I’ve been into photography as a kid and the natural progression was to migrate to digital photography. Many moons ago when I first started processing images on my computer, I bought a scanner and with that came a free SE version of a program called PhotoImpact from Ulead. It was so good that I bought the full package – indeed I went through just about every version of it until recently – getting more and more disillusioned with ULEAD’s attitude – minor improvements every expensive upgrade, no freebies or regular fixes. Eventually I scrapped it in favour of the much more expensive Photoshop and even that has now gone by the by as I’ve now adopted the free GIMP (Windows version) and am very happy with it. It’s not quite as good as Photoshop but then I’m not supporting Macromedia’s greedy pockets – and they ARE greedy pockets – just check out the cost of Dreamweaver.
For some years it’s been part of my job to handle the odd video creation, one example being the FSB’s conference in which for the last 3 years, live editing has been required – in a hectic environment with not a lot of time to spare.
Ulead and lack of Support
Ulead MediaStudioPro was in it’s time a very viable option for this and other editing chores, being cheaper than some of the other pro offerings and even a little faster than the market leader – but for ages, lack of support has been a problem and the fact that the package won’t run in Vista (not that I’ve any intention of using Vista – but I will be using Windows 7) and it recently came to light when helping a member of staff with a combined slideshow+music+voiceover that MediaStudio Pro doesn’t always sync sound too well. Indeed I had to buy a separate sound package to get things right.
Alternatives to MediaStudioPro
Bearing in mind this is a professional video package and not cheap.. I decided it was time to look for alternatives and started downloading boatloads of demos.
Magix Editor Pro 15 Plus
To cut a long story short I stumbled on something called MAGIX (I know, I know, STUPID NAME) and downloaded the demo while on holiday in Spain. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Fast, accurate, easy to use but REALLY powerful.
16:9 Format Issues
Another issue I had with MediaStudio was getting the right “anamorphic” setup for widescreen video – BLIP.TV (a streaming media service a bit like YouTube) seemed to have an issue and we spent ages messing with settings in MediaStudioPro.
No more… – along comes MAGIX – works out of the box no problem and I’ve tried various experimental quality settings all work perfectly when the file is uploaded to a streaming service like BLIP.
The Deal at Amazon
So there I was wondering how to get someone else to pay for this and perhaps a selection of extra music background files…. when I stumbled across…
Unbelievable – so cheap I just went ahead and bought it!
Ok, so for £34 it has to be rubbish, right? Even the retail at £64 makes this a toy?
Erm NO actually! 99 tracks, blu-ray support, HD support, twin camera support, dolby, chroma-key… direct-to-youtube…
The Bottom Line
Anyway I’m not a salesman – here’s a PDF with more info. If you’re into making short movie clips and need something fast, easy to use and cheap – well, I’ve not found anything better.