Pinnacle is attempting to encourage adoption of its video editing software with a slimmed down freeware product called VideoSpin. If you’ve ever used other Pinnacle Editing apps, the interface will remind you of a cleaner, easier to navigate version. If VideoSpin is your first exposure to a Pinnacle app, you should find it to be among the easiest video editors on the market.
Strengths: A solid selection of popular Pinnacle effects. Pinnacle paired down their robust movie title support for VideoSpin. Two audio tracks (for narration and music) in addition to the audio track attached to your video. Mapping to Music, Pictures and Video folders makes it easy for novice users to find relevant media on your PC. VideoSpin edits both high definition (HDV) and standard definition footage. Integrated upload to Yahoo Video.
Weaknesses: Pinnacle stripped the ability to import video from a tape based camera, which means you’ll need to use something like freeware app WinDV if you still record video to tape, making this a file based editing solution. While you can import high definition footage, output is limited to standard definition resolutions. No DVD burning in the app. Needs integration with YouTube and other popular video sharing sites.
Long term support of all video formats does require spending some money for the Pinnacle Advanced Codec Pack ($14.99), which includes support for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3 (in DivX files), Dolby Digital and AAC audio. These codecs are included in the VideoSpin download for a 15 day evaluation period. If you opt not to purchase the Advanced Codec Pack, VideoSpin supports DV-AVI, MJPEG, WMV, and MPEG-1, and MP3 audio for free forever. Upgrading to Pinnacle Studio at some point in the future makes the same codec pack available in that app as well.
While VideoSpin is technically free, almost everyone will need to spend the $15 to find it useful, which still makes it a bargain for anyone making Web video. If you want to make DVDs, look at getting the full version of Pinnacle Studio, Roxio’s Easy Media Creator or one of the other apps with DVD authoring support. [Windows XP/Vista $0.00]