Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum review

23 Jan 2014

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

Price when reviewed 
60
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £50
Price inc VAT £60
Overall rating 5
Ease of Use rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Software subcategory Video editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? no
Operating system Windows XP supported? no
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no
Other operating system support Windows 8