Magix Video Deluxe 2.0 Plus review

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Magix Video Deluxe 2.0 Plus

Can the video editor on a budget benefit from a little Magix Video Deluxe?

With increasing maturity, a common theme in a number of specialist software fields is the trickle-down to budget packages of features that were once only available at the upper end of the market. This has happened in the music/audio arena and is increasingly happening with digital video editing.

The latest budget offering from Magix - Video Deluxe 2.0 Plus - is a Windows video editing package offering an impressive list of features. It's priced below £60, and there's also a standard version at £30. But Magix has picked a tough fight - it's £60 package is going head-on against Pinnacle's highly acclaimed video editing/DVD authoring package, Studio 8.

Feature frenzy
The program's timeline allows for 32 tracks, where video, audio, Midi, text and still images can be arranged. Capture of files over 4GByte in size is catered for and DV options include batch capture and scene recognition. Video editing includes plenty of transition effects, but also provides image restoration and stabilisation options, amongst others.

Similar restoration functions are provided for audio. The Plus version reviewed here comes packaged with two additional CDs that form an image and sound archive of license-free material, and these can make use of the automated music-track generation facilities built into the program.

Two synthesiser plug-ins are also available (Drum & Bass and Ambient) for further musical possibilities, along with support for DirectX plug-ins. Import and export options are comprehensive, with support for MPEG-2 (via the supplied Ligos GoMotion encoder) and formats suitable for web streaming. However, perhaps the key feature in this area is support from within Video Deluxe for direct burning of CD, VCD, MiniDVD and DVD discs (given suitable hardware). For DVDs, this includes options for dividing projects into chapters and a range of templates for menu displays.

Given its extensive feature list and low price, it would be churlish to be overly critical of Video Deluxe 2.0 Plus. There is plenty to keep the financially-challenged home enthusiast interested and, with a little care, the package could easily be used for something more serious than just holiday videos.

It is a little quirky in places, and has a number of features that require a little experimentation - but is easy enough to use and capable of some very sophisticated results. Interested users can download a 12MByte demo of the Standard (not Plus) version of Video Deluxe 2 from the Magix website to evaluate it on their own systems.

In a few areas, Video Deluxe is better than its rival budget editor, Pinnacle Studio 8, but in others, the Pinnacle program is well ahead. Magix will have to work hard if it wants to take over from Studio at the top of the tree, but the foundations are certainly there for the company to build on and improve what is undoubtedly an excellent value offering.

John Walden

Read the full review in June 2003's Computer Video magazine.



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