It’s a good time to be a video editor as not only there are tons of job opportunities for video editors out there but also the cost of becoming a video editor has been on a constant decline over the years. No longer you are required to invest hundreds of dollars into what were considered to be good video editing programs as now you can get very capable video editing programs for prices well within the hundred dollar mark. When I think of a true budget video editing software, there are two that instantly come to the mind. The first is the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum while the other one is the Pinnacle Studio.

While both of them are good, we wanted to see which one of the two is the true champion budget video editing software. That’s why we tested both of them on the same hardware and using same video editing conditions to see which one rose to the top. This article is the result of that battle. So, if you are someone who is interested in video editing and looking for the best budget video editing software out there, check out this article where we pit VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum and the Pinnacle Studio against each other to see which one is the best:

Note: We tested both the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum and Pinnacle Studio under the same conditions using the same Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop.

Specifications and Hardware Requirements

Before we test out both of these programs to see how they perform in real life, let us first check out their specifications and hardware requirements. You can find all the relevant details in the table attached below.

NameVEGAS Movie Studio PlatinumPinnacle Studio
Program Size1.5GB8GB
Operating SystemWindows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 (64-Bit)Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 (64-Bit)
Processor2 GHz processor (multicore recommended for HD or stereoscopic 3D editing)Intel Core i3 or AMD A4 3.0 GHz or higher
RAM4GB Minimum (8GB Recommended)4GB Minimum (8GB Recommended)
GPU Memory512MBMinimum 256MB (512MB or higher recommended)
Supported GPUNVIDIA, AMD or Intel GPUNVIDIA, AMD or Intel GPU
Number of Video TracksUnlimited Tracks6
Video Import FormatHEVC, AVC/AAC, AVI (including DV) HDV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMVAVCHD, DV, HDV, AVI, MPEG-1/-2/-4, DivX, Flash, 3GP (MPEG-4, H.263), WMV, and more
Video Export FormatAVC/AAC, AVI (includes DV), HDV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, MOV, AVCHD, RM, MVC, XAVC-SJPS, BMP, GIF, JPG, PCX, PSD, TGA, TIF, WMF, PNG, J2K
Audio Import FormatAA3, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG Vorbis, PCA, SND, W64, WAV, WMAMP3, MPA, M4A, WAV, AMR, AC3, AAC, Vorbis, WMA
Audio Export FormatAIFF, FLAC, LPEC, MP3, OGG Vorbis, PCA, W64, WAV, WMADolby Digital 2-channel
Picture Import FormatGIF, JPEG, PNG, WDP, BMPJPS, BMP, GIF, JPG, PCX, PSD, TGA, TIF, WMF, PNG, J2K
Picture Export FormatBMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WDP, WMPhoto, DDS, DPX, EXRJPEG, TIF, TGA, BMP

As you can see in the table above, both VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum and Pinnacle Studio require almost the same hardware to run. It’s clear that hardware is not a restriction while choosing between the two. That said, when it comes to the software specifications itself, you will notice that the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum is a bit more powerful than the Pinnacle Studio as the former supports more simultaneous video tracks than the latter. It means that if you want to handle a big project, VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum will be a better solution for you. That said, not everyone needs to handle a project which uses more than 6 video tracks. So, let’s see how each one of them perform in the real editing and exporting circumstances.

User Interface

Both VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum and Pinnacle Studio have their own take on the user interface of the software. While on the surface, both of them will look like any other video editing software, dig a little bit deeper and you will find that their user interface is strikingly different from each other. When it comes to the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum, the company has tried to put all the editing tools that you need right in your hands. That means, you are always just a few clicks away from the tools that you want to access.

User Interface for vegas
VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum

On the other hand, with Pinnacle Studio, the overall interface is pretty simple and most of the tools are hidden behind sub-menus. While this makes it a little harder to access these tools, on the surface, the software is also a lot more easier to use especially if you are a newbie. Coming back to the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum, another thing that I like about this software is that it is highly customizable. The ability to create custom workspaces which fits your needs is just genius and I love it. Although Pinnacle Studio also allows you to do a similar thing, you will need to pay more to unlock this feature as it is only available in their higher-tier products.

User Interface for Pinnacle
Pinnacle Studio 21.5

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are just beginning your journey as a video editor, you will like Pinnacle Studio more, as the UI is easier to get used to and all the general tools are available right there. However, as soon as you grow out of your beginner phase, you will find VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum more useful as even more advanced tools are also easily accessible. So, it really depends on your preferences as to which approach you like better. For me, VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum’s approach is better than Pinnacle Studio as the latter is mainly banking on the fact that its users will not progress in their video editing journey and will keep liking its simple user interface.

Editing

When it comes to editing, there’s no doubt that VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum is better than the Pinnacle Studio. In my testing, the former completely outperformed the latter whether you consider the ease of access to advanced tools, rendering the effects while timeline editing, or performance. I tested both these softwares using a 9-minute 1080p video and I constantly found the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum to be a better editing environment. That said, it’s considering the fact that you are using advanced editing tools such as multiple timelines, multiple effects and transitions, animation presets, color correction, and more.

Editing in VEGAS
VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum

I also love VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum more as it supports real-time editing which is a fancy way of saying that all your effects are rendered in real-time and you never have to stop your workflow while waiting for the changes to take effect. One other major advantage of using VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum over its competition is that it brings iZotope RX Elements support which is the best tool for easily editing and repairing your audio while also removing all the unwanted noise. The addition of iZotope RX Elements along with better color correction tools give VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum a very big edge over the Pinnacle Studio. So, if you are considering a software which is not meant for just editing your family videos, VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum will be a better choice.

Editing in Pinnacle
Pinnacle Studio 21.5

Exporting

For the export test, I used the same 9 minute 1080p video and exported it into an H.264 encoded video format. To make sure that both the system were using the same files, I didn’t use any fancy tools and kept the editing to a minimum. Finally, I added a background score which was a small .MP3 file and hit export. In our export tests, VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum once again out-performed the Pinnacle Studio, that said, the performance difference was not as pronounced as we have seen in other sections of this comparison.

Exposting in vegas
VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum

That’s why we ran the same test a couple of times using different video files. Seeing the results of all our tests, we came to the conclusion that the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum is anywhere between 15-20% faster when compared to Pinnacle Studio while exporting a project. While this might not seem like a big difference if you consider one project, this definitely adds up over multiple projects and you can save a lot of time if you are using the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum.

Exporting in Pinnacle
Pinnacle Studio 21.5

Pricing and Availability

When it comes to pricing, you can get the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum for $79.99 while the Pinnacle Studio is available for $59.95. As you can see the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum costs a bit more than the Pinnacle Studio, however, the features offered by Vegas more than justify the price difference. Both these pieces of software are available to buy right now from their respective websites which are linked below.

VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum vs. Pinnacle Studio: Conclusion

As it is clear from the article, both the Pinnacle Studio and VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum are capable entry-level video editing software. However, depending on your needs you might prefer one over the other. If you are just starting out and need a video editing software which you are going to use for home video projects and have no intention of learning advanced video editing skills, the simple editing interface of Pinnacle Studio might appeal to you. However, if you need a video editing software that’s advanced, fast, supports unlimited tracks, has customizable workspaces and more, the VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum is a better choice for you.

Personally, I would prefer VEGAS over Pinnacle any day. If I am spending money, I make sure that I am getting my money’s worth, and VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum is certainly the better choice for me here. But what about you? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Buy VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum: $79.99

Buy Pinnacle Studio 21.5: $59.95

2 COMMENTS

  1. You nailed. I ‘graduated’ from Pinnacle to VEGAS MS. Then from MS to Pro. I absolutely LOVE it. Convinced a friend to go VEGAS over Pinnacle. And yes, we are still friends.

  2. Not really a fair comparison. You compared the “Standard” edition of Pinnacle Studio to the “Platinum” edition of Vegas Movie Studio. You should have used the “Ultimate” edition of Pinnacle Studio. Pinnacle Studio 21.5 Ultimate has unlimited tracks, like Vegas Platinum. The standard ed. of Pinnacle is extremely limited. I have Vegas Pro 15 and Pinnacle Studio 21.5 Ultimate. I prefer Pinnacle.

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