Pinnacle Studio

The history of Studio timeline-based editors goes back to 1998, when the ingenious Studio400 was released. The way this system worked is described in brief detail on the Video Editing page.

Although the interface looks very basic and ‘clunky’ compared with the ones we know today, its functional layout has changed little. There was the Album, which contains scenes from the captured footage, and where you could select transitions, titles, sound effects, images, and music. The Preview Player showed scenes from the album, transition previews, and played back from the Movie Window. The Movie Window was where you assembled and edited the movie, either in story-board or timeline modes. The three stages of video production - Capture, Edit, and Make Movie, were selected by means of tabs at the top of the screen, each one having its own interface.

The intuitive user interface, and ease of use, is what endeared me to this program from day one, and is the reason why I have stayed with the product line as my main editor ever since.

The Album

The Preview


The Movie Window

(Timeline shown)

The Studio400 User Interface (1998)

Over the years there have been many new releases of Studio, almost on an annual basis. Behind the scenes there have been many advances, like the means to author DVDs, the inclusion of external plug-Ins, the addition of a second A/V track, and the introduction of HD capability. The basic layout of the interface, however, has remained virtually unchanged. The Album is still there, but has additional pages to accommodate extras like DVD menus and access to plug-Ins. The Preview Player now has the ability to be scaled (if you have a monitor at least 1440 pixels width), viewed full-screen, or displayed on a second monitor, and the Movie Window now has a second A/V timeline track.

In 2005, Pinnacle Systems became a division of Avid Inc. who continued to release new versions of Pinnacle Studio up to version 15.

A recent version of classic Studio - Studio14 (2009)

In 2010 Avid released a version of its own which it called Avid Studio 1.1, which used a similar code-base to the Pinnacle product, but with a cosmetically different user interface. At first glance it seems to be an entirely different approach, but the original elements are still there - the Album (now renamed The Library), the Preview Player, and the Movie Window. The various stages of movie production are still selectable from tabs at the top of the screen.

Notable differences, however, are that the timeline now includes a virtually unlimited number of A/V tracks, and the Preview Player window can now be freely scaled in size (at the expense of a reduction in height of the Movie Window).

Although this new version of editor follows broadly the same paradigm as earlier versions of Studio, it has lost its intuitive feel, and is not as easy to use without referring to Help, or viewing one of the available tutorials. Once having climbed the learning curve however, it will be seen to be a very powerful and capable program.

In 2012, Corel acquired the consumer product line from Avid, and a second version of Avid Studio, that was currently in the final stages of development, was ultimately released by Corel as Pinnacle Studio 16, which requires as a minimum the Windows Vista operating system. An obvious visual difference, shown below, is that the Source and Timeline preview windows can now be displayed side-by-side.

Corel Pinnacle Studio 16 (2012)