HOME PC Alamode About Us HELP
Reviews Columns Features   Archives  

Software Review of:
Video Studio 6
You lead (ULEAD) the Way

 

ULEAD Video Studio

Joe Pine has been a member of the Alamo PC Organization since 1996. He retired from the Air Force after a 21-year career in communication-electronics and now teaches Computer Maintenance. He has A+ and CST certifications.

From the November, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

If you are looking for a video editing program that will enable you to create quality videos and DVDs at an affordable price, then Ulead’s VideoStudio 6.0 is a program you should consider.   As implied by the version “6.0," this is an upgrade from version 5.0, which I own — the improvement is obvious. 

Let’s get to the essentials, what do you need to run it — let’s see if you have what it takes?

CPU:  Intel Pentium III 450MHz or higher (700MHz or higher recommended); OS:  Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP; MEMORY:  64MB of RAM (128MB or more recommended); hard disk drive-available for program:  500MB; hard disk drive-available for video capture and editing:  4GB+ (Note: 1 hour of DV video requires 13GB of hard disk space!); Display: Windows-compatible display with at least 800x600 resolution;  Windows-compatible mouse or pointing device; Windows-compatible sound card.

There are many compatible Video Capture Cards but you should check the Web to ensure you have what it takes.  Here are some of the manufacturers:  Datavideo, ADS, Dazzle, NewerTechnologies, OrangeMicro, Adaptec, PinnacleSystems, SIIG, DataTranslations, ATI, 3dfx, and Matrox.  Again, there are notes on the Web as to which cards work and which cards have special instructions.

Input formats supported
Video: 

AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, FLC, FLI, GIF, QuickTime, UIS
Image: 
BMP, CLP, CUR, DCS, EPS, FPX, GIF, ICO, IFF, IMG, JPG, PCD, PCT, PCX, PIC, PNG, PSD, PXR, RAS, RLE, SCT, SHG, TGA, TIF, WMF
Audio: 
AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AU, AVI, MOV, MP3, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, QT, WAV.


Output formats supported
Video: 

AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, QuickTime, WMV, RM, FLC, FLI, FLX, UIS
Image: 
BMP, CLP, EPS, FPX, GIF, IFF, JPG, PCX, PNG, PSD, PXR, RAS, RLE, SCT, TGA, TIF, WMF
Audio: 
WAV; Disc: DVD, miniDVD, Video CD* (VCD), and Super Video CD* (SVCD) movie titles.


One more essential – how much?  
The lowest price I found at CNET.COM (go there for ordering information for your choice of vendor) when I checked was $80.90.  CDW had it for $89.03.  Locally you might pay a little more, but most major stores with a good variety of computer software should either have the product or they can order it for you.  This is where you might ask, “What else is available and how much is that product?  Remember, video editing software is available in “professional” ($500 price range) and “consumer” (< $500) products.  ”  Frankly, in this price range Video Studio 6 is one of the best you can get. 

Why would you want it versus the software that comes included with some systems?  Well, often the features of “included” programs are just enough to frustrate you and make you wish you spent the money in the first place.  You make the call.  

Why should you buy Video Studio 6?  As a start, it is rated (by a several trade magazines) as one of the better video editing programs available.  PC Magazine gave it a 4 out of 5 and if you want a more detailed review you can check the April 23, 2002 evaluation by Jan Ozer.  In the June 2002 issue of Computer Shopper, in the “Hard Edge” section, Video Studio 6 is said to be “the best of the bunch.”  If you don’t take if from me – read what the professional evaluators say.

As long as you don’t have any problems with your video capture equipment,  you should be in business once the program loads, which is quite quickly.  If you do have problems, you may find some help at the Ulead web site.  The web site has links for compatibility, downloads, support, and even tutorials.  When I checked they had five tutorials to get the “novice” video editor on the way to producing great results.  They even have a terminology page to help you understand the lingo for video editing.  I didn’t call customer service personally, but one review I read noted a problem they had with a long wait and less than stellar service.

How ‘bout that program?
I noticed the improvement of this version immediately because version 6.0 loads much quicker.  The basic principle or video editing is 

  1. you transfer video to your computer, 
  2. you edit the video and add special effects/transitions/titles, etc, and 
  3. you save the FINAL PRODUCT in the desired format for burning onto a CD-R or DVD-R, for streaming over the internet, or for transferring back to your camera.


Starting at the beginning, you choose the format you wish to use for your video, the menu headings are: Start, Capture, Storyboard, Effect, Overlay, Title, Audio, and Finish.  The Capture Settings section has an Options menu to allow changes as needed.

After capturing your video, you edit it in one of two formats: storyboard mode or timeline mode.
The large preview window is a benefit you might not find in other programs.  In the storyboard mode you put together the clips of your video in the desired sequence.  Moving clips around is a simple drag-and-drop operation.

Once you’ve got your clips in the desired order, then you can get into refining your production.  The timeline mode shown in Figure 5 has several different tracks that you can manipulate.  You have the 

  • Video track, 
  • Overlay track, 
  • Title track, 
  • Voice track, and 
  • Music track.  
You have the power to edit any of this in a simple drag-and-drop format.  

Finally, when you think you’ve got your project as you want it to be, you Finish your project.  The Finish menu allows you to save in any of the output formats or disks shown earlier.

Version 6.0 offers home hobbyists the kind of sharp control that pros enjoy. Plus, at $99.95, it's a solid bargain.  Yes, there are complaints by some evaluators in some areas, but think of the big picture . . ..when you consider the cost — you get a powerful program for a reasonable price.


Copyright© 1996-2010
Alamo PC Organization, Inc.
San Antonio, TX USA