Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the reviews.

Pinnacle Studio 17 is video editing software that offers you a wide array of organizational, editing and disc authoring tools. It’s the latest in a very long line of consumer level video editing applications. As such, we expected to find a program with streamlined workflows, stable execution and an intuitive interface. We found all three in spades.

This application distills the normally complex task of editing video into three steps: organize, edit and author. It also has two separate sections for importing your raw elements and exporting your final video. All of the application’s tools and features are accessible through one of these areas, and for the most part, it’s really easy to find any tool you’re looking for since this software has had 16 previous versions to hone their interface.

Importing your footage, sound clips, images and other media is a fairly simple affair. Pinnacle Studio 17 functions pretty much the same as its previous versions and the majority of its competition in the commercial video editing software space. Simply hook up your camera or other device up to your computer while Pinnacle Studio is running and select the files and folders you want – it’s that quick and easy.

One of the features that stands out in this version of Pinnacle Studio is what it call “Watchfolders.” These are folders on your hard drive that Pinnacle Studio monitors and whenever you place files in them, the application will automatically import them into your media library. This may seem like a small thing, but it can save you a great deal of time because you can skip manually importing your elements from a variety of devices and folders.

As with all video editing software, the main editing tool in Pinnacle Studio 17 is the timeline. Pinnacle Studio’s timeline is much like its competitors. It does, however, have a few tweaks that make it stand out. The most useful is how easily you can adjust the timeline settings. Other applications bury these settings deep in some other menu. Pinnacle Studio also allows you to use timeline and storyboard mode at the same time. Normally you’d see that you must use one at a time or only have one mode available. This application also allows you to build customized toolbars and create tabbed media bins that enable you to create your own unique workflow that fits your needs precisely.

Pinnacle Studio only offers six tracks for editing on its timeline. This is enough to get things done. But if you have a very complex project, you need more flexibility than six tracks offer. Some of Pinnacle’s competition offers dozens, hundreds or even unlimited tracks, so it’s a little puzzling that they would limit their application to only six.

The number of transitions, effects and other enhancement tools that come preloaded in Pinnacle Studio is astounding. There are more than 1,500 effects, transitions and other items that you can use to enhance your video project. This is more than any other commercial level video editing application that we reviewed.

When you’ve finished editing your video, Pinnacle Studio offers a few export options as well as some disc authoring features. Under the export tab is where you can create a new video file on your computer or upload your video directly to sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. You can also create files that are specifically tailored for playback on specific devices like smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

The disc authoring features are as good or better than those found on the best video editing software that we reviewed. Pinnacle Studio offers dozens of different menu options. It also allows you to create chapters, scene selection menus, extra features and all of other bells and whistles you’re used to finding on commercial DVDs.

Pinnacle Studio Summary:

In our review of the best video editing software, Pinnacle Studio 17 stands out because it delivers on the basic promise of simplicity and usability for beginners without sacrificing the power and precision demanded by veteran users. It is a solid choice and more than worthy of a spot on our side-by-side comparison chart of the best video editing software available on the market today.


Pinnacle Studio 17

It comes with more than 1,800 effects, titles, templates and transitions.

It lacks the ability to author Blu-ray discs.

The Verdict:

This is powerful, highly customizable software that will satisfy more advanced users.