There was a time when digital photography was an expensive medium. It was likely you wouldn’t also be interested in capturing and editing video. However, with even the most basic camera phone being capable of capturing video, as well as the price of dedicated camcorders falling rapidly, it seems surprising there are so few multi-tool software suites out there.
Which is why Corel and Sony have teamed together to bring their two leading consumer products together in one package. So, you’ll find Corel Paint Shop Pro X, which is the latest version of image editing software, while Sony supplies the Vegas Movie Studio+DVD Platinum.
Taking Paint Shop Pro first, you’ll find this isn’t a cut-down version but is the full retail version, which costs £85 (inc. VAT) on its own. Paint Shop has been around for over 10 years now and is definitely one of our favourite image suites, as beginners find it simple enough to get to grips with, while there are plenty of tools for the advanced user too. It’s one of those packages that is essential, allowing you to alter the brightness, contrast and colour balance of an image with easy clicks. More experienced users can take advantage of layers and get to grips with the noise-reduction tools, which are excellent and really make the most of finetuning digital images.
Paint Shop Pro X delivers but does the Sony side of the bargain make the extra money worthwhile? Sony has been in the high-end video business since the 80s, so it should know a thing or two about it. As such, you’ll find it allows you to import footage – both video and audio - in just about any format, something you won’t find with other software.
The thing we found about Vegas is that it’s not as easy to get to grips with as Paint Shop and you’ll find the learning curve a lot steeper. Sure, there is a handy "Show me how" tool, which helps with the basics, but unless you’re willing to really dedicate some time to the software, you won’t get the best results from it.
This wouldn’t be a Sony product without there being a few little extras thrown in. So, for music creation of your own you get a copy of Acid XMC as well as Pixelan SpiceMaster 2.5 and RawShooter Essentials, which will help you boost the effects of final video footage. While none are essential, they add extra value to the package.
Bundled software tends to only half deliver on the promise: you get one great piece of software coupled with something you can easily do without. However, Visual Creation Studio Pro brings two great tools together at a price that really is great value for money. If you’ve even a mild interest in getting the most from your digital media this is the bets bundled package we’ve seen yet.