Once published by Avid, Strata’s VideoShop is not a well known product on this side of the pond. An entry to intermediate level video-editing tool, VideoShop is a good introduction to non-linear video editing, but lacks the sophistication of high-end tools such as the market leader Adobe Premiere.
The basic operation of VideoShop is pretty similar to most video-editing tools – import a bunch of video clips, audio files and other source material, and then lay them out in the desired sequence, adding transitions and other effect filters along the way. In these respects, VideoShop is pretty easy to get the hang of, with source footage being imported into the Bin window, and then simply drag-&-dropped to the Timeline window. Composited footage is previewed in the Canvas window – the previews are generally fast and smooth, which is a good feature. VideoShop also features competent video capture tools to use with your capture card, and now also supports DV and FireWire.
The Timeline window consists of a number of tracks – an unlimited number are supported – into which the video is placed along with its accompanying audio, and effects applied to it. Imported clips are applied by simply dragging and dropping onto the desired track, but perversely you have to specify what type of track it will be – video, three types of audio (MIDI, audio or TuneBuilder), 3D file and so on. VideoShop’s handling of text is poor, and still images even worse – bizarrely converting the image to a two second MOV file, which then has to be stretched.
The number of built-in effects is adequate, and although there’s notional support for Photoshop filters with VideoShop, no Premiere compatible filters are supported. I say notionally because all attempts at using Photoshop filters either had no effect or resulted in VideoShop crashing.
One feature unique to VideoShop is the ability to import 3D Metafile models (3DMF format), apply effects such as rotation and scaling to them by adding a Tween track, and then assign a video source to wrap onto the object. It’s a powerful feature that helps to make VideoShop stand out from the crowd – however it does require QuickDraw 3D to run.
An interesting but fairly pointless feature is the soundtrack-creation tool – TuneBuilder – that’s bundled with VideoShop. This allows you to create tracks of music that fit the length your piece of video. It works by stretching and chopping a selected tune and there’s a variety of different tempos to choose from. If cheesy American muzak is what you’re looking for then TuneBuilder is ideal, but even so, there are only 16 pieces of music supplied on the accompanying CD.
Version 4.5 contains few major new features or enhancements over version 4.0, to the extent that the manual we saw still says 4.0. The biggest new feature is the support for QuickTime 3.0, including the new effects that this version of Apple’s video technology offers.
While VideoShop is a competent program and reasonably easy to get to grips with, I cannot see the benefit of spending £300 on what is effectively ‘My First Video Editor’ when a copy of Premiere can be had for under £500.