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Movie magic

Looking for quality video results in the classroom? Jack Kenny thinks he has the answer

Pinnacle's video-editing software has something for everybody: Liquid Edition is near-professional, while the cheaper Studio is just a step up from MovieMaker, included with Windows.

Studio is now on version 9 and it looks just the same, but the new features are significant. There's SmartMovie, which lets you cut together scenes, transitions and soundtracks and will even organise video clips to fit a music track.

With SmartMovie you only need to drag the clips you want into the timeline, add music and choose a style like "fast and rhythmical" or "simple and elegant", Studio then takes over, It is not very creative but is a fast way of adding music to a video. You can even create audio for surround-sound in your movies, too. It might be an interesting exercise to let the software do some editing and then ask the students to work with the same material and compare the results.

A word of warning: over-use SmartMovie and your students will learn little, everything will be done for them automatically.

Studio also has a useful new correction feature. For example, you can use it to make sure your video has a consistent colour scheme. If you made a mistake when recording and your video is too dark, you need only call up colour correction to change the settings. You can also correct other errors in recording.

Studio can help to produce good work and the software is simple enough to be used with very little prior instruction.

Liquid Edition 5.5 caters for both experienced consumers and professionals.

The software competes with Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro.

Liquid Edition is closest to Premiere. For new users the lack of drop-down menus is off-putting and, until you learn how to navigate your way around, you will feel as though you are in a foreign land. The layout of the windows is fixed and after a time you realise that this is an advantage. In both Premiere and Avid you can become baffled by a superfluity of open windows.

Liquid Edition now has primary and secondary colour correction facilities.

You can ensure that the output from different cameras is balanced. You can even use the colour effects to isolate one colour and remove all the rest.

The "Dynamic Time Warp" for speeding up and slowing down clips is impressive. Those who work over networks can use networked drives for direct playback and rendering. Rendering is especially fast. To write a DVD you just press a button and off it goes.

This is an impressive program. Buy it and there's no excuse for your pupils not to come up with some first-class work,

Pinnacle

Liquid Edition pound;425

Studio version 9 pound;35

Available from software suppliers

www.pinnaclesys.com

RM includes Liquid Edition with its Innovator Video Editing PC for pound;1,228

Tel: 08709 086969 (Primary) 08709 086868 (Secondary) www.rmplc.co.uk

Studio v9

Fitness for purpose ****

Ease of use ****

Features ****

Quality ****

Value for money ***

Liquid Edition

Fitness for purpose ****

Ease of use **

Features ****

Quality *****

Value for money ***

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