Pinnacle Studio HD 15 Ultimate Review



  • Archiving tool lets you transport whole projects
  • Enhanced import and export file format support
  • Still the easiest video editor to use


  • Avid's own-branded Studio better value than Ultra versions
  • SmartSound plug-in and effects packs still cost extra
  • No 64-bit version yet

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £64.99
  • Project archive tool
  • MKV import
  • QuickTime HD, DivX Plus HD and AVCHD Lite export
  • YouTube output extended to Full HD
  • Performance enhancements

When a piece of software reaches its 15th version, you would expect it to be a pretty finely honed experience. But, like Star Trek movies, there have been Pinnacle Studio updates of greater or lesser excellence along the way. Taking a scan down the feature list, Pinnacle Studio HD 15 isn’t a huge improvement over its predecessor. However, it does have just about enough new features to warrant the number revision.

Pinnacle was purchased by Avid a few years ago, and the company’s semi-professional Liquid software was discontinued after version 7. Although Studio persists, it too now has a questionable future since Avid released its own-branded Studio software.

However, there are clear interface distinctions between the two. Although both share the same underlying code base, their interfaces are rather different, and Pinnacle Studio still holds the upper hand for ease of use. This was the first mainstream consumer-grade video editing app to take a tabbed approach to the stages of the process, and it’s still the easiest app for novices to get to grips with in its class.
Pinnacle Studio HD 15 Ultimate
The most major feature enhancement with Studio HD 15 is its ability to archive projects. This is much more sophisticated than simply saving your editing decisions, as transferring just the file containing these to a new system will leave all the media they refer to behind. Even if you do copy over your media directory, it’s still easy to miss the odd file. The new archive facility gathers every file referenced in the project timeline and puts these with an archive reference file in a single folder you can copy to removable storage.

This can then be imported into any system running Studio HD 15, although
it will also need any plug-ins used to be installed and activated.
Since only the files included on the timeline are stored in the archive,
the latter’s size can be deceptively small, although you are told this
right at the beginning of the process so you can choose storage with
sufficient remaining capacity.

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