There are now three main players on the home video-editing stage – Ulead Videostudio, Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle Studio. Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0 is owned by Avid, a leader in professional video editing, and this version sees some high-end additions borrowed from its experience in the industry.

The main area that all home video-editing software is concentrating on is HD (high definition), as the level of detail offered promises to be the next big thing in the world of video and television. But it's worth bearing in mind that, aside from real enthusiasts, few home users are actually capturing or editing video in HD format. For most users, there's probably no need to update existing software until HD becomes more prevalent. But should you be one of the rare breed of home user who's already becoming immersed in HD, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0 is a top-of-the-range package aimed directly at you.

HD on a DVD?

HD input and output is now fully supported. As does Ulead Videostudio, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0 offers support for AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) format files, which were introduced by Sony and Panasonic. This means that your HD files will take up less storage space on disc.

It's worth noting that, while you may be editing HD files, you may not have an HD recorder to allow you to write your finished movies to disc. Pinnacle has thought of this and Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0 allows you to store around 30 minutes worth of HD footage on an ordinary DVD, which can then be played back with an HD-DVD player.

Portable definition

If your interests lie more in putting video clips and movies online or on to a portable device, then your needs are catered for equally well by Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0. It now supports output to an iPod or PSP (PlayStation Portable), and the web interface has been improved so you can export your films directly using the Yahoo Videos service. Choosing how your video will be output is simply a matter of selecting the type of output you want to record your video to, choosing the quality setting and then selecting the file type.

Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11.0's main interface includes three tabs, each of which controls the key parts of the software – Capture, Edit and Make Movie. This has been tided up and it's a lot easier to work with than Adobe's Premiere Elements.

Most tweaks are minor, however.

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