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Review: Serif MoviePlus X6

Awesome Windows based video editing suite.

To be honest, most people who are seriously into video editing would buy a Mac.  It’s that simple.

Mac’s have always been the machine of choice for the professional, and most amateur or home users with a keen interest in video editing would vote Mac too.

But if you’ve already got a Windows PC and you want a decent video editing suite, what then?

Serif’s answer is MoviePlus X6.

It’s not free, but it’s not that expensive either, buy from Serif’s website and you can expect to pay just over 60 quid.  But you do get quite a bit for your money:

Features:

  • Import and edit movies from anywhere
  • Easy drag-and-drop editing mode for beginners
  • Unlimited-track Timeline mode for advanced editing
  • Over 200 stunning effects and transitions
  • Export video for iPod®, iPad®, Facebook®, YouTube and more
  • Burn HD videos to Blu-ray Disc or DVD, straight from MoviePlus X6 – no other software required

Using it:

We’ve been playing around with MoviePlus for the last couple of weeks, and we’ve barely even scratched the surface of what’s possible.  That being said, you don’t need to be a seasoned video editor to use it either, we managed to bumble our way through it quite easily thanks to the wealth of information and instructional videos found on Serif’s website.

There are two main ways to use MoviePlus, Timeline and Storyboard.

Timeline allows you to map out your project according to a set timescale at the top of the timeline.  You can change the scale to gain better accuracy, or see more of your project, but the basic concept is that time rolls on and you can see every element of your project as it plays out.

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We found Timeline fantastic for getting better accuracy and for being able to edit the way the tracks work together more accurately.  For instance, you might want to introduce music at a certain point.  Timeline lets you pick the exact point that your music will start and stop, rather than tieing it to the start of a piece of video.

Storyboard is a lot more basic, but also a lot easier to use.  Rather than show every element against a set timescale, Storyboard allows you to see each object as its own entity.  Looking at the project this way is great if your working with multiple video and audio tracks as it lets you see exactly how your project is organised.

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Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, the good news is that there’s nothing to stop you switching between the two at any time.  By doing this you get the simplicity of the Storyboard view while also maintaining the accuracy of Timeline mode.  Our recommendation is to start out in Storyboard mode and then do your final editing in the Timeline.

Review: Serif MoviePlus X6

File Support.

Serif claim that MoviePlus X6 supports “all common video file formats from camcorders, pocket cams, digital cameras, mobile phones and many other devices”.  We shoved a fair few different types of video into it; from MP4 files, to DV video, 3GP video files and a couple of other obscure ones.  All of them were picked up and readable by the program.  We also threw in a few different audio files; MP3, WMA, WAV, all were recognised perfectly and we were able to use them in our projects.

MoviePlus also outputs to a multitude of different filetypes, including:

  • MP4
  • MPEG
  • Quicktime (.mov)
  • Windows Media Video (.wmv)

Not only that, but it’ll output directly for a multitude of different uses, just by clicking “Export” under the “File” menu:

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Yep, you can output your project straight to YouTube or Facebook – just supply MoviePlus with your login details and your finished project will be uploaded without any further interaction from you.

Sample Project.

It would take us way to long to properly write about all of the features of MoviePlus X6.  And pictures may paint a thousand words but it still wouldn’t give you much of an idea of what can be done.  So, we put together a video to show you how simple, or complicated, a video project can be.

In this first video, we’ve taken some holiday snaps and thrown them into the Storyboard view.  We’ve then added transitions, a soundtrack, some zooming/panning on the photos and edited the timescales of all frames so that the overall length of the video matches the soundtrack.

With a few clicks we were up and running, and it was easy enough to set a default slide transition, timings and overlay some music at the same time.  You really can create a project in a few minutes.

System Requirements:

  • Windows-based PC with DVD drive and mouse
  • Microsoft Windows® 7, Vista or XP (32 bit) operating system
  • 1GB RAM
  • 0.96GB free hard drive space*
  • 1024 x 768 monitor resolution (1280×1024)
  • An Internet account and connection (for online resources & sharing)

* Additional disk resources are required when exporting projects.

FOR USE WITH NON-HD VIDEO AND HD VIDEO (PROXY SUPPORT):
  • Intel® Pentium® 4 Hyper-Threaded processor or AMD Athlon™ XP processor
FOR USE WITH HD VIDEO (OPTIONAL PROXY SUPPORT):
  • Intel® Pentium® 4 Hyper-Threaded processor or any Dual-core processor
  • Fast hard disk (7200rpm drive)
FOR USE WITH FULL HD VIDEO (NATIVE AVCHD 1080):
  • Quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
INPUT DEVICE SUPPORT
  • FireWire® (IEEE1394) support for connecting tape-based camcorders
  • USB support for file-based camcorders
  • Video capture card for digitizing and editing analogue video clips
OUTPUT DEVICE SUPPORT (FOR DISC CREATION)
  • CD-R Writer (for VCD)
  • DVD±R (for DVD and AVCHD)
  • Blu-ray Disc Writer
OPTIONAL
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (for HDV video capture)

Conclusions.

We had a great time playing around with MoviePlus X6.  It’s a fantastic tool for any Windows user who wants to get into video editing.

Yes, there are free video editing suites available for Windows 7, but they don’t have the same level of features that Serif’s offering does.  Nor are they as stable or feature rich (we’re looking at you, Windows Live Movie Maker).

The inclusion of two different layouts, the Timeline and the Storyboard, means that you can make incredibly fine and accurate adjustments, or apply group changes to a bunch of video components at the touch of a button.

You could so far as to say that the suite is TOO feature rich; at times you may find yourself wondering how exactly to go about certain actions or which way is best to achieve something.  Thankfully Serif have provided an excellent online knowledge base which will offer answers to the vast majority of questions (it certainly answered ours).

What’s more, with integration into some of the biggest social networks, such as YouTube and Facebook, it makes getting your created videos onto the net incredibly easy.

We love it, and we’d suggest it to anyone who was looking at getting to grips with video editing on a Windows PC.

Author

Matt

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