For years I’ve been using the Adobe suite for all of my editing. I love the work flow and all of the features. The problem with Adobe is that whenever there is some major new standard in video editing, they never update their software to utilize it. They force you to buy the next release to get the new features. For instance, when Premiere CS came out, they didn’t support native HD editing. You had to buy a 3rd party app to utilize it. Then when they started supporting native HD editing, they didn’t support all formats. AVCHD is the latest and greatest HD format. Premiere CS3 currently doesn’t support it. So instead of updating CS3 to support that format, Adobe would rather have you purchase CS4 to get AVCHD editing. Finished with Adobe at the moment, I started searching for other editors that worked with AVCHD out of the box. Ulead Pro, Vegas Video, Pinnacle 12 and Magix Video Pro X all support AVCHD. Magix was kind enough to send me a copy of Video Pro X to review. Since I’m editing something every day, it was a great opportunity to test it and post my findings.
The most important things I need in an editor are smooth work flow and tons of export options. The interface in Video Pro X is beautiful. It doesn’t even look like windows, it looks more like Linux or X Windows. It has source and preview windows, a bin for all of your imports, a timeline and a window for all of your effects and transitions. The GUI is charcoal grey in color and is very pleasing to the eyes.
There are two options for timelines when it comes to editing. You have a standard timeline view and also a scene editing view for the less experienced. You can link and unlink sound and video, slice, fade and scrub with ease. There’s also a multi-track audio mixer that allows you to edit Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. I don’t have a 5.1 setup yet so I was unable to test this.
Importing clips and images is really fast. Even if the clip is in HD, it imports quickly and samples the video down to a lower resolution for editing purposes. If you have a power house computer, sampling down the HD won’t be necessary. Since my computer is older, this feature came in handy. I would have loved to checked out the firewire importing but my camera doesn’t support it. I basically have to import my clips from the camera to the computer over usb and then import them into Video Pro X. Sony Vegas allowed importing directly from the AVCHD camera, but this is because Sony makes their own HD cameras and it would be a shame if Vegas didn’t have this feature.
Video X Pro has a full set of effects tools. There’s several 3D effects for creating titles and also 3D morphs and wipes. The 3D title tool was a great addition as not many editors have this as a part of their package. The built in title tool is top notch. It has everything you need to create professional titles. All you have to do is click on the filter and add your text. I usually make my credits in Photoshop and then animate them in After Effects. This is one stop shopping here. Not all the title effects are necessary though. There are plenty that I would never use, but if you are into broadcast video I’m sure a lot of them would come in handy. Video Pro X comes with it’s own color corrector and chroma key tools as well. There’s also tons of wipes and fades to use for putting clips together.
There’s a full set of export codecs. You can export Mpeg 4, quicktime, windows media and even Magix’s own special format. I was disappointed that there wasn’t an export codec for flash video. Luckily I have my own flash video converter. It does save a step however, to have it built into the editor. This way you can go straight from the edit to flash video. The way it is now you’ll have to export out of Video Pro X and then re-encode using Adobe Flash Encoder or some other tool. There’s also a Youtube exporter buried under the internet menu. You can burn DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs and there’s even a fully functional DVD/Blu-Ray authoring tool included.
We did several exports from Video Pro X and found it to be very fast. You are still limited by hardware but damn, the package uses a small footprint and really knows how to spit out those frames quickly. I can only imagine what this software will be like when we upgrade to our new HD editing hardware.
Video Pro X allows downloads of plugins off of their website through the interface. There’s not really enough bonus plugins worth getting at this time though. There’s also a lack of 3rd party support for plugins and filters.
I really love Video Pro X. It’s cheaper than most of the pro packages and includes AVCHD editing, which is REALLY important to me. The included Blu-Ray burning options are awesome! It seems like Magix thought of everything. It’s great for beginners and pros and has a friendly price point of $299. With a little bit of refinement, Video Pro X will be a product to reckon with.