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Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 review: Packed with features and good value

James Morris
30 May 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 focuses on usability, but there are some nifty new effects as well

Pros 
Split-screen video and template creator
Enhanced stop motion animation
Lens correction tools
Cons 
Confusing title tools
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Although there are plenty of new tools and enhanced effects, VisualStudio 2018’s big improvements focus on usability rather than major new features.

The basic workflow is still divided into three stages – Capture, Edit and Share – but there are subtle tweaks to the Edit stage to streamline activities. Take the small tool beneath the video preview window that can be used to select scaling or cropping. Rather than launch a new window, this now takes place within the preview itself. However, you can’t keyframe using this interface, just create static picture-in-picture effects. You still need the separate path effect to add motion, which also allows the animation of scaling and rotation.

READ NEXT: Adobe Premiere Pro CC review

VideoStudio’s ability to create snazzy video effects has been improved, too. The split-screen video templates are one highlight: drag one of these templates to the timeline and it sets up a series of overlay layers. You can then drag your clips over each layer whilst holding down Control to replace them. This then slices your clips according to the geometric split in the template. The nice thing here is that each video is still a layer, so you can add separate filters, effects, and even animations to each one.

There’s a new Pan and Zoom editor that allows you to create those Ken Burns-style effects so beloved of documentary filmmakers, although this works just as well with video as it does with still images. You can use this tool to reframe the action or to add motion to a still image – panning across a family photo as you discuss who is contained within it in a voiceover, for example. The cropping, motion and rotation can all be keyframed.

Similar to the Premiere Elements guided edit opposite, Corel touts the new Lens Correction filter as a tool for removing the fisheye from wide-angle action camera footage. There are presets included, but you may need to use the manual adjustments to get the correction just right for your action camera, as the presets aren’t for specific models. You can then save your own presets for future use. There are also a number of presets for adding in lens distortion as a creative effect, rather than removing it, which extends the value of this tool.

The support for 360-degree video has been improved since the previous version, but it’s still behind CyberLink PowerDirector 16. For a start, the software only supports footage up to 4K resolution, so the 5.7K footage of Garmin’s VIRB 360 and 5.2K footage of GoPro’s Fusion can’t be imported. However, I imported 4K equirectangular footage from my Garmin VIRB 360 without issue.

There’s not much you can do with 360 footage, though. You can convert spherical to equirectangular, and extract a 2D frame from a sphere, but you can’t edit the perspective, set the initial view direction, or stabilise, which is where PowerDirector wins.

Most consumer video editing packages add value by offering versions with loads of bundled extras, and VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 is no different. There were already tools from proDAD, Boris FX and NewBlue FX, but these are now augmented with templates from NewBlue Titler Pro 5, and an enhanced Boris Title Studio. However, these both act as filters that you add to a clip, and with the 2D and new 3D Title Editors that are built into VideoStudio, there are now at least four different ways to add titles. This is a bit of a mess.

The 3D Title Editor lets you add truly three-dimensional text over your video, with powerful design and animation abilities. You can add colour and texture, change the bevel and extrusion shape, and animate most attributes with time, allowing the creation of elaborate motion graphics intros. Just beware these kinds of titles can look old-fashioned.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 review: Verdict

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2018 is packed with features, and even at £90 it’s good value considering the bundled effects. However, Premiere Elements wins for usability and PowerDirector 16 edges it on handling 360-degree video. This is a worthy upgrade for existing users of VideoStudio, but newcomers to video editing will find Premiere Elements easier to use and more focused.