- Easy to edit timelines
- Nice batch capture and logs
- Consistent design
- No YouTube export
- Non-intuitive design
- Awfully error-prone
By: Dustin Sklavos
I have a thousand-word quota for each of my video editing software reviews, and the current software in question, Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus, was added to my queue because it was selling well on Amazon. I mention my quota and my motivation because it’s going to be hard to hit a thousand words when I only need two to describe the software: It sucks.
Magix and I started off on fairly good footing, with a sensible first load screen. Nicely abstracted, the buttons are simple, the formats easy to understand...and then it all kind of goes to hell.
Format support is, nearest I can tell, pretty well-rounded. That said, here is where I began running into some trouble.
When I first loaded Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus, it informed me that my MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 codecs were outdated and suggested websites to download updated codecs from. This isn't an alert I've received from any other video editing software I have.
Of course, format troubles are just the first of many problems as we move along to...
Importing any previously-captured HDV footage into Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus resulted in the program more or less grinding to a screeching halt while the bar at the bottom of the screen filled up. It was doing something Adobe Premiere Pro does, which is conforming the video so it's easier for the software to skim through. This I don't have a huge issue with, except that in Premiere you can do other things while you're waiting for the video to conform, and the other software I've used during this string of reviews didn't really have this issue.
Magix offers a series of capture choices, but the option of capturing DV as MPEG is an odd one. I'm assuming it's to save additional storage space on the computer, but in the process it's likely to incur additional CPU overhead.
In the image above, Magix is attempting to curry favor with me by offering log and capture where the competing solutions tend not to, and I appreciate thee offer. The steps in the window are fairly simple, but something about the window rubs me the wrong way. The "Current position" is unnecessary information, and the batch recording start and end point buttons should be next to the navigation buttons.
Still, maybe I'm being too picky as far as the capture window is concerned, especially when there's so much else to complain about.
Editing is where Magix pretty much turns into a disaster.
The first big problem is with the design and placement of the Record/Edit/Burn options way at the top right of the screen and painfully small.
The second big problem is that there isn't really a "bin" the way every other piece of video editing software works. Instead of using a project bin, you're really just using an Explorer window, and that does nothing to simplify or sort out viable video files from the rest of the junk on your hard drive.
The third big problem is the sequence window, which is more than a little confusing and, even worse, does not expose video on the other tracks in the timeline.
Speaking of the timeline, Magix is stupefying in its simplicity. The timelines do indeed operate the way they ought to, and cutting and trimming clips is fairly simple. The diamond icons the universal symbol for "keyframe" actually just allow you to change the opacity/volume of the individual clips by clicking and dragging, which I personally found confusing but by which more novice users may be less perplexed.
Alterations to individual clips such as fading them out, putting text over them, or putting titles on them are handled by the separate tabs next to "Import." There's no click-and-drag or double-click to enable effects; they're already in place for you to adjust into visibility. Fades and titles, meanwhile, get dragged onto the timeline.
And just because I'm kind of a petty bastard, here's their typo in the titling system.
The central problem with Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus is that it just doesn't make any sense. It doesn't actually feel like it was designed by someone who has any experience editing video. One of the really silly features one that I'm not used to seeing is the multi-camera option. I'm perplexed by how it's supposed to work, but it's apparently designed to somehow sync up video that was shot on multiple cameras. I don't know how it's supposed to achieve this and I'm not sure I care; traditional multi-camera video editing just involves using different tracks and swapping between them or just cutting between the clips themselves and manually syncing the audio. Traditional multi-camera work is time-consuming, but I shudder to think how an algorithm could remotely figure out how to do it.
And now the S.S. Failboat steams squarely in Magix's waters. In each of the other programs we've reviewed, exporting has been at least marginally intelligent, but not so here.
For starters, you get three main options: "DVD," "PC-Show," and "Online Album." The first one is fairly obvious, but the other two aren't terribly clear.
The DVD publishing software is capable of being relatively robust, and at least it offers an automatic DVD handler.
There's an advanced mode for producing your DVD menus that is fairly usable, but the utility of this feature is predicated on the odds of easily editing together something of value in Magix's software.
But wait, what's this?
In fairness the error shown above could exist because I'm running Windows 7 RC 64-bit, but it's still not exactly reaffirming when every other piece of software I've used (Adobe Encore CS4, the other video editors, Nero Burning ROM) has had no trouble handling the DVD writer in Windows 7.
When you do get to this window it seems pretty simple, but of course you'll notice that, because the software had a hard time reading my DVD writer, the "Burner" in the window is simply blanked out.
Moving on to our next error...
I honestly don't know how this works or what a "PC Show" is or does not exactly what you're going for with software that's supposed to be easy to use. Create Slideshow? Really? Where's the simple "I want to export my video to a file" option? Why is this thing defaulting to 1920x1200? Is it because that's my monitor's resolution? This is a bust.
But surely the "Online Album" option might prove its worth, yes?
I hope you've learned a valuable lesson for your hubris. Congratulations Magix, you've produced one of the only video editors that doesn't automatically offer you a way to upload to YouTube.
Also inexplicably, the software always says "Disc format:" on the output window regardless of how you're trying to export your video. This clearly isn't correct.<-->
You can tell by now that Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus is no friend of mine. While the editing section isn’t quite the abomination that was Corel’s VideoStudio X2, repeated pop-ups, errors, and inconsistencies made Movie Edit feel miles behind in the game. The $49.99 version, Magix Movie Edit Pro 15, doesn’t include HDV editing either, which means you’ll be shelling out an extra $40 to get the Plus version which does. That brings you to a total of $89.99, squarely in the range of the other big kids we’re reviewing here.
I try to avoid making too many comparisons before hitting our wrap-up article, but Magix’s solution competes with Corel’s for the absolute worst video editor in this line-up thus far. Apple’s iMovie is more sensible to use than this, and soon we’re going to find out if Microsoft’s Windows Live Movie Maker can compete on something other than price.
- Employs reasonably easy-to-edit timelines.
- Allows for logging and batch capturing footage from the camera.
- Aesthetically consistent.
- Everything else.