was, however, disappointed that there aren’t more brush types, aside from Airbrush. You can select from several textures, however, as the screenshot here shows.
Titles and Captions
VideoStudio includes three buttons that lead to text tools: Titles, Subtitles, and 3D Titles. The program is highly capable when it comes to adding words to your movies, letting you choose among 34 preformatted title and subtitle animations. You can customize the font, size, duration, and rotation of these animations, too. You can then save your new style as a preset, and when you drop it into a timeline, you see placeholders for the PiP clips.
You access the separate Subtitle tool from a button above the timeline. It works with your audio track, which you can split out if the audio is part of your video track. The Subtitle tool can scan the track to see where subtitles might be needed. Then, you just type them in! You can adjust how long each title lasts on screen, or import a subtitle file in UTF, SRT, or LRC formats.
The 3D titling tool resembles something that’s been appearing in competing software in the past couple of release cycles. It pops up its own dedicated window, in which you can adjust position, character spacing, bevel, light source, color, opacity, and more. Rotating the text on three axes and timing the motion with keyframe markers is one fun effect the tool enables.
Speech to Text, one of the newer tools, lets you automatically create a caption track in your project. The tool supports eight languages: English, German, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese. It worked quite well in testing, though understandably not so well when there was a lot of background noise or with some speakers. You can either have the text placed on a new track in your project or add entries to the Subtitle Editor (see the previous section).
Not to be outdone by the likes of Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, VideoStudio offers AR Stickers—hats, eyeglasses, bows, and other decorations that automatically attach themselves to faces in your footage. There are also animated AR Stickers, though only a few at this point. They’re fun to play with, and I hope Corel adds to the collection.
You can’t easily reposition the stickers, though, and the selection isn’t as sophisticated as you get in the previously mentioned chat apps. Still, it could be the start of an interesting tool for those who like to add some goofiness to videos they share.
A few years ago, Corel added an impressive new set of color grading tools to VideoStudio, including HSL tuning, tone curves, waveform scope, and Look-Up Table (LUT) support. If you don’t want to monkey around with color controls, you can simply try the Auto Tone check box on the Color tab of the adjustment panel that appears when you double-click on a clip. If it doesn’t look right, the next thing to try is choosing from its dropdown menu; choices are Brightest, Brighter, Normal, Darker, and Darkest.
Color wheels let you accentuate different hues for highlights, midtones, and shadows—or the whole image. They also let you raise or lower the luminance of those ranges with sliders. In all, Corel’s color wheels are simpler to use than those in Vegas Movie Studio, but not quite as effective as PowerDirector’s or Final Cut Pro’s.
A color picker is available for you to select a neutral tone object in the image to adjust white balance. It has an auto setting as well, but if your image doesn’t have much white or gray, it gets the balance wrong. For custom tuning, you can use the sliders for Hue, Contrast, Gamma, Blacks, Shadows, Midgrange, Highlights, Whites, Vibrance, Saturation, Clarity, and Haze. (Haze doesn’t work as well as the similarly named tool in photo software like Luminar; it’s more like contrast.) A Reset button is helpful here for when you get carried away with these adjustments.
Corel introduced LUT support in the 2019 version but it didn’t accept Adobe’s options for film looks and special lighting effects, such as candlelight and day-for-night, unlike every other program with LUT support I’ve tried. Nor did Corel include any LUT presets with the program—that’s all changed.
Now dozens of LUTs come with the software, including black-and-white treatments, Bleach, Invert, Technicolor, and the very effective Orange Teal. Third-party LUTs like Adobe’s .cube files for Candlelight and Night from Day also now work. One oddity is that, when you first choose a LUT, its intensity is set to zero, so you won’t see its effects until you slide that slider over.
For Ultimate owners, the Tone Curve and HSL tools are also enabled. The first will be familiar to photo-software users and can either correct lighting or produce surreal effects. You can work with curves for red, green, and blue separately if you need to. HSL adjusters work with even more colors, and a great extra is a cursor that adjusts the colors under it when you drag the mouse. Weirdly, this set of tools does not include a reset button. A final admirable touch is that every adjustment discussed in this section can be saved as a preset for later use. The color tools are powerful, but as you might expect, they fall short of what you get in Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Pinnacle Studio.
VideoStudio’s Mask Creator tool lets you cover an area of your video with an effect based on an area selected in an overlaid video or photo. If you create the mask from video content, it follows the masked object using motion tracking—without any of the complexity of the full motion-tracking feature I cover below. You create a mask using either a brush (with edge detection) or a shape (rectangular or elliptical). The motion tracking works for one frame, to the end of the clip, or to a specified time code. It took over a minute to track a short clip in my testing, so it’s not an instant effect.
Masking is similar to using the Chroma key effect, and indeed, after creating a mask, you can use it as a Chroma key without the green screen to overlay an object on your movie. Using this option also lets you invert the mask. For example, instead of having a head covering the background, you’d have the background only show through where the head was. Both this tool and PowerDirector’s mask editor let you fade transparency in and out for a ghostly effect, but PowerDirector makes it easier to get this cool effect.
You can create masks with text and free selection as well as shapes. You can move, tilt, and resize the text to taste, and choose from literally hundreds of fonts. When finished, you can save the mask for use in other videos.
The 2020 release added some masking improvements, including an updated interface, more mask shapes, and better quality and rendering of masks, with smoother lines on export.
Slo-mo, speed up, reverse, freeze-frame all come under the heading of Time Remapping. VideoStudio already included a rudimentary freeze-frame tool (more about this later), but this feature catches the editor up to Premiere Elements and PowerDirector with the addition of the other effects mentioned. A button lets you preview the time-remapping results, but scrubbing through with the tool is awkward. I wish it opened to the spot in the clip where the timeline play head was located.
New for the 2022 version is the separate Variable Speed tool. You get to this from a selected clips Options panel. It’s a nifty feature that lets you add keyframes and graphically increase or decrease the speed at different points in your video. Note that for any time remapping you do in VideoStudio, you’ll lose the clip’s audio.
VideoStudio was the first major consumer video editor to offer a built-in stop-motion tool. You can control a DSLR from within the software for hands-off-camera stop-motion shooting, which is nifty. Controls include white balance, image quality/size, exposure settings, and ISO. In my testing, it was a little difficult to get the desired results with autofocus using this remote control, but manual focus is also available. These unmatched tools let you create high-quality stop motion movies.
Multicam editing lets you switch among camera angles shot at the same time. It’s a feature more associated with pro-level video editors such as Apple Final Cut Pro X. You need to select clips first and then enter the separate multicam editing window to get started. The program can align the clips by audio automatically, or use markers or time codes. In my testing, the multicam tool did a good job of syncing up two clips using their audio tracks.
I then created an angle-switching video easily by tapping the clip previews in the four-pane source panel. Within the multicam window, you can edit your multicam movie by extending or shortening an angle entry in the top timeline, but once you select OK in the bottom of this window, the multicam is a new clip in your main source panel, and you can no longer adjust sub-clip durations, as you can in other apps, such as PowerDirector.
Multicam Capture Lite is a tool that simply lets you capture your PC screen along with input from your webcam. It’s a separate app with a Record button and picture settings, but it doesn’t create a PiP effect. Rather, it creates multiple clips you can use in the editor. You then use the Multi-Camera Editor feature to switch between the sources or use the PiP tools to get an inset video of yourself talking.
You can move any object in your movie around the screen including clips, images, shapes, and text. Auto Motion Blur option in the dialog that lets you control this motion with keyframes. It produces a less jarring effect, regardless of what’s moving. Once the motion path is the way you want it, you can save it, along with any settings, to your Library for later reuse.
Multipoint Motion Tracking
VideoStudio was the first consumer video editor to include motion tracking, which lets you attach an object, text, or effect to something that moves in your video. Common use cases include obscuring license plates, faces, or naughty bits. Simply select a clip in the timeline, tap the Track Motion button to open the Track Motion window, and place the cross-hairs over your moving person or object. You can add multiple items to track and select either a point, a rectangular area, or multipoint sources to track. The last option automatically resizes the effect or overlay object as the source changes size. In my sample, I selected points for a bike’s axle, the rider’s head, and body, and then hit the Track button.
The tool creates paths for each of the tracked points, and you can move the ends of the paths marked by red dots. You can also save the paths and name them. If no objects block your moving object, the tracking works just right. As with all similar tools, tracking can get lost when objects obscure the one you’re tracking. The tool itself lets you apply mosaic effects, but to add overlay text or graphics, you need to use the separate Match Motion tool. Once you get past the complex dialog, this impressive tool works as advertised.
360-Degree Video Editing
Corel includes support for dual fisheye, equirectangular, and single fisheye 360-degree VR views. You can add video content from your GoPro Max or similar hardware to the source panel, drag it into your timeline, and then right-click and choose Insert as 360 Video.
You see seven choices here, for conversion to single fisheye, double fisheye, equirectangular, and standard video formats. 360-to-Standard is the most useful choice. This opens a full-screen side-by-side view of your video in a new editing window. Here, you can position the angle of the video that results in a standard 2D view. Move the crosshairs around in the left side’s original view or pan around in the right side’s flattened view to choose the resulting angle. After you press OK at the bottom of the window, your clip appears on the editing timeline using the angles you chose.
If you choose a 360-degree end product, you can only output 360-degree projects to a local file. There’s no built-in support for popular online services that support 360-degree video, like PowerDirector has.
The popular tiny planet and (its converse) rabbit hole effects are available options for 360-degree content. To use them, you insert the clip as Spherical.
VideoStudio has improved audio tools for normalizing and ducking sound levels, and it also now offers audio filters right alongside video effects in the source panel. Normalize lets you even out the audio level among multiple clips, and ducking lowers background audio during narration. You can now fine-tune the lead in and out for ducking in VideoStudio.
One of the buttons above the timeline is for the Sound Mixer, which opens audio controls showing a surround-sound diagram of a room with speakers. You can stretch audio to match your video’s length without changing its pitch, record voiceovers, fade in and out, and apply filters like hiss reduction and resonance. Many of the filters are adjustable, but resonance unfortunately isn’t. Audio is one area where CyberLink is also stronger, with its powerful AudioDirector companion program.
Output and Authoring
VideoStudio has some support for H.265, the newer compression codec that allows higher resolutions, such as 4K, but with smaller file sizes. However, that feature is contingent on whether your hardware—either the CPU or the GPU—supports the codec. You still get support for all the most common standards, such as AVI, MPEG-1 through -4, M2T, WebM, 3GP, and WMV. You can output compatible files for Apple, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft devices. The 2018 version added support for XAVC-s, popular among users in Japan.
New for the 2022 version is animated GIF Creator. This tool lets you set the frame rate, resolution, and whether the clip should loop. You can also change the speed and even choose reverse playback. In testing, the feature worked as advertised. I should note that while it does output a GIF on your hard drive, it isn’t included as an output option in Share mode. I’d like to see it there among the export formats.
Though DVD and Blu-ray discs aren’t as big a deal as they once were, users of enthusiast video software such as Corel VideoStudio like to produce physical discs they can share. VideoStudio is perfectly up to the tasks of creating menus, chapters, and subtitles. For Blu-ray creation, you’ll need to pony up a $7.99 license fee.
VideoStudio Ultimate Performance Testing
Corel representatives told me that performance and stability were a major focus of this year’s update, and it has paid off. A few days of constantly running the program and pushing it by adding content and effects revealed rock-solid stability. Video Studio also performed the best of any app in our speed tests, as you’ll see.
VideoStudio supports all three big graphics processor brands—AMD, Intel, and Nvidia—to accelerate its operations. It felt very responsive on my medium-power desktop PC in normal editing usage and started up quickly. Unlike the previous version I tested, the program was completely stable and never crashed. But on a laptop with only integrated Intel graphics it was sluggish until I turned on Smart Proxy, which creates smaller file sizes for quicker editing.
I ran a rendering time test by creating a movie consisting of four clips of mixed types (some 1080p, some SD, some 4K) with a standard set of transitions and rendering it to 1080p30 MPEG-4 at 15Mbps, H.264 High Profile. Audio was MPEG AAC Audio: 192 Kbps. I ran the test three times and took the geometric mean (which minimizes the effect of outliers). I tested on a PC running 64-bit Windows 10 Pro with a 3.4GHz Core i7 6700 CPU, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5 RAM.
Corel VideoStudio’s rendering speed for this test was a spiffy 1 minute 12 seconds. That led the pack among the competition, as you can see from the table above. The closest competitor was CyberLink PowerDirector, with a time of 1:32, and the worst was Magix Movie Edit Pro which took a snooze-inducing 7:38. Market leader Adobe Premiere Elements clocked in at 4:01.
Note that, for best results, you must turn on hardware optimization in Settings. I prefer when an app gives you an estimated time to completion, as PowerDirector and Vegas Movie Studio do, rather than just a percent completed.
Your Own Video Studio
Corel VideoStudio continues to be an intuitive and powerful enthusiast video editing application. Support for slip, slide, stretch, and roll editing; color wheels and LUTS; multicam editing; powerful motion tracking; and detailed audio options nearly push it near the professional level. Those capabilities, along with loads of other effects, a cool stop-motion tool, a low price, and the fastest rendering speed of any application we’ve tested, earn Corel VideoStudio a PCMag Editors’ Choice award for consumer video editing software. CyberLink PowerDirector is also an Editors’ Choice winner for its even deeper set of editing tools.
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
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The Bottom Line
Corel VideoStudio is a feature-packed and intuitive consumer video editing program. New tools give you fun ways to edit faces, create GIFs, generate captions with speech-to-text, and more.
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