Studio 11: Easy Video Editing, Hard Output

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Over the weekend, I had a great time editing some family video. Too bad nobody can watch it. This is a story of yet more frustration with software, in this case Studio 11 from Pinnacle.

I want to give Studio a glowing review. This is the most fun I've had with the actual editing process, as the software makes it easy to import, organize, and splice together scenes. I didn't try to get fancy, as I've learned that editing can be a time black hole. No, I just wanted a quick video of a family outing to share with the kids' grandparents.

Easy editing, hard output. For some reason, Studio will not recognize my disk burner. In fact, it won't recognize any of several burners that I've attached to my Windows PC. Following tech-support instructions, I've updated the drives' software, uninstalled and reinstalled Studio, and wasted hours with those and other possible fixes.

I've stuck with Studio because its higher-end versions (starting at $100) are among the few consumer editing programs that can handle high-def video, and about the only one that purports to output to standard DVDs in high-def format, where they would play back on an HD DVD player with all its sharpness. I was lucky enough to have shot the video with an HD camcorder borrowed from Canon.

OK. I gave up on burning a disk. I saved the high-def video in a highly compressed format called DivX that I could send to my parents in Florida, where they might at least watch it on their computer. Nope, can't get the DivX file to play there. Aargh.

I just got an E-mail from Pinnacle's tech support saying a patch is available that might fix the burner issue. That's an unusually quick response, raising my hopes. But it's too late for first impressions: What was a pleasure has turned to pain.