Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 review

As many of might now, i do create videos and i have used different pieces of video edting software to achieve this. One of the software i have used is from Sony Creative Software which is Sony Vegas. Now i have been using Pro 8 for many months and i've gotten used to the way it works and its features.

Now recently there was an offer for a more consumer version of the Sony Vegas franchise on offer for £19.99 Inc VAT. This is a really good value deal consider Sony have the RRP (Recommended Retail Price at £69.95. I decided to purchase it after arriving home from work on Monday (29 April. 2013).

So after ordering it on Monday, i was told on the Wednesday via E-mail and it would arrive on Saturday. Little did i know this was not the case and it arrived on Wednesday, even on the "Super Saver delivery" which is free from amazon. After unboxing the packaging, it was a nice white box as shown below:

The amazon packaging with the outer box of Movie Studio Platinum 12
Basically the box was pretty neat looking and showed off many of the features as well as the system requirements  Screenshots of these are below:
The front of movie Studio

The inside cover of Movie Studio. This shows what features are included such as capturing the footage. letting you import from various devices,supports many common video filetypes, creating and editing with amazing, yet professional effect and sharing them to DVD, Blu-Ray or even online to FB (if you want to do it for the "likes) or better yet, Youtube :)

The back of the Movie Studio Packaging. Includes an image of the interface, Shows the tutorials feature and the system requirements down at the bottom in different languages. 
The packaging looks good and easy to read and understand the basics of what Movie Studio can provide your videos with. As well as this, the System Requirements are quite basic but can  be quite demanding if you are using an older laptop or desktop. I'll list them down below from the Sony Website

  • Microsoft® Windows Vista® 32-bit or 64-bit SP2, Windows® 7 32-bit or 64-bit, Windows® 8 32-bit or 64-bit operating system
  • 2 GHz processor (multicore or multiprocessor CPU recommended for HD or stereoscopic 3D)
  • 500 MB hard-disk space for program installation
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • IEEE-1394DV card (for DV capture and print-to-tape)
  • USB 2.0 connection (for importing from AVCHD, XDCAM EX, NXCAM, or DVD camcorders)
  • 512 MB Graphics Card memory
  • NVIDIA or AMD Radeon  Graphics Card or Intel HD graphics 4000 or Newer (If it supports OpenCL, this will be fine for it)
  • Windows-compatible sound card (ALL Laptop computers have this built in)
  • DVD-ROM drive (for installation from a DVD only)
  • Supported CD-recordable drive (for CD burning only)
  • Supported DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW (for DVD burning only)
  • Supported BD-R/-RE drive (for Blu-ray Disc™ burning only)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (included on application disc, built in on Windows 7, Windows 8 requires a download)
  • Apple® QuickTime® 7.1.6 or later for reading and writing QuickTime files (if you use iTunes, this is already included, although there are reports QuickTime versions over 7.5 can be an issue, but that might be only with versions under
  • Internet Connection (for Gracenote MusicID Service)
Now although it doesn't mention Windows 8 support on the box itself, it is supported and working on windows 8 just fine, heck even vegas pro 8 was fine on windows 8 with no hassle (Except if you use iTunes).  But before i explain more about how it runs, i'll show you what it includes below:
The inside packaging includes:
  • A copy of the Serial Numbers for both Movie Studio and DVD Architect 5
  • A set of anaglyph 3D Red & Cyan Glasses
  • A advert for some extra effects FREE of charge to add to Movie Studio 12
  • The DVD with both Movie Studio 12 and DVD architect 5

This is quite a nice amount given to you with the package, especially with the anaglyph 3D glasses, i've been looking for those for 2 years without looking online since i'm not that desperate to by some. But the installation was quite easy and i was up and running in 10 minutes. I did download the updated version instead of using the disc (to get the Windows 8 compatible version) and installation on both my laptop and desktop was easy. Then the registration was a 2 minute simple form signing and i'm activated legitimately on both machines. After that, the splash screen followed by Movie Studio itself:

The splash screen for Movie Studio. This is very quick to load, faster on my laptop then my desktop for some reason :)

The main screen of Movie Studio after the splash screen (you do have a start up windows appear but unchecking that will lead you straight to this). It shows up with the Media libary with other tabs to explore, the timelines with 5 preset tracks to help organise the video when editing and the Preview of both video and audio levels

 Now the layout is very familiar which makes it easier for me to edit my videos, the options are still in the same places, which means i can apply the same techniques to my videos with ease....or so i thought.

Now i used vegas to add a easy watermark and also upscale it to 720p. I can do the upscaling quite easy with changing 1 option on the source section of the menu as shown below:
This is the Event Pan/Crop window. This allows you to apply croping and adjusting the clip to any aspect ratio. This is also incredibly useful for filling out a 4:3 clip to 16:9.
Then i can adjust the text to make a banner like watermark to many videos i have edited. With Vegas is was a more simplistic view to add and modify the text, with tabs to show off different categories and it was neat and effective. An example of how this looked is shown below:

The text feature in Vegas Pro, much simpler with tabbed options and it shows how the text is applied on to the video itself, with a nice translucent boarder to make it easier to show off the video and make the text clear.

 However, in Movie Studio. The same features are there and some new ones but the layout has changed which personally is harder to navigate and some i have yet to learn or master, but you can see the new layout down below, even the options allow you to have 1,2 or 3 columns to help navigate.
The text features in Movie Studio is more advanced but looks more clunky and not as nice to navigate. But the features are still the same although harder to find in some cases. Although its easier to save it as a preset to help save time.
Now there are less video effects than in Vegas Pro (40 less than version 12) but with 350 effect to choose from, that should give you a slight advantage with choosing the right effect and the right moment. The effects are like text and can easily be dragged and dropped onto the timeline. 

Many of the Effects include:

  • Chroma Keys - Used for Blue/Green Screens
  • Borders
  • Sepia
  • Black & White
  • Deform
  • Sphere
  • Cookie cutter
  • Blur Adjustments - includes 4 variations of blur
  • Saturation Adjustment
This can be handy if you want to give your viewers a nice bit of creativity to add to a scene you've filmed or just when you kill someone on a FPS game video (yes like those PWNING NOOBS videos regarding Call of Duty and Battlefield games). 

Now the next stage or final stage i can comment on is the Rendering. With Vegas Pro 8, all i had was CPU rendering, which although its nice on a Intel Core2Quad Q8300, it still might not be as fast as using a Graphics Card. But thanks to new technologies, its now possible to let the GPU render the video. 

This can help when wanting to render in a rushed situation, which i have had times where rendering ASAP is pretty important. But rendering or setting up the rendering is slightly easier than i was wondering. With the rendering windows in Vegas Pro, it was a simple "save as" window and you options and formats in different drop down boxes, like below:
The Render window in Vegas Pro, its nice and simple.
But with movie Studio, the interface has changed into a bigger layout and makes it easier to see all the settings and formats and also filter out the options you don't need which is easier :). Take a look below:
This is the Render Screen in Movie Studio. The layout simplified, but bigger and more options you can choose from and also the options are filtered out to what your project supports if you choose to filter them.
Now rendering is the same speed i feel with both Vegas Pro 8 and Movie Studio 12. The time it had taken for Movie Studio to render a 720p 25FPS video of a flash game i had recorded footage of using Dxtory was about 10 minutes. The quality however was incredible. The video was at a 2mbps bit rate and looked crystal clear. This was using the Main Concept AVC/ACC format and rendered at best settings. If i had used other settings, the OpenCL rendering would of been much faster, but that will be a trial and error i can experiment with later on with using Movie Studio more often.

In conclusion i rate Movie Studio Platinum 12 a 4/5. 

It works nicely for the value of £30 (even better with the current offer) and provides all the features i have used in Vegas Pro 8 and extras i might use in the future. It feels and works mostly the same which allows you to work the way you might be used to. But as amazing as it works, there are downsides like not being able to open Vegas projects and the text editor layout being different. 

Well worth the buy if you want to improve your videos whether it be for Youtube or just a family DVD. 
If you want to purchase it, click below: