Avid Pinnacle Studio Plus 10 does its best to erase the distinctions between consumer and prosumer video-editing tools by delivering flexible tools for both. But it spreads itself too thin, making it the also-ran for either market:
The program comes in a three-DVD set (counting the disc of bonus content), and loading all three took more than an hour; at times, it moved so slowly that we thought the installer had frozen. You can use that time to glance through the well-written, 292-page manual. While our 2GHz test system met Studio Plus's requirements, the program was often slow and jerky in our testing. The recommended requirement is a 2.4GHz system, and we say the more power the better. The Liquid engine ported from Pinnacle's higher-end products seems to demand nothing less for smooth performance. During our testing, we experienced a few freezes that required restarts. At least the program's new Background Save feature ensured that we didn't lose work when that happened.
The company's Web site offers thousands of support documents and discussion forums, so if you encounter problems such as these, you can search for the answers. You can submit a question by e-mail after viewing one support document, and the company will respond within a day or two. Plus, registered users are allowed one free tech support phone call (weekdays, 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. ET), and the number is provided on that same support insert so that you don't have to go hunting for it. After the initial call, additional queries cost $25 each. Sure, we'd like 30 days of free calls, but this is beyond what most sub-$100 software products offer.
Once it's cooked a little more, Avid Pinnacle Studio Plus 10 will make a nice compromise between Ulead's all-automation approach and Adobe's do-it-yourself power. But it's still a little too raw to recommend without reservations.