With more and more people using their video cameras to record those precious memories, PC Retail sent its Mystery Shopper to find out what the retailers believe is the best video-editing suite for beginners.

What’s the best video-editing package for a beginner? Pt.1

PC World

Milton Keynes

This store was swarming with staff eager to get a sale – the purple shirts hovered, eyeing up the consumer catch. I walked towards the PC section and was greeted by three of them. One took over the conversation and asked me what I was looking for. I told him that I had a miniDV camcorder and wanted to start video editing, asking for his recommendations.

I was shown to the software section, the salesman’s recommendations were swift: Pinnacle’s Studio Ultimate v11 priced £89.99 with a cheaper alternative, Corel’s Video Studio v11.5 priced £59.99.

There were other software titles available, but these weren’t mentioned. The visit to the software section was relatively short lived before being moved onto hardware.

To get the best video editing experience, he thought the Toshiba x200-251 priced £1,099.99 would be suitable. This boasted a firewire connection, six USB ports, Windows Vista, 3GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, wireless, 17-inch monitor, NVIDIA GeForce 8700 graphics card and Core2Duo processor for speed. It sounded very impressive but looked too big to handle.

He also showed me a Packard Bell iMedia 2414 for £480.00 and a Acer 22-inch monitor for £150.00. Whilst this was quite an informative Mystery Shop – two software editing packages and some hardware examples as well – I would have liked a demonstration.


Milton Keynes

An assistant approached me, asking how he could help. I told him that I was keen to get into video editing and asked what he could recommend me.

He showed me Corel’s Video Studio v11.5 priced £59.99 and Pinnacle’s Studio Plus priced £69.99, adding in similar information received in PC World – the software’s ability to perform transitions, deleting sections, special effects and text. Roxio’s Creator 10 was also available on the shelf but this wasn’t brought into the conversation, much to my disappointment.

Hardware was also important he thought, recommending the HP DV6750 laptop with a 160GB hard drive, 15.4-inch screen, 2GB RAM, Windows Vista, three USB ports, remote control and a 5-in-1 card reader. He gave me a leaflet and told me to take advantage of the Staples Complete Care Plan for, ‘peace of mind.’

He was straight to the point with my needs and wants; however, I would have liked to have had more available options.


Milton Keynes

I knew it was going to be some time before I got served – this store was busy! I decided to walk up and down the narrow aisles getting in the way of other customers.

After finding someone, I explained that I was wanted to do some video editing and what could he recommend in terms of software and hardware. I was shown the camcorder section and showed me the only product sitting lonesome on the shelf. What a surprise – it was Pinnacle’s Studio Ultimate v11 priced £69.99.

This was £20.00 cheaper than PC World and the same price as Pinnacle’s Studio Plus in Staples. I asked him to explain the features as I had just started to use my new camcorder. This area wasn’t his strong point, with both of us looking at the box for inspiration.

I asked him to show me hardware which would be upto the job. "How much do you want to spend," he asked. I told him I didn’t mind as long as the machine was sufficient to support software editing. At least on this he was more positive: the HP DV9702EA priced £529 with a 17-inch monitor, 120GB hard drive. Ok – I thought. Are there any others you could suggest? "Yes – all the ones that are over £500," he said. A pretty short shopping trip – I left to carry on my search.

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