Magix Movie Edit Pro 2013 Premium review
Getting to grips with new software can be a bit of a chore, but it should ultimately be inspiring and rewarding. This latest version of Magix' consumer video-editing software is all pain and very little gain.
The drudgery starts with installation. The Premium version comes with three third-party plug-ins, but they can only be installed via a command in the Help menu, and only after registering the software with an email and postal address. One of these plug-ins requires registration separately, and the whole process is pretty laborious.
The trio of plug-ins are a mixed bag. NewBlue Video Essentials IV is the strongest, with 10 effects including Fish Eye, Reflection and Drop Shadow. Bleach Bypass boosts contrast in creative ways, Magnifying Glass magnifies a round or square area of the frame, while Skin Touch Up does a surprisingly good job of replacing skin textures with a featureless sheen.
The Skin Touch Up effect – technically impressive and unsettlingly creepy in equal measure
Digieffects Phenomena is a particle effects generator, with presets for adding fog, rain, snow, smoke, fire, sparks and a range of other simulations. There are only 11 in total, though, and the ability to edit their behaviour is limited. As a result, there's little chance of attaining photorealistic results. That's forgivable considering the price, but these kinds of presets ought to be more convincing. It’d be better off with fewer weather simulations and more stylised effects such as the Fairy Dust preset.
The Phenomena plug-in adds particle effects, but there's not much variety or control
ProDAD Adorage is comprised of a range of elaborate transitions, many incorporating animated graphics such as balloons, doves and Christmas baubles. It's shamelessly cheesy, but high production values and masses of presets mean it has its uses.
Its integration into Movie Edit Pro is pretty baffling, though. The plug-in appears among the effects, but with the exception of a small selection of frames, these are transitions, not effects. The plug-in also appears among the transitions, but the pop-up editor doesn't appear after adding the plug-in to the timeline. We eventually figured out that we had to drag it to the timeline, select the second of the two clips, click the AB button that appears and select Settings from the long list of options that appear. This bears no relation to how other transitions are managed, and is undocumented in the help pages. It's also frustrating that even the simple treatments brought preview performance almost to a halt in our tests.
Movie Edit Pro 2013 can synchronise two clips based on their soundtracks, but we doubt many users will ever find it
Preview performance in general lags behind the competition. It managed four simultaneous AVCHD streams on our Core i7 870 PC, which is one more than the previous version but a long way off the leaders. Effects previews are now handled by the graphics processor, taking some of the load off the main processor. While the previous version could only play a single AVCHD stream with the blur effect applied, this version managed two streams with blur applied to each. Any improvement is welcome, but we've seen much more dramatic improvements from graphics acceleration in rival software.