Our team of reviewers used each program’s editing tools, effects and export options to create identical test DVDs. They timed how long it took to burn a new DVD, complete with menus and chapters when possible. Our video experts then played the new DVDs on a large-screen television and searched for imperfections such as compression artifact, motion blur and interlacing issues. The results of these tests, as well as our reviewers’ personal experiences using each program, were used to decide the programs’ final scores and ranks. All our tests were designed to replicate the experience of an average user as well as a veteran editor.
Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video. You might use it to put a blur over the face of someone you don't want to show up in your video. You specify the target face, and the app takes care of the rest, tracking the face and moving the effect to follow it. This used to be the sole province of special effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.
We combined a text opener with five clips linked by a cross-fade-type transition into a 2.5-minute video shot at 60 frames per second, and rendered the projects to the MPEG-4 format at 720p. We timed rendering at both 60 fps and 30 fps. We adjusted settings to take advantage of hardware acceleration for all tests whenever possible, setting them in either the preferences or the rendering controls for the best speeds. Apple’s iMovie, the lone Mac-only app, is not included in the timed comparisons.