Tuesday, 12 May 2015

MAGIX VIDEO X7 PRO REVIEW SYNAPSE CIRCUIT

Essentially the Magix Video X7 Pro is as easy as pie to use with great cost effective features. It gives the competition a good run for the money! Is it for you? Read on!
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
MAGIX VIDEO X7 PRO
REVIEW
£349

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It is so wonderful to see you as ever! I hope that all is well with you and that the weather is treating you just fine! I also hope that your tech is behaving as it should!

If you are looking to up your video editing game then this professional video editing suite from Magix could be for you! Here's what I think...

#MAGIX #VideoX7Pro #VideoEditing

ASSEMBLY
Yes, video has come a long, long way... Who would have thought that it would be possible to capture 4K video let alone 1080p? And who would have thought that some of these super-smartphones would produce results of dedicated devices. These days I combine video (and photos) from various sources: Samsung Galaxy S4, S6 Edge, Note 2 and Note 4, Canon PowerShot SX220 HS and my JVC semi-pro camcorder... I can’t even remember the model as I hardly find use for it. No, I wasn’t trying to show off but to give you an idea as to the way I find myself working these days... I rarely find the use for my dedicated JVC semi-pro as the Canon handles itself pretty well and I can augment video shoots with material coming from the smartphones.

When it comes to editing I have to say that I have a preference to the Magix video software for a multitude of reasons:-

1. Although I started out using Adobe Premier I found that Magix software offers great value for money multimedia software. Many people tend to pirate Adobe software or make use of the free outdated ones but I prefer ownership and therefore I invested in Magix software. In fact I started doing some video editing through the Music Maker software! Then eventually I invested into the editing software to what it is today on the prosumer front, Movie Edit Pro and now I have been fortunate to test the professional version, Video X7 Pro.

2. Simplicity; my style is to just shoot what I want and assemble it in the Movie Edit Pro or Music Maker – depending on the nature of the video i.e. for fun or for work (I sometimes get called out to do a shoot every once in a while). Movie Edit Pro gives me what I want and, again, at a reasonable cost when compared to Adobe. For the most part I find Magix software very intuitive and I only need to consult a manual or tutorial video if I want to achieve something more complex.

3. Audio; because Magix has, in my opinion, perfected the art of audio composition, editing and mastering and the sound quality has to be heard to be believed. Yes, indeed, I do appreciate the audio side of the Magix multimedia software equation. It’s just amazing how audio can enhance visuals. These days it is so easy, effortless to get good looking video from various devices but sometimes it isn’t always easy to get a great sound. Video footage shot with a smartphone can be spoiled by wind and ambient noises and Magix audio cleaning software (Video Sound Cleaning Lab) can rescue the audio.

There you have it, my 3 reasons for choosing Magix Movie Edit Pro and let’s see if the spell has worked with the Video X7 Pro!

PRO BONO?
Above: This is the awesome virtual mixing desk and the Mastering Suite.

What attracted me to Video X7 Pro is the word / abbreviation “pro”. I already found that I could put my videos together fairly easily with Movie Edit Pro which retails at £89.99. What would I be able to do with a video editor that costs almost x4 as much? I am expecting great possibilities with Video X7 Pro!

After installing Video X7 Pro I noticed straightaway that the interface had been clean up somewhat; the interface is very inviting and conducive to the task of video editing. Yes, the interface is familiar if you have ever used Magix multimedia products such as Music Maker Premium and Movie Edit Pro but visually the Video X7 Pro looks the part of a professional editing set-up.

I then installed some of the plug-ins such as the MP4 compatibility that enables - you’ve guessed it - the importation of MP4 files. Then I got into the business of importing my video files that I had shot with the JVC camcorder. What surprised me straight away upon playing the footage back was how the sound was optimized – clean and clear! I also loved the mixing desk of the Video X7 Pro interface; it is just like a recording studio and what’s more is that it is compatible with VST effects! Whoohoo! But I didn’t need to use the effects as the audio came out nice! I quickly put some bits and pieces of the pre-recorded footage together and exported it as an MP4 file and the audio was great on playback! Hopefully, I will be able to let you watch some footage assembled in Video X7 Pro.

At that point, for me, the extra expense is most definitely worth it for the audio features alone. One of the things I found slightly disappointing was that I didn’t find the removal of unwanted noise immediate like I have done with the Audio Cleaning Lab (I’ve yet to use the Video Cleaning Lab).

TWEAKING
As for the video footage itself there are facilities to correct colours / exposure – it’s like what Photoshop is to photographers! I did experiment with adjusting these colour correction parameters and was quite taken aback with the results! That’s something you ought to try out for yourselves when you get it (Video X7 Pro). There’s also a great slow motion effect to bring out a sense of dynamics in your projects i.e. sports, dance and artistic film styles. There are some very usable transition effects to boot! Usually many of the transition effects are unusable because they are cheesy for serious productions. Me? I prefer simple fades in my productions. I can see myself using some of those blur transitions for more artistic productions – they also lend themselves to action i.e. sports!

The professional will be glad to know that parts of footage can be pixelated or have a black “censor” bar placed on faces and to disguise number plates for example.

ODDS & GLITCHES
Above: The wonderful Jennifer Saunders being interviewed at the Carnival. Moreover, what I wanted to show you is the brilliant Sorenson Squeeze program that can act as not only a master video compressor to create video compressions for various usage i.e. web, Bluray, mobile devices, etc. Sorenson Squeeze can also act as a file converter. 
Note: When copying video files from one source to another the process can create corrupt files. As I transfered some video files the Windows (crap) operating system shut down on me as the file (as seen above - after conversion) was being copied. When I imported into Magix Video X7 Pro it just wouldn't play. It took some head scratching to realize that the file became corrupt. However, Sorenson Squeeze (version 9) managed to rescue the footage! So, let that be a lesson to you: to ensure the integrity of your video files be sure to have no programs running in the background that can disturb the process as simple as it may appear!

For the most part the interface is really, really efficient and allows for projects to be put together rapidly there were times when I got confused... At one time I had 3 different versions of a project opened and when I closed them all and went back to edit the one project that I was satisfied with and all three projects opened at once. I threw a bit of a wobbly as I thought that I had lost the vital version of a project. I then realized that the project was there amongst the other two. At that point I wished that I had the option to just bring in the one project instead of multiples.

I noticed some little glitches when zooming in and out of the workspace... Sometimes I would lose my place in the edit and had to scramble to look for where I was. And sometimes scrolling would behave like an elastic band with moving faster than my motion to scrub through the tracks. These glitches will no doubt be fixed in updates and they aren’t too bad. I mean... When working fast with the objectivity to meet a deadline the last thing you need are these glitches. Still, I the interfaced allowed me to work very quickly!

GAME CHANGING
Above: The virtual mixing desk that you will be familiar with if you have other Magix software such as Music Maker! Here I managed to filter out some of the noise on the audio. 

Without a doubt Video X7 Pro is an editing suite aimed at the professional. However, the price tag is just within reach of the ambitious amateur / semi-pro. It takes footage from just about every video camera going! There’s support for 3D (not that many people are using it as it didn’t turn out to be the revolution it was hyped to be) and 4K video!

I can see Video X7 Pro being used by a wide range of industry professionals:-

Music Video Production.

TV Drama / Entertainment.

Video Filmmakers – including documentaries.

Vloggers – it might seem overkill when other cheaper editors will do but the extras are great and well worth the money spent. With today’s smartphone cameras and inexpensive hanycams / camcorders it’s easy to bring in footage from multiple sources and stitch the whole thing together! I personally like mixing footage taken from different sources as the resulting qualities gives the video multi-dimensions like when you watch a TV show, for example, and edit shows the viewpoint of a domestic camcorder from the high quality professional camera used to record the show. I find footage from different sources can add something to a video. But I digress...

If you happen to be a part of a video production team and have access to different cameras Video X7 Pro can give you multiple camera inputs on 9 tracks in real time depending on your system! This is great if you are planning on creating shows for YouTube that look like proper TV shows! As a onetime member of a video production crew I can tell you just how easier getting footage from multiple cameras has gotten. Again, you can use just about any digital camera, smartphone and a slew of prosumer cameras right up to the hardcore pro camera!

Sticking with being a part of a small production team you can edit on the fly using a combination of Movie Edit Touch for Android and Windows mobile and transfer to the PC to finish the project. I do so love these smartphones that can take high quality full HD video up to 4K!

EXTRAS
There is so much going for Video X7 Pro that I didn’t have time to go into but you can create DVD / Bluray discs (as one was able to do with Movie Edit Pro) and it is compatible with plug-ins from proDAD, NewBlueFX and Red Giant; it comes with proDAD Mercalli V4 to remove camera shakes! So, if you have Movie Edit Premium that came with these plug-ins you should, in theory, be able to use them with Video X7 Pro! Plus HDR effects too!

CONCLUSION
Once again, I am not going to use all those extras such as these transition and similar visual effects as it is not my style. But the audio capabilities and the possibility to adjust colours are truly outstanding for me. I did find myself using the secondary preview screen a lot to line up the next part of a scene.

I would definitely recommend Magix Video X7 Pro to the serious video filmmaker – including YouTube vloggers. In fact I have been thinking about presenting on video instead of doing all this writing! Who knows? Watch this space!

The system I used to test Video X7 has the following specs:-

Intel i7 CPU 2.80 GHz
8 GB RAM
& 1TB hard drive

The video playback was very smooth and pleasing. I did notice that exporting video to the MP4 format took ages for a 20-odd minute project! I think it took about 1hr and 20 mins to export. Here’s a tip: Before exporting a video you should save the project and reboot the system so that you free up all that RAM that has been used up. Doing so will have you avoid errors that I experienced with exporting.

As always, the bigger and faster the system the better a program of this nature will perform!

SCORE
Despite the minor glitches I do think that Video X7 Pro deserves a Synapse Circuit Platinum as I was able to use it intuitively without referring to any manual video tutorial. The interface is menu driven which could be a pain for some but I am used to the Magix interface and I knew straightaway how to put together a little 20-odd minute video in a few hours.

Over the years I have used many video editors and Video X7 Pro is the best thus so far! The price is just about right for a one-person army and practically a giveaway to a small production team – just don’t fallout as there is bound to be a bloody fight for the ownership of this video editing marvel!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
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