Trying Again To Be Cool With VideoStudio

Bruce Von Stiers

Several months ago I evaluated Ulead's Video Studio 3.0. I gave the product a pretty good review. Now there is version 4.0 of VideoStudio out on the market. I thought that it would be a good idea to see what new and unusual things have been added to the product.

For those of you who don't know what it does, Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 is a complete video capturing and editing program.

Some of the new features that are in 4.0 include complete DV editing and Native MPEG-2 editing. With the DV feature, you can now capture, edit and maintain a Digital Video format for better full, frame video output. The MPEG-2 feature lets you accomplish DVD quality file output with minimal effort and immense disk drive space savings.

Another new feature is the Device Control. This feature lets you control the functions of your Dv or D8 camcorder from within the VideoStudio program. For those of you who like to add titles and credits to your videos, VideoStudio 4.0 has a great new feature. You now have unlimited scrolling titles and credits.

As MP3 is such a hot medium, Ulead Systems decided to take advantage of it. You can now add MP3 audio files to your video.

Some of the holdover features from version 3.0 include Storyboard/Timeline views and a huge selection of transitions. A Storyboard helps give a visual representation of your video. The Timeline gives an accurate time setting for the video.

Transitions are the special effects that occur between video frames. A Dissolve transition will have a frame slowly dissolve from the screen into another one. A Barn Door transition will have the picture on the screen fold open like barn doors and disappear leaving a new video frame in it's place. There are two major parts of the VideoStudio program. The first part is the Video Wizard. This is a digital editing program that takes the work away from you and streamlines it for a quick, easy way to make movies. The second part is the Ulead VideoStudio, which is the workhorse of the program. Here you will go step by step to create an extraordinary video file.

Using the Video Wizard does all of the work for you. Give your project a name and then move on to the next step, Get Video. With this step, Video Wizard grabs video from a source device and places it in the Preview window. Adding more clips is easy.

The Video Wizard then arranges the clips any way that you want. Add special effects (transitions) between clips. You can also trim the length of a clip using the Trim Video feature. You can add an audio file (think MP3) and put a title or opening credits on the movie. From there, click on the Create button and Video Wizard puts everything together in a video file for you. The last step is to play the video to see how it came out.

The main part, Video Studio, has a lot of buttons to push and things to drag and drop. The main screen puts together the various areas of the program put into a user-friendly interface. There is an Options panel that has all of the buttons and controls for the video clips. This area lets you determine the length of each clip. There is the Preview window and the Library window. In the Preview window you see what you've accomplished before the final output. The Library window contains all of the clips you're using for your movie. Beneath the Preview window are VCR type buttons to view the video. There is a Trim bar to slim down a clip.

At the bottom of the interface are the visual timeline tracks. There are four different tracks in the timeline. The top track is for adding either a video clip or an image. The second track is for adding text to a video frame. The third and fourth tracks are for adding sound to the movie.

When it's all done you've created a really cool video file that you can send to other people. The file can be saved in several formats including avi, mov and rm. You can add the video to a Web page or put together an electronic greeting card. The video can also be exported into an e-mail message.

A question that I posed in my review of VideoStudio 3.0 was about its ease of use. I told of long compiling time because of my Pentium 200 without MMX. Well, this time out I was using a Pentium III 550, so I didn't have any compile timing problem. As a matter of fact, the video compiled so fast that I thought the program messed up. But it was okay and I ended up with a nice little video of sights and sounds from one of my favorite games, Boss Rally. VideoStudio 4.0 is very easy to use and fun to play with.

Keep in mind that this is not a professional level program like Adobe's Premiere so don't expect something that'll run on MTV. But then again, with what's on music videos these days, you might have an instant hit.

The system requirements have been upped a little bit with this new version. They are as follows: Pentium II 266. Windows 95, 98, NT 4 or Windows 2000. 32 MB of RAM and 80 MB of free hard drive space. A CD-ROM drive is needed along with a pointing device such as a mouse.

If you are going to be using the DV features, a Pentium II 300 is needed. You'll also need an IEEE-1394 card and a DV camcorder. Your hard drive will have to be fast enough to accommodate a 3.6 MB per second transfer rate.

If you want a program that lets you put together videos in just minutes, Ulead Video Studio is great. It's fast, user friendly and inexpensive.

You can pick up a copy of Ulead Video Studio at your local retailer for about $ 90. If you have version 3.0, the upgrade is only $ 49.99. If you want to know more about the product, visit the Ulead Systems web site. The Ulead Systems site can be found at


Copyright © 2000 Bruce E. Von Stiers