Pinnacle Edition DV
We guarantee that Edition's interface will throw you for a loop. Gone are the pull-down menus and tool palettes of most editing systems--heck, of most software applications. Instead, Edition emulates Windows itself, complete with a Pinnacle Start button in the lower left-hand corner. It's a bit hard to get used to this OS-within-an-OS setup, but once you do, you'll never miss clunky toolbar menus.
Edition offers two separate views: Project and Sequence. In Project view, you collect your media (film clips, still shots, and music) and organize your material, while Sequence view displays a traditional timeline interface for fine-tuning your project. Each time you switch between Project and Sequence, the icons embedded in the interface also change to match the new operation. We like the interface recycling, since it maintains interface consistency throughout the program.
Beyond its interesting interface, Edition sports some impressive editing capabilities, from three-point editing to mixing multiple audio channels. While Edition bundles Pinnacle Impression DVD Pro for advanced DVD-authoring tasks such as menu creation, title transitions, and adding audio, it can create an MPEG-2 file (the DVD format) and burn a simple, video-only DVD straight from the program. Edition also relies on the bundled Commotion program, which provides sophisticated special effects and compositing, (creating multiple layers of video). We prefer Adobe After Effects for such special touches, but the powerful Commotion easily matches Final Cut Pro's special effects and compositing capabilities.
Diamond in the rough
Nonetheless, Edition has yet to polish a few rough edges. For example, although Edition lets you change the name of a video or audio track in the Timeline window, you can't resize the column that displays the name beyond five characters. Also, Edition lacks real-time transition and effect previews--a speedy editing tool that even midrange video editors such as Video Explosion Deluxe, Final Cut Pro, and the upcoming Adobe Premiere 6.5 all offer. Finally, we wish Edition could import audio CD files for use as music and sound effects--a pretty big oversight--and we miss the scene-detection feature found in Pinnacle's low-end video products, which makes for much faster editing by automatically breaking up a video.
A professional's tool
Alas, Edition is completely Windows-centric; Mac users must stick with Final Cut Pro and Premiere. Otherwise, Pinnacle Edition matches those two products and Video Explosion Deluxe nearly feature for feature, from audio mixing to special effects to DVD authoring. If you use a PC and are serious about editing video, you owe it to yourself to check out Pinnacle Edition DV.