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Pinnacle Studio HD 15 Ultimate - Extra Plug-ins and Verdict

By James Morris



Our Score:


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.

Pinnacle Studio HD 15 Ultimate

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.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Usability 10
  • Value 8

Glyn Martin

February 14, 2012, 5:33 pm

I am looking to get this software to edit footage from my new Panasonic HDC SD80 camera on the top setting. Will this program run on a laptop with i5 2410 processor, 6 Gb Ram and a 1GB graphics card? Off their webpage they recommend Intel Core™ 2 or i7 2.4 GHz required for AVCHD* (2.66 GHz for AVCHD* 1920)

Many Thanks


February 14, 2012, 6:16 pm

I see no reason why that system should have a problem running that software. Might be a bit slow (though I doubt it) but it should run.


May 20, 2012, 11:26 pm

Pinnacle Dazzle STUDIO HD DVD is an extremely resource-intensive application. On my Core-i5 with 6GB RAM, the CPU stays peaked between 60% and 94% of CPU while rendering videos that are a mere 500MB. That's a resource pig. Also, the user interface where media is chosen and the video timeline is assembled is very sluggish; the context menus and option property windows are VERY slow to open. The #1 complaint I have, however, is that the rendering process HALTS if the screen-saver launches and/or you manually lock (WINDOWS KEY+L) the computer. That is absolutely the biggest oversight yet; no one wants to wiggle the mouse or disable screen-saver preferences just to suit one application.
Lastly, despite have purchased a license, in-app nag advertisements are STILL presented and nearly 90% of features are considered PAY-FOR add-ons.
In summary, I would not recommend this sluggish, limited product to anyone. I've used PROSHOW GOLD in the past and felt that it out-performed Pinnacle's product, hands down.


May 21, 2012, 4:20 am

To continue with my prior comments, there are significant bugs in the Pinnacle Dazzle STUDIO HD DVD Version 14 release, as of May 2012, and they are eaily replicated.

Amongst the list is a GREEN SCREEN that suddenly appears in the Preview window, while working in the Edit pane, instead of the photo or video that is otherwise shown in the timeline at that location. The only way I was able to get rid of the green screen was to click FILE then DELETE AUXILLARY FILES (ALL). And, no, I didn't have Chroma Key enabled.

The other consistent issue I have experienced is, again; while editing, the Preview window will only show the photo or video that is at the currently-selected location in the timeline when Play was clicked.

I am forever in wonder if companies like Pinnacle have a QA quality assurance department at all. If it weren't for needing the Dazzler hardware, I would certainly be returning this product for a FULL refund.


November 28, 2012, 8:53 am

Yes it is true this program is one slow program, i am using 14 ultimate on I7 latest window processor and still it get stuck and i have a lot of ram, so i am moving to adobe cost more, get a student version or even sony is much better.
Avid you need to improve your platform of making your program,

Nic Adair

September 29, 2013, 5:48 pm

Another 'also ran' piece of editing software.
A poor man's Sony Vegas.


February 25, 2014, 11:13 pm

would this program be good for editing video from a gopro? we just got the GoPro and cant edit via movie maker

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