Pinnacle Studio by Corel Inc, a video application previously designed for the iPad, is now available for the iPhone. The application has also been redesigned to match the simplicity and flatness of iOS 7.
Is this significant?
Yes. If you are looking for advanced tools to create and edit video projects, and an alternative solution to iMovie, you will find Pinnacle Studio to be the best option available. There are a plethora of applications for creating quick and easy videos, but very few that give you advanced tools for more extended projects.
What are the features?
If you are using Pinnacle Studio for the first time, you will be impressed with the features and the levels of customization. To begin a new video project, click on the "+" symbol. Upon entering the project view for the first time, Pinnacle Studio will take a few seconds to sync all your media. A tool bar along the top enables you to access different types of content, including videos, photos, music, transitions, titles, and montages.
On the top left, adjacent to the home button, is the icon used for importing video. Initially, videos in your library are presented in tile view until you select one. You are then presented with a single view of your selection, with the option to crop the video length by moving the yellow sliders left and right. Once you have identified your selection, press the arrow button on the right, which will then drop the clip into the storyboard and timeline below.
Adding Photos and Montages
To the right of the video icon is the photo button. From here you can import photos from your camera roll, including any events or albums you have set up. Since cropping is not necessary at this stage, you simply tap on the arrow button below to drop the image to the storyboard and timeline, respectively. As an alternative to single photos, you can add multiple photos to one segment using the montage feature on the far right of the toolbar. Montages are arranged by category, including aerodynamic, extreme, instant photo, multilayer mix, neon, and tribute - all of which correspond to a specific kind of animation and image configuration. To begin, select a montage and drag it to the storyboard. Browse for photos by clicking on the photo icon, and then drag your photo on top of the corresponding storyboard thumbnail. A small menu will appear, requesting that you choose a placeholder within the montage for your photo (e.g. one, two, three, four, etc).
Adding Music and Effects
In addition to videos and photos, you can import music from your iTunes library or effects that come pre-installed inside the application. In the case of most apps that allow for music integration, you have to be careful about importing music from iTunes due to copyright issues. I recommend that you create an album in iTunes of royalty free music, jingles from Garageband, or your own music, so you can have some stock soundtracks to work with when setting up your project. You can also purchase video and audio samples from sites like Pond5. On the other hand, Pinnacle Studio provides a wide range of effects, including animals, background, cartoons, explosions, gunshots, sports, and more. Once you have identified a sound track, double tap on it to drop it to the timeline. Sound files do not appear on the Storyboard layer, but appear just below the main timeline as separate tracks. In addition to the main timeline, you can add three layers of sound (any combination of music, narration, and/or effects).
Adding Titles and Transitions
The toolbar also provides the option to add titles and transitions. Identified by the "T" icon, titles are grouped in two sections: Motion Titles and Standard Titles. The former consists of titles that have motion. For example, titles can fade in, appear one word at a time, or move into view from the left or ride side of the video frame. Standard titles are static. Once you have selected a title, drag the thumbnail onto the storyboard, and a corresponding element will also be added to the timeline. Identified by the "Thunderbolt" icon, transitions are grouped into three categories: Basics, Pushes, and Slides. The first option provides various types of fades, while Pushes and Slides, push and slide content from the left, right, top, or bottom; the latter pushes or slides your content from the corners of the video frame.
Storyboard and Timeline
The project view below is composed of two parts, a storyboard, thumbnail view, and a timeline view. The storyboard consists of square thumbnails, which essentially gives you a snapshot of your media (videos, photos, titles, transitions, etc), and the order in which they are presented. What is great about the storyboard view is the ability to move thumbnails back and forth with your finger, so they can be rearranged - the timeline below is adjusted accordingly. The timeline provides a linear view of your content, enabling you to adjust the length of your clips by moving the sliders along the ends, and/or adjusting the overall view of the timeline by pinching below it with two fingers.
Edits and Adjustments
Once your content has been added to the timeline and/or storyboard, you can edit each element by double tapping on the storyboard thumbnail or the corresponding element in your timeline. Depending on the element (title, video, photo, transition), you will be prompted to make adjustments, including font type and color, cropping photos, adjusting the speed, volume, and fades of audio and video clips, and/or deleting individual elements. In order to properly view animations and transitions, select a transition, motion title, or montage element and press the gear icon in the bottom left of the viewfinder. Pinnacle Studio will render the necessary files so you can get an accurate view of how your clips will appear as they transition from one segment to the next.
Menu options also appear along the bottom of the viewfinder for further refinements. The question mark icon located at the bottom right corner brings up your basic settings menu. This enables you to control the frame rate, default durations for titles, photos, and transitions; clean up files, rebuild libraries, and restore purchases; and access support forums and video tutorials provided by the YouTube channel Luma Touch. The suitcase icon gives you the option of recording audio narrations which are then added below the timeline. From this menu, you can also share your final projects to your camera roll, YouTube, Facebook, Box, or through iTunes File Sharing. The trashcan icon enables you to immediately delete any element selected, and the razor icon allows you to split any audio or video track on the timeline. Simply tap on the razor and then tap on "Video" or the sheet music icon to match the corresponding file type.
Pinnacle Studio provides advanced tools for video editing that far exceed what you can expect to find in other video editing applications. Is it better than iMovie? You will have to determine that for yourself, but both applications enable you to create professional quality videos with levels of customization not found in other apps designed for iOS. Pinnacle Studio for the iPhone is currently $4.99 in the App Store, compared to $12.99 for the iPad version.
Host of My Apple Podcast.