Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate Review



Review: Pinnacle Studio Ultimate
: 12
Reviewer: harley2ride (Rob)
Provided By: Pinnacle™

Pinnacle was kind enough to send us their latest video editing software: Pinnacle Studio Ultimate version 12.

Pinnacle Studio™ Ultimate version 12 lets you take advantage of the latest HD video editing technologies, including Blu-ray and AVCHD. All new Pinnacle Montage theme based editing – designed by professional producers and artists – puts incredible creative power at your fingertips. Simply drag and drop your video clips and still images to preview your movie – and watch your content come alive, complete with Hollywood style multi-layered effects, animated graphics, titles and Hi-Fi audio. Edit and polish to your heart’s content with the sleek new video editing interface. When you are finished, archive your video memories, publish them on YouTube™, or enjoy them on DVDs and portable devices. Pinnacle Studio™ Ultimate version 12 includes professional software tools for titling, color correction, lighting and special effects, plus a green screen backdrop.

There are numerous video editing applications on the market.  Video applications can be quirky, in that they can easily have driver conflicts, problems with hardware, and codec conflicts.  So it is nice when you can find software that works with everything that you have. Some of us have multiple video applications on our PC’s, so it is great, when they play nice together.  Upon our initial review, this package is a very complete and capable video editing suite, with many excellent add-on’s and features, which we will expand on as we go.

Program Features:

  • Pro video tools. Pinnacle Studio™ Ultimate Version 12 includes professional caliber tools for complete control of your productions.
  • Boris Graffiti – title & graphic animation. The most innovative titling tools in the industry are now at your fingertips. Easily craft sophisticated title animations including type on text, text on a path, jitter and randomization. Create 3D text with bump maps and reflections. An expansive Style Palette and the Boris Library Browser provide fast access to hundreds of preset effects and styles.
  • Magic Bullet Looks – Pro film style. Whatever the location, the look of your footage sets the mood. Now you can define the style of your video or film, regardless of on-set conditions, with powerful imaging tools. Choose from more than a hundred Look presets, all neatly organized into 10 categories, to help set the mood for everything from a wedding to a film festival winner. The first consumer authoring software to offer Blu-Ray Disc support. Back up your data to 25/50GB discs, or capture from HDV or DV camcorder and burn directly to Blu-ray in full high-definition.
  • proDAD VitaScene – lighting, glows & more. Now you can achieve sophisticated effects and transitions that contribute greatly to the style and mood of your project: light rays, color matching, artistic film styles, and much more. Now it’s easy to add those subtle details that give you professional looking results.
  • Complete HD Workflow, Your Story — Now in Dazzling HD. Pinnacle Studio Plus works natively with HDV and AVCHD footage. Native HD support means you’ll get the same pristine quality from your original source all the way to final output – without transcoding and in real-time. You can even combine projects that mix standard and high definition video and photos for a final result in full HD resolution.
  • Built-in HD Disc Burning. Burn your Hollywood-style movies on DVD and HD DVD format discs on standard DVD media. Natively author Blu-ray format discs with full motion menus. Or make AVCHD format discs on standard DVDs to play on Blu-ray players.
  • Pinnacle Montage: Watch your memories come alive. Enjoy multi-track power without the complexity. Thanks to fantastic pre-built templates designed by professional producers and artists, Pinnacle Montage automatically generates all the necessary titles, effects and animations.
  • Create multi-layer effects. Access to Picture-in-Picture, Chroma Key or A/B editing with two video tracks at the tip of your fingers.
  • Mix your media together. Use all your media – photos, video, and music – to create a Hollywood-style movie. 11 themes with +80 templates including Video Wall, Album, Seasons and more
  • It’s all in the Timeline. With its sleek, scalable interface, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Version 12 represents a stunning leap forward in workflow refinement and ease of use. Directly import your digital videos, photos and audio from a wide range of devices including DV, HDV and AVCHD camcorders, and digital still cameras. Automatic scene detection and clip creation gets your project off to a great start. You’ll be editing your movie, fast!
  • Optimized for performance. Unleash the power of your computer. This means a faster, smoother experience while you work and in your final output.
  • Real-time multi-track editing. Create advanced effects like Chroma Key, graphics overlay and Picture-in-Picture (PIP).
  • Key frame-able 2D/3D motion graphics. Pick from hundreds of effects and transitions, and preview them in full quality, even in HD. If you ever need even more creative variety, add to your effects library with just a few simple clicks.
  • Scorefitter® music generator. Automatically generate a rich soundtrack to match the length of your movie; now with 40+ source tracks that feature more choice, higher fidelity and increased accuracy.
  • Web publishing simplified. What fun is capturing your memories if you don’t share them? In just One-Click share your movies with the world on popular web sites like YouTube and Yahoo! Video
  • Refined audio editing. New digital controls and monitors to add a dimension in sound to your movie.
  • Clean up and rejuvenate. Improve audio tracks, clean up video, enhance color, remove noise, and fix poor lighting to restore old, damaged footage – automatically.
  • Even more ways to share. Output movies to Sony® PSP™, Apple® iPod®, DivX® certified players and even 3GP mobile phones. Export to Flash video too.
  • Scalable user interface. Keeps tools at your fingertips. Adjustable windows are perfect for widescreen monitors.


To learn more, visit

System Requirements and Format Support:

Minimum System Requirements:

  • Windows® XP SP2 (SP3), Windows Vista™ (SP1), Intel® Pentium® or AMD Athlon™ 1.8 GHz (2.4 GHz or higher recommended)
  • Intel Pentium HT or AMD Athlon 2.4 GHz or 1.6 GHz Dual core required for Windows Vista
  • Intel® Core™2 Duo 2.4 GHz or higher required for 1440×1080 AVCHD editing.
  • Intel® Core™2 Quad 2.66 GHz or higher required for 1920×1080 AVCHD editing
  • 1 GB system memory recommended
  • 2 GB required for AVCHD*, recommended for HD and/or Windows Vista
  • DirectX® 9 or 10 compatible graphics card with 64 MB (128 MB or higher recommended), 128 MB required for Plug-ins (for Magic Bullet Looks: Pixelshader 2 required, Intel GMA integrated graphics not supported; for VitaScene with HD: 512MB recommended) – 128 MB required on Windows Vista (256 MB or higher recommended) – 256 MB required for HD and AVCHD*
  • DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card
  • 3 GB of disk space
  • DVD-ROM drive to install software



  • CD burner for creating VideCDs or Super VideCDs (S-VCDs)
  • DVD burner for creating DVD, HD-DVD and AVCHD discs on standard media*
  • Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray discs*
  • Sound card with surround sound output required for preview of surround sound mixes*


Capture Options


  • Capture from DV, HDV and Digital8 camcorders or VCRs (requires a FireWire® port)
  • Capture from analog camcorders, 8 mm, HI 8, VHS, SVHS, VHS-C, SVHS-C, or VCR (NTSC/PAL/SECAM). Requires DirectShow® compatible graphic board or TV tuner board with analog (Composite or S-Vide) inputs
  • Import from AVCHD* camcorders (requires USB 2.0 and a UDF driver) Intel® Pentium® III 800 MHz, AMD Athlon™ XP 1800+ 


Output Options


  • Output to DV, HDV or Digital8 tape (requires camcorder with FireWire Input port and a PC with a DV/FireWire port)
  • Output to analog videotape (requires DirectShow compatible videdevice or videcard with TV-output)
  • Output to Apple® iPod® and Sony® PSP™ formats*


Import Formats


  • Video: AVCHD*, DV, HDV, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX®*, MPEG-4*, 3GP(MPEG-4)*, WMV, Non-encrypted DVD titles*
  • Audio: MP3, MPA, WAV, AC3*
  • Graphic: BMP, GIF, JPG, PCX, PSD, TGA, TIF, WMF


Export Formats


  • VideCD (VCD) or S-VCD with optional CD burner (CD-R or CD-RW)
  • AVCHD*, Blu-ray BD*, HD-DVD*, DVD* disc with optional disc burner (incl. dual layer)
  • Apple iPod and Sony PSP compatible (MPEG-4) formats* DV, HDV, AVI, DivX*, RealVide® 8, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4*, Flash, 3GP*, WAV, MP3* files
  • Dolby® Digital 2 channel* and 5.1 channel audi*


* Requires free product activation via Internet at the first use

Test Machine:

For this review we will be using computers with the following configurations:

Test Machine #1:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33ghz
  • RAM: 4 x 1 GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 PC2-6400
  • Motherboard: Dell P35/G33/G31
  • Graphic Card: eVGA e-Geforce 8800GT 512MB
  • Sound: Realtek High Definition Audio
  • Hard Disk: 1x 150GB SATA Western Digital 10,000rpm Raptor, 1x 320GB SATA Samsung
  • Optical Drives: HL-DT-ST DVDRWBD GBC-H20N, SAMSUNG SH-S203N

Test Machine #2:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz @3.40 GHz
  • Motherboard: ASUS P5W DH Deluxe WI-FI/AP (BIOS 1503)
  • RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 PC2-6400
  • Graphic Card: ATI RADEON X850XT Platinum Edition
  • Sound: Realtek ALC882 High Definition (onboard)
  • Hard disks: 160GB Seagate SATA-II, 300GB Seagate SATA-II, 300GB Maxtor SATA.
  • Optical Drives: LG GBW-H10N Blu-ray, Panasonic SW-5582 Blu-ray, Plextor PX-760SA, BenQ DW1655

Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 is installed on Test Machine #1, and XP Professional with Service Pack 2 is installed on Test Machine #2.

Let’s head to the next page where we will run through the main functions of the software.