the standard version of sony movie studio 13, which costs $49.95, is aimed at novice filmmakers who need an easy way to start assembling and cutting their footage. The good news is that despite its basic level (the program features only a simple mode), Movie Studio 13 is powerful. but unfortunately, its excellent qualities are masked by an unappealing interface, lack of common beginner features, and slow rendering.
more: the best video editing software under $100
You can customize videos with preset text animations, rolling credits, and transitions with built-in dissolves and wipes. movie studio also lets you play around with numerous special effects.
a touch interface lets you work from the new 2-in-1 laptops more easily than their competitors allow. While the layout doesn’t change, the touchscreen-enabled buttons are larger, making it easier to capture and move clips, or apply effects and transitions. while other apps respond to tablet touches, this is the only one designed for touch functionality.
Movie Studio’s audio tools let you customize soundtracks to remove noise, apply effects and use track envelopes to control volume and pan, or record and edit live audio.
We tested the program on a hp specter x360 laptop running windows 10 home. Its 64-bit Intel Core i5 processor with CPU 5200U runs at 2.2GHz on an HD Graphics 5500 system with 8GB of RAM. we combined six clips into a 2.5 minute video shot at 60 frames per second and rendered the projects to mpeg 4 at 720p. we clocked the rendering at 60fps and 30fps.
sony movie studio’s performance when assembling test videos, transitions, and fast text input was slower than its competitors, but not unusable. at 7:13:25 at 30fps, its rendering speed lagged behind other programs I’ve tried. An Intel Fast Sync setting reduced that result to a more respectable but still slow 5:38:03 and 6:04:64 for 30fps and 60fps, respectively. the intel setting did not benefit sony at 60fps as the auto setting proved faster. its next competitor in the 30fps contest was corel videostudio, at 2:52:63, not even close. for the 60fps contest, the premiere items were the next slowest at 5:01:67.
in addition to the basic movie studio 13, sony offers a platinum version ($79.95) and a suite ($139.95), which includes all the features of the basic and platinum versions, plus blu-ray authoring capabilities and dvd, stereoscopic 3d editing, green screen, a white balance tool, and more video and audio effects.
at first glance, sony movie studio is simple. but a deeper look reveals that its somewhat cluttered and dull gray interface can take some getting used to.
The application’s show me how feature, a simple interactive tutorial that borrows some animated motions from elements in Adobe Premiere, familiarizes you with the program. It features two instructional videos, along with a help button that answers most newbie questions. I suggest looking at these before you start editing.
Although fairly easy to learn, the program tends to be complicated and finicky. for example, the fade function involved painstakingly clicking and dragging the ends of the frames. clicking on any individual effect opens a second window with controls and sliders that ranged from simple to complex, and usually had to be resized and repositioned so you could see the dynamic preview and operate the controls.
On the other hand, the auto-expand tool was excellent for one-step insertion of still images in the middle of videos. there is also a quick tool to trim the beginning or end of clips. importing clips into a new project pours them directly into the timeline, thus avoiding a drag-and-drop exercise.
youtube and facebook are integrated directly into the software, as is the case with the other video editing programs we reviewed. and as with corel videostudio, pinnacle and cyberlink, you can export specifically to playstation or render to apple devices.
once you get used to the interface, the $49.95 sony movie studio 13 offers a decent, if not particularly intuitive, experience with a wide variety of effects and transitions. a storyboard view and template-based quick video feature would have been helpful. Those factors, combined with slow rendering for both 30fps and 60fps and a lack of 4K support, make this package less desirable than the other programs in this roundup. works with microsoft windows 7 and above, but not on macs.