Ease of Learning: 4.5 / 5
Ease of Use: 4 / 5
Enjoyment: 4.5 / 5
Design: 4 / 5
Value for Money: 4 / 5
Sony’s Movie Studio Platinum 12 is the lower end version of its big brother Sony Vegas Pro, but sits atop the Sony Movie Studio heap. This is aimed right at Adobe’s Premiere Elements and from having spent some time with this product, I have to say, Premiere has a fierce battle on its hands.
The Platinum version really is a full featured product, and although not aimed at the professional market, will not leave many editors wanting. Along with the editing program, you also get DVD Architect Studio 5.0, a fully featured authoring program to both DVD and Blu-Ray.
If you have ever spent time with Sony Vegas Pro or other products from the Sony Vegas family, you’ll be instantly at home in this program. The GUI is familiar and the features of this program plentiful. Although there are a few limitations that you will not find on the full Vegas Pro version, it’s still filled with most of what you’d want. You are limited to 20 video and 20 audio tracks, which is a lot. I’ve rarely gone beyond these limits and they should for the most part not be an issue to anyone.
A nice feature for people new to this software is the MAKE MOVIE and SHOW ME HOW features. The MAKE MOVIE opens a list of destination links for your movie. Like you could send your video directly to YouTube or share it online, save it to you hard drive or burn/author a DVD/Blu-Ray disc. When choosing the last option, it automatically renders your work to the desired format and then launches DVD Architect Studio. Very useful! The SHOW ME HOW literally shows you how to do things, what buttons to push etc. It guides you through all the basics of the program and the animations are very nicely done and show you how to get going with this program, without being intrusive.
Editing works exactly the same as with Vegas Pro, and it’s fast and smooth. No hiccups. It handles different file types and sizes very well. The video I edited with this software included .MP4, .MOV, .AVI, .H.264, .WMV and .FLV formats. Playback was super smooth and the program didn’t stumble once.
The way you edit with Sony’s editor is a bit different from with other programs like Premiere or Final Cut Pro, but once you get used to it, you can edit fast. Really fast.
Oh, did I mention that this program is fully featured? You have a plethora of transitions you can choose from. Each transition has a little animation that shows you exactly how the transition will work. By hovering your mouse over the media effects, it shows you how the effect will change your footage when applied. Then you also have a bunch of media generators that generate backgrounds like gradients and solid colours and a bunch of text effects.
The audio editing capabilities of Sony’s Vegas line are amazing. Apart from a ton of standard effects with which you can tweak and edit the audio from your footage, you can even add professional standard VST plugins to the program. This really adds a lot to the program’s capabilities.
I’ll be honest; apart from the track limits, I could not actually find any other real limitations. The only other big differences to the full Vegas Pro version I found, was the ability to work with 4K footage and being able to export EDL’s and other exchange formats. But then, let’s be honest, how many hobbyists do you know that run around, shooting with Red or Sony CineAlta cameras?
When rendering time comes, you again can either go the easy, beginner route and just follow instructions, or you can go advanced and literally change any and every setting you want. You can also set your project to just about any format available. And if you need to properly author DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs, you have a full free-standing program to do that with.
Don’t be fooled by the name. DVD Architect Studio is the DVD authoring program, but is not limited to just DVDs. It also authors Blu-Ray discs.
You have a bunch of standard templates, that suit most genres and all of these can be edited to your liking. You can even start from scratch and use you own assets. You can even use video files for the DVD menu background. Again, if you don’t know how to go about doing any of this, there’s the SHOW ME HOW feature to take you through the process of authoring your DVD or Blu-Ray Disc.
Have a look at the video I edited with this software. It took me less than 1 hour to edit the video, tweak the audio, mess around with transitions and do colour corrections and adding some frilly bits. And then rendering it out blew my mind. This video is 2:30 and is full 1080p. I decided to do a 2-pass render and still this video rendered out in less than two minutes. This means it ran through the whole video once in less than a minute. That’s insanely fast!
Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 really blew me away with the sheer of features and on top of that the amount of full professional plugins, effects and output options that you get right out of the box. The inclusion of DVD Architect Studio is a huge extra and really completes this package. Apart from the features, the package is also robust, with no crashes or glitches and it handled every frame rate and file format I could throw at it. And with such a feature set, this program could have been daunting, were it not for the MAKE MOVIE and SHOW ME HOW features. And then with the blistering render speeds, Vegas won’t leave you unproductive.
With Sony Movie Studio Platinum, you really do not want what happens in Vegas to just stay in Vegas. This you’ll want to share!
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Note – All footage in the video is from various YouTube channels and used under a creative commons license, so please don’t use this for profit. This is merely a demo video showing this software’s abilities. Music by Skrillex and Xilent