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For the love of HD

Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 is easy-to-use video-editing and disc-authoring software for creating professional-looking videos and slideshows--even in HD.

In the age of high definition videos, video recorder, and TV screens, Corel's latest video-editing and -processing app, Corel VideoStudio Pro X3, had better add some HD features to its midlevel tool set aimed at enthusiasts. And it has. VideoStudio Pro X3 adds burning to Blu-ray in addition to the standard DVD format--you can do both with the bonus DVD Movie Factory Pro 2010 app that comes as part of the package.

The app now also sports a darker, sleeker-looking interface. In addition to a simpler menu for easy editing, there's now an advanced edit menu. Some menu items, feature arrangements, and tabs have been tweaked to improve the accessibility of certain tools. A project mode with built-in templates is also making its way into the app for the first time. The fresh ability to transfer the attributes from one video clip to another may not be monumental, but for many people editing videos, that type of instant copying will be instrumental, not to mention will smooth over a frustrating workflow snag.

As with other Corel products, online sharing includes YouTube and Vimeo video upload sites, Facebook, and mobile phones. In the past we've dinged Corel VideoStudio Pro for its slower-than-average processing. Corel now boasts that version X3 of its VideoStudio Pro editor is 2.5 times faster than version X2.

As with other products in Corel's line, Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 presents a straightforward design and useful editing tools that new users can pick up right away. The program isn't as strong as professional apps, which can also cost much more, but there are nice tools above basic levels for editing videos and creating projects in multiple formats, including burning movies and uploading video projects. If you're a midlevel (enthusiast) user who doesn't relish the fuss of pro software's many hidden (and sometimes obscure) filters and features, you should give Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 a trial run.

When it comes down to creating videos and photo slideshows, however, the program is top-notch. It even lets an amateur turn video footage into a finished film--complete with transitions, picture-in-picture, and effects--with a minimal learning curve. You can capture video from the program's interface, import HDV and AVCHD, or import video from a file, a digital camera, or a DV camcorder. The handy interface lets you create an animated title screen, assemble a film by dragging and dropping audio and video fragments, and applying transitions onto the montage line. We like the new paint feature that lets you draw or write freehand on your videos making it easy to add thought balloons or draw your travel route on a map, for example. The new picture-in-picture and montage effects add even more polish to your home video projects.

The video-editing module contains a large library of filters, effects, and tools. You can share your video online, and even burn a VCD or SVCD with the built-in burner. New end-to-end HD support also allows you to import and burn in HDV and AVCHD. Assuming you have enough patience and a great hardware setup, Corel VideoStudio should appeal to home-video enthusiasts.

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