Pinnacle Systems officially announced at PC Expo that Version 8 of its popular Studio AV consumer video editing suite will be available in August with an integrated DVD authoring component.
Initially, Studio AV Version 8 (V.8) will be packaged as standalone software for a $99 street retail or bundled with a FireWire card for $129. A $49 upgrade version is also planned for Studio 7 owners.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said Studio V.8 includes all of the popular editing tools that has made its Studio series the top-selling consumer editing program in the world, with some important add-ons. In addition to integrating a DVD-authoring function into the editing program, the latest version also allows users to capture images in MPEG-2 format and to the standard DV format.
By capturing DV video recordings as MPEG-2, users free up hard-drive space for editing raw footage and eliminate the steps of converting videos from DV format to MPEG-2 before burning a copy on a DVD disc.
During capture, users can choose a preset for DVD quality, SVCD quality or VCD quality, depending on the media they require or the length of the video they want to fit on a disc.
Mike Iampietro, Pinnacle senior product manager, said the program will also be one of the only third-party editing programs that allow users to capture video directly from Sony's new MicroMV format camcorders.
Other additions include "new and improved DVD/VCD/SVCD creation tools," but the biggest change was the integration of the DVD authoring application. In previous Studio versions and in some competing programs, consumers were required to purchase a separate DVD-authoring program (such as Pinnacle Express) if they wanted to record their edited videos to writable DVD discs. This was more expensive and created additional steps in the editing process.
With Studio V.8, Pinnacle sought to simplify the task and make it a natural extension of the program's video editing timeline.
"Most people have approached DVD disc authoring and editing as two completely separate things," said Iampietro. "Either they make you separate the programs to do it, or they've arranged it as a completely separate step inside the editing software. We let you author your disc right on the timeline, using the same sort of techniques you use to edit the video production."
In addition, the DVD authoring tool enables users to make elaborate DVD menus, using the integrated Title Dekko that has been a standout in previous versions of Studio. Users can also select from an assortment of menu buttons for chapter breaks and either still or animated chapter images to add to the graphical appeal of the menu.
The integration of DVD authoring in a consumer video-editing suite was significant, Iampietro said, because DVD players have taken such a huge chunk of market share from VCR decks. He pointed to market research showing sales of DVD players surpassing sales of VCR players for the first time this year.
By enabling DVD authoring, home video makers will be able to archive their productions for many years without the risk of degradation that occurs with magnetic tape. They will also be able to make copies of edited home video discs to send to friends and family members.
Pinnacle expects Studio V.8 to help it significantly expand the global consumer video editing market this year. He cited research showing the annual worldwide consumer video editing market (hardware and software systems retailing for under $500) at about $120 million through March 2002, with a growth rate of about 28 percent a year. Most of that growth is driven by DV format camcorders, he added. Pinnacle's share of that worldwide market is 36 percent, he said.
Another factor cited as promising for Studio V.8 is a gradual acceleration of sales of DVD-burners, and forecasts for significant acceleration as prices come down over the next three to five years.