So there aren't that many features to entice users of version 14 to upgrade, but if you're still using an earlier version, then you can take advantage of version 14's enhancements. These include a stop motion capture utility, and in the case of the Ultimate version on test here a couple of capable effects plug-ins from Red Giant.
As the name suggests, Red Giant's ToonIt transforms your footage into a quasi-cartoon appearance, and Knoll Light Factory adds things like lens flares to your footage, with a particularly high quality end result.
Both Scorefitter and SmartSound SonicFire Pro background music generation plug-ins are now included with Pinnacle Studio HD 15. Whilst Scorefitter is somewhat limited, the SmartSound software requires activation, costing £24.95. So whilst it's great to see the return of this powerful loop-based music creation tool, Pinnacle has played its usual trick of tantalising you with options that will cost you extra to activate.
In fact, Pinnacle's habit of making you pay extra for effects packs and other add-ons, most of which are now bundled with the Avid-branded Studio, is ultimately the downfall of the Ultimate versions, which don't give you so much out of the box.
Pinnacle Studio has been a regular favourite for newcomers to video editing, with version 12 earning a Recommended award. However, the message isn't quite so clear for version 15. This is still a great sub-£100 video editing app, but the Ultimate and Ultimate Collection versions have been overshadowed by their own Avid Studio stablemate. The latter may be more complex to use for the newcomer, but it bundles a whole lot more for the money. Only the basic Studio HD 15 makes obvious sense, as a starter video editing app. Its £45 price means it remains excellent value for the beginner.