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Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum review

Verdict

Redesigned for touchscreens with mixed results, but elegant 4K support is typical of Movie Studio's streamlined proficiency

Review Date: 23 Jan 2014

Reviewed By: Ben Pitt

Price when reviewed: £50 (£60 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

The success of tablets has had a dramatic effect on PCs, and consumer software developers need to adapt if they are to survive. That's the thinking behind this update to Movie Studio. It's still recognisably the same software as before, but its buttons and tabs are bigger, making them easier to prod on Windows 8 touchscreen devices.

Sony has also taken the opportunity to redesign the layout of buttons. They're now grouped more logically, with general housekeeping at the top, editing functions at the bottom, and transport controls below the preview panel. It makes sense, but the upshot of bigger buttons distributed across the three areas is less space for the timeline and preview panel. Video-editing software invariably demands a high-resolution monitor, and that's especially true here.

We're disappointed that the dedicated button for accessing ripple-editing options has disappeared. Movie Studio Platinum handles ripple editing better than any other consumer editor, with precise control over how edits affect the timing of other clips on the timeline. An Auto Ripple option is now available via the Config button, but full access to the three modes is tucked away in the Options menu. The default setting caused events on different tracks to become unsynchronised.

Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum

The move to touchscreen support also means the various handles that appear on clips in the timeline are no longer available simultaneously. As before, clicking and dragging the end of a clip trims its start or endpoint. The target area is bigger than it used to be, and we often accidentally trimmed a clip when we intended to move it. Fading a clip in or out used to be a simple matter of dragging the top-left or top-right corner, but this would be too fiddly for touchscreen control. Instead, there's a dedicated Fade tool that must be selected first. This is a step backwards for existing users with no plans to switch to touchscreen control.

Version 13 introduces a Simple Edit mode, which hides various features to help new users find the ones they need. The omitted features are well chosen, and much can be achieved without needing to switch to Advanced Edit mode. Speech bubble annotations give a quick overview of what does what, and the excellent Show Me How tutorials guide new users through the basics.

Project setup could be friendlier, though. As before, there's a dialog box that presents various formats, but it's overly complex, and still omits commonly used specifications such as 1080-25p and 1080-50p. In fact, you may as well pick a preset at random, since the software automatically reconfigures the project to match the source footage on first import.

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User comments

Seems like it's pulling in contradictory directions. Who in their right mind would want to edit 4k video on a touch-screen tablet? Jack of all trades is master of none, so split it into two versions, one that's touch-friendly and one that's powerful.

By nelviticus on 23 Jan 2014

Could bigger buttons be an attempt to play nicely on ultra high DPI monitors? That would make more sense than editing 4K video on a tablet.

By aa111 on 23 Jan 2014

I hope that Vegas Pro 13 will be more flexible in terms of toolbar customization (i like small buttons!)

By _ATV_ on 24 Jan 2014

@nelviticus

Surface Pro 2 owners beg to differ

By rhythm on 27 Jan 2014

Install problem

Just downloaded their latest demo version (moviestudiope13.0.879_64-bit) but it will install on Windows 8.1.

I just get error 2203. No details and impossible to reach support without a registered software...

Anybody knows what this error means ?

By mpoirier on 31 Jan 2014

Fails to install on Win 8.1 NO SUPPORT

Bought the upgrade, downloaded it.
Not only does it lie and say it is installed, SONY has NO SUPPORT!!!
I will have to cancel my credit card purchase sine SONY has not even addressed the many complaints from avid SONY users.
I will never buy SONY products again. They use to be a reputable company.

By SilverTRader on 23 Mar 2014

DO NOT BUY!

Sony,
recently your home studio platinum 13 software has changed it behavior. It was extremly slow, yet acceptable, but now it is super duper extremely super slow. Attempting to render 2 track of the same format into a new track of the same format, combining them with a cookie cutter effect. Rending a 4 minute video was impossible, as wait time increased at about twice the rate of time elapsed, ie after 4 hours of rending, wait time had grown to 9 hours for my 4 minutes of video. The longer it rendered the greater the wait time. I tried to reduce the work by selecting only 15 seconds to render, but 5 hours the job was not complete and wait time was still greater than time elapsed. Reinstalling software did not help, or setting process priorites to high or shutting down virus and port protections. task manager showed the CPU at about 1% and would occasioanly jump to 25% for a second or two, but the program appears to not be doing any work during my render attempts. It is faster to render jpeg or png image sequences and then tranform the image sequence into a mpeg.

By AngryGuy on 25 Jun 2014

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