Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus is meant to serve as the family video editor by giving you lots of ways to enhance your home videos and export them to various formats, including iPod video and PSP. Although it wants to be fun and easy to use, it isn't. While Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus has a few redeeming qualities, its lengthy installation process and unintuitive controls will frustrate all but the most tenacious editors.
Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus shares the same features as video editors such asRoxio MyDVD 10 Premier, including integrated YouTube uploading and several fades, transitions, and titles to enhance and modify your movie. The initial install of the program took more than 10 minutes, most likely due to the extraneous software (photo manager, photo editor, CD/DVD burning application, and music finder).
This process gets even more drawn out, as support for codecs such as MPEG-4, MPEG-2, Dolby Digital Stereo, and Dolby Digital 5.1 have to be activated one at time through a slightly obscure option in the Help menu. The activation is free, but requires you to register--even if you already registered the full software--and then Magix sends you an activation code via e-mail. This must be done for each of the four codecs, which is very frustrating. This is editing software, not some hidden bonus level in a video game.
Movie Edit Pro has a very similar layout to Adobe Premiere Elements 4, with the preview window on the upper left side, the timeline along the bottom, and a control window on the upper right. Surrounding the windows are mysterious monochromatic icons that must be moused over to decipher. The icons change or disappear altogether when switching between the Record, Edit, and Burn control windows. For instance, while the recording window was open, we wanted to switch from the storyboard view to the timeline view. The icons were placed next to the storyboard when the edit window was open but disappeared completely with the recording window open. Strangely enough, the audio mixer window doesn't disappear when you go to the burning window.
Some Helpful Editing Features
When you first open Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus, you are given the option of capturing video from DV or HDV cameras, VHS videotape, single-frame video (such as from a webcam), or screen video captures. We really like the last option: Being able to record what's happening on-screen is surprisingly useful when you want to show your uncle how to set up his new e-mail account.
We liked the titling options in the program, several of which were unique to Movie Edit Pro. We also liked the numerous animation options available for titling. Likewise, we really enjoyed all of the effects, fades, and transitions included in Movie Edit Pro. Some, such as the 3D living room, fly the audience around the room before zooming into a picture or coffee table book that opens up to your video. Movie Edit Pro did throw us off though, with the inclusion of the option No Effect, which, appropriately enough, does nothing.
Confusing Clip Additions
Adding additional clips is tricky because the method of attaching them is inconsistent. In the Record control window, the program asked if we would like to append the clip to the current project or start a new movie. After choosing to attach it, the new clip appeared in the Edit control window view, but not in the Record window view; in that view, only the first clip appeared. The program treated the two clips as one, making it very difficult to tell which were in use and where they were in the sequence of the production.
This process is completely different if you add clips via the Import button in the Edit control window. There, you can select multiple files to add or to drag each file to a desired location on the timeline, without the program asking whether you want to append the clip or start a new movie. This method showed which clips were in use in our production more clearly. We found the disparity in these methods to be very frustrating, both when acclimating ourselves to the software and when sorting and adding clips to our productions.
LikeCyberLink PowerDirector 7and Roxio MyDVD 10 Premier, Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus has an instant movie-making wizard called MovieShow Maker. This version inserts beginning credits, end credits, and a soundtrack and puts the finished product on the timeline for you to tweak or change. We were disappointed when Movie Edit Pro only added intro music and credits, and we wish that MovieShow Maker did more to alter our videos. We preferred PowerDirector 7's movie wizard, which added transitions, visual effects, and music throughout the production.
Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus has the potential to become a strong editing program, especially with its wide variety of titles and effects. However, its unintuitive and occasionally disappearing icons give it a very steep learning curve, which isn't worth the time when suites such as PowerDirector 7 have similar feature sets that are much easier to learn.