Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2022 review

Cool new video editing features for a sensible price

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate 2022 is a good and affordable video editor, with a fine set of new tools. Most of these work great, making the editing software a great addition to most people’s video creation workflow. Sadly, a few features need a little more polish to truly shine.

Pros

  • +

    Simple to use

  • +

    Many useful new features

  • +

    Great transcription tool

  • +

    Lovely new transitions

Cons

  • -

    PC only

  • -

    Some new features don’t work as advertised

  • -

    Some new tools are gimmicky

  • -

    Interface feels dated

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We’ve always found Corel VideoStudio Ultimate to be a competent video editor. Ideal for those who don’t need the professional-grade Premiere Pro or Da Vinci Resolve to cut footage. However, when we last reviewed Corel’s program, we were disappointed the software didn’t really break any new ground. 

Since then, Corel has packed its consumer-level video editing software with tons of new features. So, how does VideoStudio Ultimate fare now? 

TV systems

Upon install we were still asked what TV system we use - PAL or NTSC. Although both obviously still exist, in a time where most people will be uploading to the web, it feels totally superfluous. So much so, we don’t encounter other software asking for this information at the outset anymore. 

It’s a puzzle why it’s there, as it gives the software an antiquated feel that it actually doesn’t deserve considering the new features on offer. 

Say what?

Subtitling is really important. As an accessibility feature, it allows more people to enjoy your content, whether to make it easier for them to understand, or if they’re watching it in a location where keeping the volume down is a necessity. 

But there’s a drawback: it can be a time-consuming affair. That’s where the new Speech to Text converter comes in. With it, VideoStudio will analyze your selected clip and transform what is said on-screen into editable text.

As you’d expect, you may encounter some transcription glitches. However, it’s easy enough to edit the results, even customizing the subtitles’ font, size, color, effects, and duration. Obviously there’s still some work involved, but having a truly easy-to-use algorithm do the original heavy lifting of transcribing and timing for you will save you a huge amount of time, and will likely encourage others to include subtitles in their videos going forward.

There’s also an option to export them as an SRT file, enabling you to include them in YouTube videos as closed captions for instance.

Sadly, you only have a limited number of languages that are recognised by this tool. At the time of review, only English, German, French, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese are supported.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

The new speech to text tool is impressive and easy to use  (Image credit: Future)

Make GIFs while the sun shines

There’s no getting away from social media these days, so VideoStudio Ultimate includes some tools to help in that regard. That’s the idea behind the new GIF Creator. With it, you can select a clip, set its size, playback speed and frame rate, and export the result and a looping clip. 

It works really well, although it appears to only allow you to work with one selected clip. If you had added a text layer for instance, that won’t be shown when working on your GIF. 

One way around that would be to export your video, then reimport it as a single clip, which will then be able to be used properly in the GIF creator. That’s a convoluted workaround, and it could certainly have been more user-friendly (unless we missed something), but it works. 

If social-heavy content creation is where your passions lay, it's worth reviewing the best video editing apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. 

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

One does not simply create a GIF... (Image credit: Future)

Get your game face on

Productivity isn’t the only focus on VideoStudio’s new features. Fun extras are also on the agenda, as is the case with the new ‘Face Effects’. 

This is an interesting VFX software kit that lets  you alter the size of a person’s eyes, or the width of their face by dragging a slider. You could use it for instance to create those cartoon eye bulging effects, although we were unable to find a way to keyframe the animation. 

Other perhaps more useful sliders include ‘Skin Smoothing’, ‘Brightness’ and ‘Skin Tone’. Useful tools to help you improve the look of your subject, if you were unable to do so prior to the shoot.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

Have fun altering the facial features of your subject (clip by Mart Production via pexels.com)  (Image credit: Future)

Facial recognition

Speaking of people, ‘Face Indexing’ is a very cool new feature. You can use it to let VideoStudio analyze a chosen clip. It will find the faces that appear and bring you an index of them. From there, you can select the parts that contain the people you’re interested in and include them in your project in seconds.

You have the ability to edit the index of course, merging faces that are actually the same person but which weren’t recognised as such by the algorithm, and giving names to faces to make the index work for you.

It’s a great way to find the right pieces of a clip without actually having to sift through it all manually.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

Let the algorithm find and catalog the faces present in your media (clip by Distill via pixels.com)  (Image credit: Future)

Moving transitions

VideoStudio already came with some very sleek transitions. And the new ‘Camera Movement’ ones are particularly sweet, creating fake movements to get from one clip to another, they’ll give your project a professional, modern feel without you having to do anything at all.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

The new Camera Movements transitions work great and add a sense of panache to your output. (Image credit: Future)

AR rough around the edges

Not everything’s great though. There’s another fun addition - more of a gimmick really - which allows you to add ‘augmented reality’ objects onto a clip, like an animated mask for instance. 

It’s designed to be drag and drop simple, with the smallest amount of customisable tweaking available. However, none worked as expected on the clips we tried. The mask was either too long, not centered, angled wrongly - we just couldn’t get it to work satisfactorily.

For example, there is a tool to help you resize a mask. Except the face the mask is on in that section isn’t the face on the actual clip. It’s just a generic one, which makes resizing more guesswork than anything else.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate screenshot

Sadly the Animated AR Stickers don’t work as well as they should (clip by Pixabay via pixels.com)  (Image credit: Future)

Non-linear keyframing and more

There are other new features too, such as non-linear keyframing to make custom speed adjustments to your clips, improved audio editing, and support for additional formats such as HEVC MOV, PCM 5.1CH audio, and GIF files. Although, we don’t know if it’s an issue with the PC we were using, but we couldn’t get HEVC files to work.

Pricing

There’s no on-going Creative Cloud-style subscriber fees here. But there's also no free video editing software option. Depending on your love of subscription models, where you don’t own the software but merely rent it ad infinitum, you might appreciate or dislike the fact VideoStudio Ultimate 2022 can only be purchased outright for $100, £90 or 70€. 

If you already own a previous version, upgrading to this latest one will cost you $80, £70 or 50€. If you’d rather try the goods before committing yourself, you’ll be pleased to know there’s also a free 30-day trial option available.

Final verdict

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate has received a lot of love and attention lately, and many of the new tools introduced with version 2022 are both useful, and easy to use. Some are still a little rough around the edges, but the main tentpole attractions, such as face detection, speech to text, and the new transitions work great and are sure to be useful for most video editors. 

The tool is one of the best Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives - but if you require a little more power, try Corel's pro-level Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate.

Steve Paris

Steve has been writing about technology since 2003. Starting with Digital Creative Arts, he's since added his tech expertise at titles such as iCreate, MacFormat, MacWorld, MacLife, and TechRadar. His focus is on the creative arts, like website builders, image manipulation, and filmmaking software, but he hasn’t shied away from more business-oriented software either. He uses many of the apps he writes about in his personal and professional life. Steve loves how computers have enabled everyone to delve into creative possibilities, and is always delighted to share his knowledge, expertise, and experience with readers.