Pinnacle's premium video suites offer pro-level editing and production tools. Pinnacle VideoSpin is a free video suite that offers similar capabilities but in a simpler package. It's specifically designed to make it easy enough for beginners to create high-quality videos and slideshows to save, burn to disk, or post online.
VideoSpin lacks Pinnacle Studio's SmartMovie feature, DVD burner, and advanced audio tools. You can open your VideoSpin projects in Pinnacle Studio, but not vice versa, and once something's been opened in Studio, it won't open anymore in VideoSpin. You must register to download VideoSpin, but registration includes 30 days of free support. VideoSpin is free, but some of the optional codecs it uses aren't; they're free to use for 15 days, should you decide to install them.
VideoSpin's simplified user interface includes the usual preview player and multitrack timeline with a basic control and file-browsing section. The layout has two tabs, Edit and Make Movie. We started by opening a movie we'd taped in VHS and converted to MPEGs. VideoSpin extracted the scenes and displayed them in a view that we could configure to show scene previews with or without duration and other data and in several layouts. VideoSpin isn't the fastest video editor we've encountered, but it's thorough and also easy to use. We simply dragged and dropped scenes onto the timeline. We could add text overlays, music, and audio with various built-in utilities like the Text Editor. This offered not only a wide range of Standard fonts but also a Custom option and a Favorites tab. We could import video from any compatible device or drive in our system with the Import Media tool, add a variety of sound and video effects, insert photos, and make movies with the help of an easy-to-use Make Movie wizard.
VideoSpin produced good results with compatible files such as AVI and MPG. It's easy to use but a little slow, and some important stuff is left out of the freeware, such as Flash and DivX compatibility. Whether extra codecs are worth buying to handle such files depends on how VideoSpin suits your needs.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Pinnacle Video Spin 126.96.36.1992.