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Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 12/09/08 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook
Serif MoviePlus X3
Full featured video editing tool
By John Virata

Back in the early 1990s, digital video was postage stamp sized, and for consumers, there wasn't really any good software that could easily edit video. This was coupled with the fact that most computers ran on 64MB of memory, and a 2GB hard disk drive fast enough to handle video cost $4000. Fast forward to today and both Windows and Macintosh-based computers include video editing software as a "module" of the operating system, 500GB hard drives can be had for around $100, and most computers ship with 2GB RAM standard.

Sometimes though those video editors are not enough, and especially on the Windows side, you have a choice of an array of video editing applications. One such tool is MoviePlus X3 Digital Video Studio, non linear editing software from Serif, a European software developer. The application offers both a Timeline and Storyboard style video editing interface, much like those offered here in the United States.

When you first launch MoviePlus X3, a window pops up asking if you'd like to open an existing project, start a new project, or run through some tutorials, which is a nice touch, eliminating the need to hunt for some of the common tasks that you'll perform in the application.

Serif MoviePlus X3 in Timeline mode.

When you get into the application, the interface opens with more How to's on the left, the Video preview window in the middle and the Media, Galleries, and Properties tabs to the right. The interface is not unlike other consumer level video editing applications. It offers both Storyboard mode editing as well as Timeline mode editing for those who want to edit like the pros do. Once you lay your clips onto the Timeline or Storyboard, you can easily add transitions and apply effects to the clips.

Media bin

A nice feature with the Media bin is the preview capabilities. You simply mouse over the clip you wish to play in the bin, and it will start playing. There are no controls to click, just simply mouse over and the video will play right in the Media bin. A simple mouse over also details the properties of the clip, including frame size, frame rate, pixel aspect ratio, interlace type, audio channels, audio sample rate, and bits per sample. This is ideal especially when you have videos of varying frame sizes and rates in the same media bin. You'll know what to expect ahead of time.

Choose effects

You can apply effects by going up to Insert and choosing Video Effects. Here a window pops up with a variety of effects. Mouse over a desired effect and it will play right there in the window of that effect, so you get a general feel of what that effect will do. When you find the effect you wish to use, simply select it and drag it onto the clip. Real simple stuff. You can also add pan and zoom effects, titles, credits, captions, background music, to give your project a fully customized and personal look to it. The How to section shows how to perform all the functions necessary to complete your video project, from adding video clips and photos to applying effects and adding transitions, to adding titles, captions, and then previewing your movie.

Output formats


Once your movie is finished, you will want to share it, and what MoviePlus X3 offers is a variety of ways to output your finished movie to a variety of formats. MoviePlus X3 enables you to output your clips to the most popular viewing formats, including DVD, VCD, DV camcorder, HDV camcorder, computer video format (AVI, MPEG, WMV, QuickTime, and MPEG-4) file, iPod, PSP, and YouTube. These are accessed via the Export button, which enables you to choose an output format, and then choose a quality level from there.

For new users, MoviePlus X3 offers most all of the features that you'd find from its American based NLE counterparts. The application is easy enough to use and supports a wide variety of video file formats. There is plenty of features to use so you won't outgrow the application any time soon, plus it is fairly snappy running on a somewhat dated system (AMD Athlon X2 5000+ with 3GB RAM, 320GB hard disk drive). Help system is fairly comprehensive, and updates to the application are done automatically with an Internet connection, as most software is done these days. There isn't any convoluted translation issues that occurred in the late 90s with other European software coming over to the United States, and the interface is easy enough to navigate around, and remains familiar with those who may be using other NLEs. In all it is a decent editing tool that will give you very good looking video projects.

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at

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