There are a variety of effective and creative approaches to video and movie production. Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus is set up in a way that supports creative, effectively organized and versatile storytelling. So if you're relatively new to video production, don't make it up as you go.
MAGIX provides an excellent selection of Storyboard templates to help you get started (they're all fully editable), and every good video or movie (no matter how short or how long) begins with a Storyboard template. If storyboarding is the creative foundation for every successful movie maker and TV show maker who ever lived, then it's certainly good enough for you. The other important fact related to storyboarding is that video and movie production techniques and editing make use of an uncommon vocabulary - words for specific actions, functions, tools and techniques which are not found in common conversation or day-to-day life. If you're unfamiliar with video and movie editing & production, simply poking around in the Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus menus (or the menus in any other video editing software) will no doubt leave you confused. So the use of a storyboard will immediately get you past most of the jargon in a way that, when you encounter it later, will allow you to look something up in the Help system while remaining in control of what you're creating. That's extremely important.
Every video or movie is a story of some sort. It may only be your neighbor's pratfall on his driveway after spilling motor oil all over the place, but it's still a story. The slip & fall you caught on your smartphone's video camera was funny (after all, the man didn't get hurt), but the property standards inspector, environmental assessment team and the police who showed up shortly thereafter because another neighbor phoned in a legitimate panic about motor oil sluicing into the nearest sewer grate, just makes you wonder about how shortsighted a lot of pratfall videos on YouTube really are. There's is often more to a story than initially meets the eye. A storyboard is essentially a series of placeholders that have been labeled to indicate what sort of content should go into each one. Introduction, titles, video clips, background music, narration and so on to the closing credits and fade to black. I'm not going to get into the creative movie making process here - that's a book-length effort. Suffice it to say that starting out any tiny, small, medium or large size video project with a storyboard template - before you've even shot your first video clip for the project - is a very good idea. Once again, the pros do it so you should do it too. And I hope you thought to hang around in order to catch the neighbor's girlfriend or wife or kids running out from the house to help him, the dog barking at all the commotion, the HazMat team showing up to scrub the mess off the street, etc., etc.
I tried a number of templates in Storyboard view to layout the videos I wanted to create while doing this review. I usually always create a storyboard no matter what video editing software I'm using. For this review, before I started shooting I modified a few of the excellent templates that can be downloaded from MAGIX (and which are supplied in the boxed version of the software).
One way or another, a storyboard helps me clarify the general organization of the story I want to tell; to figure out what it is I want to accomplish. Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus includes a broad variety of professionally designed storyboard templates which can be useful when you're getting started. If you think that this storyboard thing is an extra step, you're mistaken. The reason is mainly that every good video or movie usually contains a surprising number of separate elements - video clips, sound, music, voice-over narration, effects, transitions from scene-to-scene/clip-to-clip, an introduction (intro), titles, and an exit/outro. Keeping all of that in your head usually means a lot of correction and reorganization afterward because it's just very difficult to organize even a short little 30 second video solely by memory. Frankly, the frustration many people feel when they sit down to edit home movie clips or when they're trying to edit a bunch of vacation clips into a travelogue to eventually show to the rest of the family, is largely a result of not storyboarding and not preparing in advance all of the elements required by a storyboard. Do it - make a storyboard for every video project - and you'll actually start to enjoy video editing. You'll also spend much less time and effort while getting vastly better results. Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus storyboard templates help make it easy.
Once everything you have to create or find yourself is assembled in the Media Pool - literally, an import/storage location on an internal or external drive that Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus accesses to find different clips, audio and music you intend to use for a particular project - drag & drop each item onto an appropriate tile on the storyboard and you instantly have a movie - or at least a rough cut. The next most interesting parts are done in Scene Mode where you can change the order of different clips, trim clips and audio, adjust background music, add some narration if you like, change transitions, add transitions, insert stills, perform color correction to help make certain things in each scene look consistent, edit the default title text included in the storyboard, and on and on. Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus is a video effects and editing powerhouse. The degree of control you have over individual clips, effects, transitions, 2D and 3D, audio and music is impressive and generally easy to use.
If much of this Use section in this review reads more like a tutorial, it's mainly because I wanted to describe how easy it is to make a movie these days using well-developed software like Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus.
At $99.95 you can't go wrong. MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus is a mature program, and the collective intelligence gathered through years and years of development shows in every aspect of the user interface, well ordered functionality and efficient use of computer CPU and graphics card horsepower. More important, video editing and program performance are reliable and fast, something which reduces the amount of time needed to get creative work done. The main product competition is from Adobe Premier Elements 10 and Pinnacle Studio HD 15. We rate Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus an excellent value.
Cons: I'm a Timeline-oriented editor by preference (I like to click & drag fades, click & drag to reposition, drag & drop within a scene, etc.), so now that Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus by default combines audio and video on one track, I have to click to separate them. It's not hard to do - it only takes a few seconds - but I'd prefer that audio and video were separated during import. MAGIX supplies a few plug-ins, but we want more. MAGIX supplies 18 storyboard templates - all of them excellent - but that's not enough. We'd like to see twice that many in the package or available for free download for online customers. As far as we're concerned, storyboard templates are the very best thing to help new users of the software and to help new or even intermediate-level videographers get deeply into creative, efficient, effective editing and production. More storyboard templates please!
Other than secondary color matching (which works well) there's no color matching function in Multicam Mode. Basically, multicam mode is used to import footage of the same scene shot froma different angle by two or more cameras. Admittedly, color matching is a fully professional television and cinematic movie making production editing function in which RGB differences between different footage are matched to a master color palette established for the series, documentary, episode, movie, commercial, promotion or what-have-you. If you're going to use Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus for multicam productions of any kind (including your kid's high-school football game), you should use two or more identical cameras set to the exact same color space in the cameras' configuration menus and outputting files in the exact same format at the exact same compression in order to ensure that color is close enough from camera to camera that further matching for your non-pro production essentially becomes unimportant.
HD footage previews are played at low resolution. I think a better solution is for the software to poll available hardware and RAM resources and if sufficient resources are found to then run HD footage previews at full resolution.
Pros: The better and faster your video card, the better and faster Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus will work, because the software is optimized for use with the amazing CPU power offered by current graphics cards. The software is positively speedy on 64-bit systems too. Multicam functionality is excellent, and keys on the audio track for easy editing. Production rendering is competitively fast. Secondary color correction works well, and even though it's not full blown color matching, you can still adjust color washes in shots made with one camera (e.g., sky, walls, pavement, flooring, lawns, etc., etc.) to shots made at a different angle with a different camera. Using secondary color correction you can also create some compelling effects on single camera footage (e.g., emphasizing a specific color so that a particular object stands out.
If you follow good practices in the first place (planning, storyboarding, organizing - even for very short videos), then editing and genuinely creative work in Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus will be a pleasure. Output files are clean, and there's a specific production mode for videos destined for YouTube which basically means your production will be optimized to look as good as it can - very important considering the terrible quality of almost everything posted to YouTube. Final productions look great. Basically, with or without a template you can easily import or capture any good quality footage from one or several cameras, import music (or transfer it directly from MAGIX Samplitude or Music Maker), edit everything, title everything, transition however you want from scene to scene, score the entire video, narrate portions of it (or all of it), adjust colors, add and modify or change effects, then produce the whole thing for a large number of different purposes including Blu-ray Disc, DVD, email embedding, YouTube and so on. MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 2013 Plus works well, and if you take the time to initially use storyboard templates and also watch the tutorial videos you'll be producing wonderful videos of your own in no time. It's a creative and complete video editing studio and we enjoyed doing the review. Highly recommended.