Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 offers a gamut of features which allow you to create professional looking movies from your videos and images. The biggest improvements over the previous edition of the software are the addition of 64 bit support and GPU acceleration, which is handy when it comes to making 3D or even high definition videos. Users who are upgrading from previous versions will benefit from smoother performance and faster processing.

When starting a new project, you can specify the type of video you wish to create and the type of media you are going to use. These include the following options: AVCHD, HDV, DV, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Internet Video and even 3D Internet Video. Little descriptors show up when you click on any of these options, which will help you choose the correct format. You can import the media files that you intend to use in the project from the explorer bar. You can select the folder that contains the media files—which could be images, video or audio—and then simply drag them to the timeline to create an event. You can also extract audio from a CD, capture a video and import objects from the web.     

There are plenty of video effects you can choose from

There are plenty of video effects you can choose from

The other way to go about adding media files is via the Project Media tab, where you follow a similar procedure to import files that will then reflect in the project media window in the middle. The advantage here is that you can trim the media file before adding it to the timeline. This can be achieved by right-clicking on the media file and selecting the “Open in Trimmer” option. Once you have made the necessary alterations, you can save it as a subclip. Adding items to the timeline from here is a simple matter of dragging and dropping them. You can also remove items from the project through this panel; this can be done at any stage during the project. 

You can add effects to the events in the timeline using the Transitions, VideoFX and Media Generators options. The effects have been classified into OFX (open source), 32-bit floating point, GPU Accelerated, Sony and Third Party. Each of these categories offers several effects that can be further customised. The thumbnails of these effects offer previews when you hover over them with the mouse cursor. With the Transitions tab, you can add transition effects between two events, such as 3D Blinds, Slide, Linear Wipe, Page Roll, Portals etc. For adding effects to the video, head over to the VideoFX tab, where you have options such as Film Grain, Lens Flare, Mirror, Sepia, Sharpen etc. For adding background and text effects, select the Media Generators tab.

You can add text and background effects using the Media Generator tab

You can add text and background effects using the Media Generator tab

After you have previewed your project and are satisfied with the output, click on the Make Movie button to render it. Here you have several options: you can upload it to YouTube, share it online, burn it to a DVD or Blu-ray disc, save it to camera/portable device or save it to hard drive. If you select the option to save it on hard disk, then you have to specify the format you want to render the file in. It offers all the popular audio and video formats such as FLAC Audio, AIFF, Dolby Digital, MP3, Wave, AVI etc. However, it doesn’t support popular formats like DivX, MKV, Xvid and MOV formats. You can choose from the available presets and further customise parameters of the audio and video codecs, including bit rate, resolution, sample rate etc. However, it won’t display the projected file size when rendering. 

We tested this software on an Acer M3-581TG laptop powered by an Intel Core i5-2467M CPU, 4GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics processor. Our sample video was a 30 second 720p video clip and we added two images and an audio clip. We added effects like 3D Cascade, Sony Checkerboard, White Porches etc. to sections of the video. The total length of the video after adding photos, sound clip and effects was one minute and forty seconds. We rendered the video in WMV format (3Mbps video preset) and it took close to three minutes. The time taken to render the video depends on the length of the video, effects used and PC configuration.

You can specify the format and further customize the rendering parameters s

You can specify the format and further customise the rendering parameters

The number of effects available and the level of customisation offered, makes Movie Studio Platinum superior to software like Windows Live Movie Maker. With Movie Studio Platinum 12, you can achieve a far greater level of sophistication and add a professional touch to your videos. The only deterrent could be the price, which is quite steep at Rs. 5,200. So unless you are going to use this software regularly, we suggest that you try the free trial version before buying it.

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