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-- by Serdar Yegulalp
Corel Lumiere is the bargain matinee of video-creation products. If you're interested in producing prepackaged video-to-go presentations or home videos, and don't mind spending a little extra time in rendering, then don't miss it.
Just like Hollywood rewards success by mimicking plots and scenarios, Lumiere borrows its look and feel from Adobe's award-winning Premiere. Novice users will find it easy to assemble video clips in Lumiere, since it's mostly a drag-and-drop operation. The program makes good educated guesses about where to snap the boundaries of clips and transitions, cutting down the amount of work needed just to splice things in place. It uses professional-grade features such as video filters (from Corel's Photo-Paint, which is bundled with Lumiere) and chroma-key effects.
Lumiere's SmartSound Wizard lets you add music and sound effects from lists of thematic categories. When you're selecting from the huge gallery of transitions (fade-ins, dissolves, wipes and so forth), Lumiere once again borrows from Premiere, offering short graphic demonstrations of how the transitions work to give you an idea of what the effect will look like. Although the previews are low-res and lack the frames-per-second smoothness of the final rendering, they take just minutes to build.
Once your video footage is in place, Lumiere offers a host of output options, with the appropriate frame rates and aspect ratios preset. Choices include film, NTSC tape, PAL tape, 32-bit QuickTime for Windows, Microsoft Video 1, Intel Indeo and Presentation-with your choice of small, medium or large, depending on the multimedia power of your computer. Again, this canned approach will help Lumiere's novice target market finish quickly, without understanding the arcana of each format.
Rendering performance was slower than we expected, but acceptable for the casual user. The program rendered a simple 30-second, one-transition clip at 320x200 resolution; it took approximately 2 minutes to build using a Pentium 166 with 64MB of RAM.
Lumiere is missing features that Adobe Premiere 4.2, our WinList recommended product, offers in spades, such as an interface for an external editing controller. And its slow rendering and emphasis on canned settings may disappoint professionals. That's enough to keep it off the WinList, but, at $99, Lumiere is still quite an eyeful.