Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus
by Monica van Boren
Movie Edit Pro 14’s main menu as well as succeeding pages are smart-looking and unpretentious…sophisticated tools without all the clutter. ‘nuf about the look. Movie Pro is a complete video editing program. It will do for the novice through the more-experienced user. Adobe Premiere or Ulead it is not, but then you are not paying the price either.
Not too long ago, editing your own video was seen as a high-end task that took serious dedication. However, with even Windows Vista now shipping with Movie Maker 2, video has gone main stream, and as long as you have a reasonably powerful PC, you can achieve great results in minutes.
Read the package and you might think it will do everything you want, and then some. Not true. When it comes to usability and output quality, Movie Pro trails the leaders in the field (Adobe Premiere Elements and Ulead Video Studio), making the package appropriate more for the value-conscious buyer.
One of my basic criticisms is that most of the effects are awkward to navigate with only mediocre documentation. There was a bit of flickering on our tests. Initializing the image-stabilization feature (to steady shaky video) was also more complicated than it should be and introduced artifacts into the video. These are some examples of small things that are irksome and mar an otherwise admirable program.
While transitions were plentiful, using them was awkward. On the other hand, you can adjust volume via rubber-band control in real time. Movie Edit’s noise-removal tool proved effective at reducing background noise, though configuring it was daunting.
Rendering performance was quite strong, however, with Magix rendering a three-minute test clip into MPEG-2 format in less than four minutes, compared to five-to-seven minutes for Studio and Premiere. DVD authoring includes niceties like audio and video menus and good menu configurability, but navigation is limited and the interface results are erratic. Preview your video menu and all menu buttons disappear, leaving you to wonder what will happen during rendering.
Overall, most Movie Edit users will end up wishing Magix had spent less time adding new features and more time polishing and documenting the ones already in the program.
The installation takes a long time, chiefly due to the extra software that is bundled with the main application. You'll find everything from a simple digital photo-editing tool, to 3D animation and even music playlist tracking. All of which adds to the value of the pack, but does tend to drain resources and detract from the main aim of the package. Magix, how about allowing more control by the user over the install process?
Once up and running, the three main tasks--Record, Edit and Burn--each have their own tag on the top of the screen, opening a host of different editing tools, but only if you choose to do so.
Record may sound like you actually have to capture footage, but in reality you can import from either a player, external hard disk or the PC’s own optical drive. Once footage is imported, the clips are laid out on a fairly conventional timeline running along the bottom of the screen.
From here you can start to edit the clips, re-arrange them and even change the color tones. The software tries to help, which can be annoying and can hamper your efforts. Magix, this could be another improvement. A small box will do – “click for simplified interface” and that’s it.
Once your footage is a rough sequence of events, you can move on to the main Edit screen, which offers a wider range of tools, including transitions and special effects.
If you're new to editing movie footage, or simply don't have the time to edit it yourself, the rather handy 1-Click is the perfect tool for you. This tool opens Movieshow Maker, which effectively takes your sequenced footage and adds a series of standard filters and transitions so you'll have a finished film in no time.
Burn to create DVDs, or in this increasingly online age, to copy them to YouTube or other social sites, as well as straight to an iPod. There is a separate icon/program for burning. As there is for Magix Music, but for music there are fees to use some features.
This latest suite from Magix is aimed at those who have outgrown the rather basic features of Movie Maker and are looking to add more than basic transitions and edits. Sure, Movie Edit allows that, but there are also a host of special effects to be had.
Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus works well and offers great value for the money. Magix is headquartered in Germany, but their USA site for info and updates is www.magix.com/us/. Occasionally, you’ll come across a page on their website in German. Das is OKen. Just look in the lower left for a small drop down menu and select “English”.
Monica van Boren is a HAL PC member and admitted movie edit nut. Contact her at email@example.com.