Pinnacle Studio 23 - Not 'As Described' - Hidden issues when editing AVCHD files.

johnkm

Member
My last Pinnacle Studio purchase was version 20 in 2016 and I use it for editing AVCHD files to produce Blue Ray and DVD discs with DD 5.1 audio. So when I received a special offer for version 23 last November, I decided it was time to upgrade, particularly as I was about to purchase a new editing computer to replace my 2011 Win 7 computer. But before purchasing new software, I always check the spec, promotional info and, in particular, download and study the User Manual, to ensure the software will meet my needs. Everything seemed OK, but unfortunately, the reality was somewhat different:

Misleading System Requirements: From the start I had a major issue using it on my Win 7 computer: No sound and, as I was unable to fix this after two days (and thought this was due to an incompatibility with my sound card), I thought it best to wait until my new Win 10 computer arrived mid-December. Please note that this completely prevented me from doing any sort PS23 evaluation inside any ‘Trial’ period (which as a long term customer, is something that I shouldn’t need anyway!).
It was only recently that I found that this problem was more likely to be due to misleading System Requirements: Where, under ‘Operating System’, it states that PS23 is compatible with Win 7, 8 and 10. Which is not really true, as when PS23 is installed on Win 7 or 8, it is not compatible with the audio on the most widely used consumer HD camcorder file format (AVCHD)!! This is a vital restriction and should have been clearly stated under ‘Operating System’ and not as an obscure hidden footnote under ‘Export Formats’.

Inaccurate and misleading User Manual: Two issues here:
Charging customers again for a previously purchased Blue Ray add-on: This is not acceptable when the User Manual clearly states on page 254: “You can restore purchases that you have made through Pinnacle Studio”, and the running software also indicates that this can be done. Even more annoying is when the previously purchased Studio 20 BD Plug-in is activated, it clearly states that it is 'enabled', when it is not.

Failure to produce a DVD (or BD) disc with 5.1 surround sound: Full surround sound editing facilities are provided (as previous versions) and the User Manual goes through this in detail. The most important final and crystal clear statement on page 186 is that a DVD disc can be produced with 5.1 surround sound. However, this is simply not true, as this important export feature has been deleted on PS23 and therefore, a surround sound DVD (or Blue Ray) disc cannot be produced via this version of Studio. This begs the question: What is the point of having surround sound editing (as per the enclosed) if you can’t produce a disc with the final file?
In addition, there is no clear statement in the on-line Specifications and/or Promotional Material to indicate that this long standing 5.1 surround sound function for many years, is not available on PS23.
 

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12harry

Distinguished Member
Hi. All reads like it's very annoying - and I'm surprised it's not more widely known as it appears.
Issues can be down to the lack of PCs used by the Mfr of Software - they cannot know all the OS versions and differing hardware . . . and surprisingly there are no "Standards" for a given OS. You'd think: Letter-writing, Stills/graphics, movie-editing and 3D-gaming would give quite different price-points, demands and capabilities.
I presume you were well-aware of any limitations in the past.... but I wonder why they'd mess-up AVCHD which (believe it or not) is a joint standard by Panasonic and Sony - so it should be their first inclusion.
Is it possible the Surround-Sound feature was licensed and/or the Standard has been revised, perhaps? Could this be so folks can't make rip-off discs...?
BlueRay is AFIK a Sony standard and they modified their Studio software some years ago to force folk to buy BD discs, rather than create a short HD-movie on a (cheaper) DVD, which was possible within the program....

I can't comment further as I use full HD 1080x1920 and recorded to Memory-stick - I couldn't accept the time writing a lower-quality DVD would take.
Only if I go to 4K will I have to update my Edit software... something I'm perhaps loathe to do.

Hope you've resolved the issues....
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member

johnkm

Member
Correct about Dolby Digital 5.1 and needing a license, but dropping 5.1 after many years without making this clear and then still giving a clear impression that it's available, is more than a bit naughty. Particularly when you consider that making a disc is the last thing that would be attempted, so this issue is more likely to be found when the trial period is over. I also use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, but that is a bit messy and time consuming to make a 5.1 BD disc without purchasing an expensive licensed plug-in.

I have spoken to Corel at length and they admitted that 'we have received similar comments from other members of the Pinnacle Studio community and are considering possibilities'. But they then stopped talking to me when I reminded them of their obligations under UK Consumer Law, (if the product is 'not as described', the consumer can demand a refund [even if the 'Trial' period had expired]). At that time the Pinnacle web site gave a Corel UK address in Luton, which should have meant that UK law would be in force. However, it later turned out to be a non-existent address, so I then went to the Better Business Bureau in Canada, which has resulted in a refund.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Other than "Open Source" most tech we are likely to use comes with payment somewhere. Most providers will have a deal with the owners of standards ( although these are really their Standards ), and we can use them until the Tech-Kit (or Software) expires; either due to component-failure, a change in PC Operating System, or time-out, as some modern software is by subscription.
It may be that the words in the Sales blurb were written without a licence deal being in place ( i.e. it was expected to be done ).... and the Marketing dept. didn't understand that it wasn't in place - so the "Feature" wouldn't work.
Large organisations can be very difficult for Bosses to control:- so many internal "Politics" going on.
As usual, the customer is the last to find out . . . . that's why many folks won't buy a new-model of a car until the 1st year is over.... sure, you miss out the head-turning, but you also miss the recalls and the darn thing stopping on the motorway, when you need to get somewhere urgently.

Glad to read you got a refund.... but what about the time-wasting?
 

johnkm

Member
You are absolutely right about the 'time wasting', which includes the wasted time trying to get AVCHD to work with Win 7 at the start. Then the time involved in trying to diagnose the AVCHD 5.1 issues with Win 10, followed by the hassle trying to get a refund.
Let's just say that I get VERY tetchy when a company messes me around like that and there was no way that I was going let them get away with it (hence why this is also being highlighted on here)!
I suspect they rely on most customers giving up, calling it a day without creating too much of a fuss.
 

rogs

Well-known Member
I can remember reading complaints about Pinnacle video software going way back to the early 2000s -- usually about stability in those days, as I recall...
Sounds as if things haven't improved much... best still avoided, by the sounds of things!
 

johnkm

Member
My first Studio was version 15 and that wasn't too bad, particularly as it had a rather important redeeming feature: If it crashed, it had a crash dump, safely saving the edited file to that point. So on restart, you hadn't lost everything you had done up to that point. I should add that I also use Adobe Prem Pro CS6 for more serious projects and I have frequently wished that it also had this feature!

When Corel purchased Pinnacle, things looked promising, as they were concentrating a lot of effort into improving stability in general and when I upgraded to version 20, it was actually 'upgrade' and far more stable (but you still need the 'crash dump' on occasions!).
So I was extremely disappointed when it became clear that they had managed to make a 'pigs ear' of the current version 23.
Such a great pity and an object lesson in how to seriously p-off your customer base!!
 

Eh2x

Novice Member
John,

I am having similar issues with Pinnacle 23 and AVCHD videos. My WMV ones work, although when I produce a DVD those come out without any audio as well. Did you eventually resolve the issue? If so, how? I would really like to know. I got Studio 23 for Christmas and have yet to be able to fully use it.
 

johnkm

Member
I completely gave up on PS23 and 'eventually' got a refund. I then managed to get hold of a reduced price PS22 and that does export 5.1 without problems, although there is still an annoying defect when setting it up for editing AVCHD 5.1 audio, where the default setting is 'Centre Channel Off' (why?).
Logically, you would think that setting all clips to full 5.1 was a simple matter of highlighting all the clips you wish to change and then clicking '5.1'. No it isn't, you have to set each clip to 5.1 individually!!

On your particular issue, the only one obvious thing comes to mind: Are you using Win 10, because PS23 doesn't work with AVCHD audio with Win 7? This point was somewhat obscure in the system spec.

Please note: While I really hoped they would have seen sense and corrected these AVCHD 5.1 audio issues with the next version, it appears that the new PS24 still doesn't produce discs with 5.1 audio!
 

Eh2x

Novice Member
First off, thank you for giving me a straight answer. It is much better than what I got from Corel. Second, so if I was looking for a quick fix for PS23, my best bet is to update my System Sofware to Windows 10?
Barring that, any suggestions on video editing software that would work with AVCHD audio and video? Thanks.
 

johnkm

Member
If you look at my post on 2 Feb re: Misleading System Requirements, where these state PS23 is compatible with Win 7, 8 and 10, which is simply not true with the AC3 audio component of AVCHD files. This key point being hidden away in 'Export Formats', note '2' at the bottom of the page!
From this, I would think that updating your OS to Win 10 is the best way forward, as this should fix the basic problem, assuming you only want to export an AC3 'Stereo' sound track.

In my case:
1. Sony's AX53 mic produces a reasonable level of surround components in the audio , when used in 1080 50p AVCHD mode*.
2. I frequently use the surround channels for adding ambiance to background music
3. I have surround AV system to listen to the result.
Therefore, I required full DD5.1 export capability on to Blue Ray discs and PS23 was totally useless.

*Even though I have a LG 65" OLED 4K screen and the AX53 is a 4K camcorder, I quickly gave up recording in 4K for the following reasons:
1. Moving objects can be a problem with 4K recordings at the low 25 (or 24) frame rate used.
2. The stereo sound in 4K mode sounds a bit 'dead'.
3. Last and by no means least: 1080 50p mode recordings look almost as good as 4K!

I hope this helps
 

djmusic

Novice Member
I've been editing .MTS files (Panasonic camera) successfully with every version of Avid/Pinnacle since ~2007 UNTIL I started having problems with Pinnacle 23, losing titles, .MTS files unstable etc etc... gave up on Corel's rubber stamp suggestions and upgraded to Pinnacle 24 and it's worse. It won't import .MTS files into the "project bins" without losing the audio, video unstable and then crashes. More rubber stamp suggestions then they close your problem inquiry ticket. My PC is wizz bang win10, i7 CPU @ 4.2Ghz, 32GB RAM, 250GB SSD drive for applications, 2 X 2TB SSD for video and general data, Geoforce gaming level audio/video all with latest drivers. Seems that when they run out rubber stamps they just shut you down. Until recently a very happy Pinnacle user.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Change to VideoStudio Ultimate. I find this covers all my wants for editing and it seems more stable.
 

djmusic

Novice Member
Change to VideoStudio Ultimate. I find this covers all my wants for editing and it seems more stable.
Thank you - I'll investigate. Would you believe that I've just received a survey from Corel "am I satisfied/unsatisfied now that the problem is resolved" ...... RIGHT ABOVE my reply saying "problem NOT resolved" ... more runber stamps
 

djmusic

Novice Member
Thank you - I'll investigate. Would you believe that I've just received a survey from Corel "am I satisfied/unsatisfied now that the problem is resolved" ...... RIGHT ABOVE my reply saying "problem NOT resolved" ... more runber stamps
I still had the download details for Pinnacle 19, .Mrs files work like a charm. Meantime I dId a simple conversion of .mts to .mp4 with Roxio for use with Pinnacle 24. Surprise surprise no reply to my 'not satisfied in Corel's survey
 

djmusic

Novice Member
I still had the download details for Pinnacle 19, .Mrs files work like a charm. Meantime I dId a simple conversion of .mts to .mp4 with Roxio for use with Pinnacle 24. Surprise surprise no reply to my 'not satisfied in Corel's survey
.Mrs files should read .mts files .. damed predictive text
 

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