The first big new feature, however, is that Studio now supports 3D, at long last (just in time for the BBC to drop the format). We didn't find Studio was quite as tolerant as CyberLink PowerDirector 11 for different types of 3D file format, with some side-by-side files we tried not being detected as 3D, and the 50 frames-per-second files from a JC Everio GS-TD1 didn't work either. But we found standard AVCHD 2.0 3D files were fine.
When viewing 3D footage, you can choose to view left eye, right eye, side-by-side, differential, checkerboard, or output to a 3DTV in side-by-side format. It's also possible to view the 3D in anaglyph format, for which glasses have been provided in the box. Previous versions of Avid and Pinnacle Studios supported a good range of file formats, and the new 3D ability is also joined by the ability to import directly from the Box online video service.
However, Ultra HD 4K video isn't supported. We tried to import 4K video shot on a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition to no avail. CyberLink PowerDirector 11 supported this format last year, and Corel's own VideoStudio X6 does too. So it's a bit of an omission, even if in practice it will be years before the format reaches widespread consumer or even enthusiast adoption.
Once you have imported your 3D, there are some new Stereoscopic effects you can add to your footage. You can choose whether to keep just the left or right eye image, but you can also adjust the parallax. In standard mode, you can simply change the depth effect. In Advanced mode, you can shift the picture left or right, and zoom separately in horizontal and vertical directions.
The Ultimate version's inclusion of Red Giant's Filmmaker's and Motion Graphics Toolkits adds some serious extra facilities, too. The Filmmaker's Toolkit includes Cosmo, Magic Bullet Looks, and Mojo, whilst the Motion Graphics Toolkit includes Knoll Light Factory, Particular, Reflect, Shadows and Shine. Covering the abilities of these plug-ins in detail would warrant a separate review.
So, in short, Cosmo helps you achieve attractively soft-focused skin tones in your interview subjects, whilst the much-loved Magic Bullet Looks contains a host of customisable presets for different classic film and video appearances, such as horror or tinted black and white. Mojo is essentially a grading tool, allowing you to give your videos various warm or cool treatments. The Graphics toolkit filters let you add things like lens flares and particle systems.
Users of earlier versions of Pinnacle Studio looking for more editing power should definitely consider version 16. It may be a significantly different application, but the backwards compatibility with earlier projects make this a better option than switching to something entirely new.
This is a more fully featured editor than previous Studios, and is one of the most capable video apps currently available for under £100, rivalling Adobe Premiere Elements 11 for features and performance.
The code switch to what used to be Avid Studio may be quite radical, but it makes for a much more powerful editing application, particularly in this Ultimate version.