The range of effects is extremely extensive, and has been augmented with a rather large bundle of third-party plugs from Red Giant, which Avid claims have a $2,000 value in total. The Knoll Light Factory lets you add sophisticated lens flare effects, whilst ToonIt converts your footage to a cartoon-like appearance. The Trapcode Shine, Particular and 3D Stroke add extra lighting effects, an animated particle system and strange three-dimensional drawing. Red Giant's highly regarded Magic Bullet Looks is also included, for creating the appearance of classic film and TV transmissions, although the latter has its own separate dialog and can't be keyframed.
A pretty extensive array of transitions and a library of sound effects are also included, as well as a massive selection of 3D montage presets for creating effects like multi-frame video walls and framed footage flying around the screen. The Scorefitter loop-based soundtrack system has also been included, so you can add royalty-free backing music which precisely fit the mood and duration of your edits. You even get a sheet of greenscreen material in the box, for creating your own chroma-keying effects.
Output options aren't particularly groundbreaking, but they are comprehensive. You can output a file, including Flash video, AVCHD, every flavour of MPEG, and even RealMedia if you're feeling a little retro. Web output options only stretch to YouTube, however, although there are presets up to 1080p Full HD, and the software will render and upload directly from the timeline automatically. You can burn to DVD, Blu-ray, and even AVCHD DVDs, and disc menu authoring is built in, with a healthy library of design presets available.
However, this initial release of Avid Studio does miss out one currently very trendy feature - 3D. Whilst we still consider this to be a bit of a fad, it's definitely something the video enthusiast may want to play around with, so its complete absence is a disappointment - especially considering that CyberLink PowerDirector 10 has extensive support and Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 has a decent set of 3D tools as well. Avid Studio is also not a 64-bit app (where many competitors have now moved over), and you occasionally notice that it's not 64-bit when handling lots of AVCHD.
The lack of 3D support means we can't unreservedly recommend Avid Studio, but this is still impressive for an initial release, especially considering how many versions Adobe Premiere Elements went through before really finding its identity. This is also a relatively pricey video editing app, costing at least £10 more than Adobe Premiere Elements 10 or CyberLink PowerDirector 10, and twice Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11. Mind you, numerous extra plug-ins are included as well as the greenscreen. So as long as you make good use of these features the software is actually decent value, and a powerful, capable video editing application. We can't wait to see what version 2 has to offer.