At one time, editing your own video footage was seen as a high-end task that took serious dedication. However, with even Windows Vista now shipping with Movie Maker, video has gone mainstream and as long as you have a reasonably powerful PC or notebook, great results can be had in minutes.
This latest suite from Magix is aimed at those who have outgrown the rather basic features of Movie Maker and are looking to add more than basic transitions and edits. Sure, Movie Edit allows that but there are also a host of special effects to be had.
The installation process can take a long time, largely due to the large number of extra software that is bundled with the main application. You'll find everything from a simple digital photo-editing tool, to 3D animation and even music playlist tracking. All of which adds to the value of the pack but does tend to sap resources and detract from the main aim of the package.
Once up and running the interface has a fairly crowded look to it. The three main tasks: Record, Edit and Burn each have their own tag on the top of the screen, opening a host of different editing tools.
Record may sound like you actually have to capture footage but in reality you can import from either a player, external hard disk or the PC's own optical drive. Once footage is imported, the clips are laid out on a fairly conventional timeline running along the bottom of the screen.
From here you can start to edit the clips, re-arrange them and even change the colour tones. The software tries to help, which can be annoying and once you've got the hang of what you're doing will start to hamper you.
Once your footage is a rough sequence of events you can move on to the main Edit screen, which offers a wider range of tools, including transitions and special effects. The timeline changes, allowing for a more detailed level of control and allows you to add audio as well as movie files.
If you're new to editing movie footage, or simply don't have the time to edit it yourself, the rather handy 1-Click is the perfect tool for you. This tool opens Movieshow Maker, which effectively takes your sequenced footage and adds a series of standard filters and transitions so you'll have a finished film in no time.
The Burn tools allow you to create DVDs or in this increasingly online age, to copy them to YouTube or other social sites, as well as straight to an iPod.
Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus works well and offers great value for money. We felt the interface wasn't as smooth as the likes of Adobe Premiere – the market leader – and unless you have a high-end PC, you'll find the system will slow down once you start to add effects.