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Tips and tricks for Pinnacle Studio

Tips and tricks for Pinnacle Studio By saby - Last updated on Sunday, June 5, 2016
67801 Views :: 13 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 1)
Category: Pinnacle Studio 21 & S16-S20 Tutorials / General  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Sunday, September 22, 2013
Created on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:40 PM

Once is not custom I propose today an extendable tutorial. Regularly (or not) I will grow this tutorial by adding a chapter. Each chapter is a pretty basic tip or trick that can be of great service for users of Pinnacle Studio. I could see myself working on the Pinnacle forum that most of these tips may be unknown or little known to the majority of users of the software.


1) Export between two markers [published 09-22-2013] 2) A replacement for copy/paste [published 10-26-2013]
3) Solo, the badly known feature [published 11-10-2013] 4) Change the duration of several photos at the same time [published 11-15-2013]
5) Perpetual rendering [published 11-22-2013] 6) Export in AVI with any CODEC [published 11-29-2013]
7) Another tip based on a keyboard shortcut [published 12-06-2013] 8) Something about fonts [published 01-06-2014]
9) Use copy/paste in Montage Themes [published 01-12-2014] 10) Live & Let die NGStudio [published 01-17-2014]
11) The trim editor [published 01-24-2014] 12) Precisely adjust the speed effect [published 01-30-2014]
13) An ultra-fast import [published 02-06-2014] 14) A project in a project [published 02-13-2014]
15) Let's hunt disorder [published 03-15-2014] 16) Delete the text of a Montage Theme [published 03-21-2014]
17) Enter a numeric value in a parameter [published 04-09-2014] 18) Markers attached to clips [published 05-23-2014]
19) Change the number of a return to menu [published 07-17-2014] 20) Looking for my titles or my menus [published 07-02-2015]
21) Automatic FADE-IN / FADE-OUT [published 05-17-2015]  
Automatic FADE-IN and FADE-OUT discreetly documented [ published May 17th  ]

If you are looking in keyboard shortcuts User's Guide, it is one that you will not find in Appendix D... It is discreetly documented in the "Sound and music" chapter. It creates almost automatically fade-in and fade-out. I found it so convenient that I did not resist to share it with you ...

Eg on a clip:

The trick is to hold down the Ctrl key and click on the contour line to determine the points of entry and exit of fade.

  1. Start by enabling audio keyframes adjustment.
  2. To create a fade-in, hold down the Ctrl key and click in the first part of the clip on the contour line at the desired end point of fade-in.
  3. To create a fade-out, hold down the Ctrl key and click in the second part of the clip on the contour line at the desired start point of fade-out.

You will get easily the following result:

But you are still permitted to manually position the control handles, according to your old ways, like you were used... laugh

Trick discovered and published by Le Papy

Looking for My titles or My menus [published  February 7 2015]

You have reinstalled your version of Studio or you just installed a new version and you can not find in the library all your custom titles and menus. Do not panic! Add a All media Watchfolder and select the directory on your hard drive where your custom titles or menus are located :

Dossiers surveillés

Change the number of a return to menu [published July 17th 2014]

Imagine the following scenario :

  1. 2 movies absolutely identical one after the other on the timeline. The first with a voice over in English and the second with a voice over in French
  2. three menus M1, M2 and M3. Menu M1 is a language selcetion menu. In M1 a buttton pointing to M2 and a button pointing to M3
  3. in M2, 3 boutons C1, C2 and C3 pointing to chapters in the English part of the movie. At the end of this part a return to menu M2
  4. in M2, 3 boutons C1, C2 and C3 pointing to chapters in the French part of the movie. At the end of this part a return to menu M3

Here is how the timeline looks like :

Returns to menu

Problem : I would like all returns to menu pointing to M1 and not M2 or M3. How shall I do ?

That's simple, drag the return to menu M2 flag and drop it onto M1 thumbnail. Same for return to menu M3 flag. They will keep their original color but become return to menu M1.

New screenshot of the result :

Returns to menu bis

Markers attached to clips [published May 23rd 2014]

Studio allows you to insert markers on the timeline. These markers are positioned on the time scale, regardless of the clips that are on the timeline. That means that if you put a marker at a specific location of your video, if you move the clip, the marker will not move, thus won't show the same location of your video.

There is another category of markers that few people know. These markers are attached to the clip, and that changes everything. Double-click a clip to open the media editor. Then use the available markers on the mini timeline. When you you hit OK, this is what your clip is going to look like on the main timeline :

Clips markers

Markers are integrated to the clip. Whatever you do to the clip, these markers remain in place. Shorten a clip and the marker the closest of the edge will disappear. Lengthen the clip again and the marker will appear again. Magnetism is functional on these markers.

Enter a numeric value in a parameter [published april 9th 2014]

In effects, titles or Montage Themes, some parameters have numerical values.

To change these values one may have to move the orange slider of the parameter :

Choosing value with slider

Or enter them directly by typing numbers :

Enter numerical values

To activate numbers entering you must click on the gray bar but it is not always practical. Sometimes you have to click twice, but not too fast otherwise it resets the value to zero. Sometimes you have to click once, but holding the left mouse button pressed for a split second to make it work. The behavior is inconsistent.

There is a very simple and foolproof method. Click to the right of the orange cursor in the empty area :

Activate numerical value

Thanks to Le Papy who made me think to write this tip.

Delete the text of a Montage Theme [published march 21st 2014]

Some Montage Themes use text :

Text zone

You have already tried to delete this text ? You can not ! So how ?

Just hit Space and voila.

Thanks to David Hunt from Pinnacle Studio's forum for the workaround.

Let's hunt disorder [published march 15th 2014]

Sometimes Studio displays a list of medias in disorder. In fact, this is what you may believe...

For example, I have a folder with videos that are called 00001.mts up to 00046.mts. But in Studio they are displayed from 00046.mts to 00001.mts :

Mess in thumbnails

It's just that instead of being sorted according to their name, it is based on their date of registration. By right-clicking a blank area between two thumbnails I open a menu that will allow me to re-sort by name :

Sort menu

In Pinnacle Studio 17, there is even a dedicated button at the top left of the library :

Sort button

Similarly, when switching to text mode :

Text mode

to sort it out I just have to click a column header :

Sort by column

Thanks to Le Papy for the idea of this trick.

A project in a project [published february 13th 2014]

Look at the screenshot below :

Timeline including a project

Do you know what is the gray clip in the middle of the timeline ?

It's in fact a project. Indeed, a project that you have previously saved on your PC can be dragged n dropped from the library to the timeline. Once on the timeline, it behaves like a clip.
One can for example :

  • change its duration
  • trim it
  • apply any effect except speed effect

The potential uses are many : join two projects, easily apply the same effect to all the clips of a project, group certain elements of a timeline, ...

Little surprise : double-click the project that you've inserted on the timeline. A second full Studio window appears over the first. In this new window has been opened the project. You can edit it to your liking and when you close the window after clicking Save, you return to the first window and the changes you just made are taken into account. Magic !

An ultra-fast import [published February 6th 2014]

There are three ways to import media into Studio :

  • use the Import/Organize tab
  • in Windows Explorer add a file into a Watchfolder of Studio
  • click the Quick import icon of Studio

Quick import

Thanks to Le Papy discover a 4th even faster method. Simply drag n drop a media from Windows Explorer into an empty space in any tab of Studio's library  :

Drag n drop

The media will show up into the "Collections : Latest import" tab :

Latest import

Precisely adjust the speed effect [published January 30th 2014]

There are now two modes in the speed effect. The Constant mode based on anchors images and Stretch mode where the 1st and last frames of the clip are still in same place :

Speed control

The problem with the Stretch mode is the lack of slider to accurately determine the percentage of slow / fast motion. One must stretch or shorten the length of the clip with the mouse directly on the timeline.

Timeline stretching

It sorely lacks precision.
Do not panic ! Right-click the clip, Ajdjust duration and set a duration :

Adjust duration

A few maths. If the original length of your clip is 45 seconds and you want to speed it up 300 % enter 15 seconds (45 / 3). If you want to slow it down 300 % enter 135 seconds, or 2 minutes 15 seconds (45 x 3).

The trim editor [published January 24th 2014]

When it comes to fine-tune a cut point between two adjacent clips, the double preview window is a truly magical tool.

Place a trim point between two clips and a second in the same place by pressing Ctrl + mouse left-click :

Trim point insertion

From the moment a trim point has been inserted, the viewing double window is opened automatically :

Double viewing

If you move the trim point directly on the timeline with the mouse or if you modify it with the arrows in the Trim editor, the image of the out point of the first clip is displayed in the left window and the in point of the second clip is displayed in the right window. All this dynamically in real time. It is a real treat to refine your trim points !

Live & Let die NGStudio [published January 17th 2014]

You just closed Studio or it just shut himself after a crash, you want to reopen it, but nothing happens !

Have a look in the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del). There are chances that the main processes of Studio are still open. In the Processes tab, Image name column, locate NGStudio.exe, right-click and select End process tree :

Task manager

Enjoy !

Use copy/paste in Montage Themes [published January 12th 2014]

In Avid Studio one could only use media from the compact library of Montage editor. Since PS16 one can also use elements of the timeline.
Here's how : select one or more elements of the timeline, right-click on these elements + copy, right-click on a Montage theme on the timeline, Paste to dropzone and choose dropzone :

Choice of dropzone

If you open the Montage editor you see that the selected video on the timeline is now part of the Montage theme :

Final result

The advantage with this method is that video with effects can be inserted into a theme.

Something about fonts [published January 6th 2014]

You have a ton of fonts installed on your PC and thus the list of fonts in the titles editor in Studio is endless ?

Fonts list

Look in the picture above the cursor size of the vertical scrollbar. That gives you an idea of the number of fonts installed.
Suppose you want to use a font whose name starts with L. Well, type L on your keyboard and the menu will automatically position at the beginning of fonts starting with L :

Chosen zone

Simple and effective, isn't it ? cheeky

Another tip based on a keyboard shortcut [published Dec. 06th 2013]

Look at the timeline below :

Complex timeline

How to insert a clip just to the location of the arrow while keeping everything after the red arrow in synch? There are cases where Studio can not do because of multi-tracks.
A keyboard shortcut will help us : Hold down Ctrl + Shift and keep them pressed while clicking the first clip to the right of the arrow. You saw what happened? The totality of everything that is on the timeline from the clip on which you clicked is selected. All the elements to the right of the arrow show up in orange :

Ctrl + Shift effect

Now push with your mouse this set to the right, insert a clip into the space that has just been created, reselect all the right block with Ctrl + Shift and stick it back.

Here is the result :

Final result

The arrow indicates the new clip inserted. While the rest remained in sync.

This trick of Ctrl + Shift will serve you in many cases. Up to you to discover them.

Export in AVI with any CODEC [published Nov. 29th 2013]

You have a lot of DirectShow CODEC installed on your Windows and want to export an AVI with Studio using one of these CODEC ? Nothing easier : use the Custom preset of AVI export type, click Advanced and in the Encoding drop-down menu choose a CODEC.

CODEC selection

There will perhaps be some CODEC where it does not work because the export resolution or color space of your original video is incompatible with the CODEC. But that is not the fault of Studio ! wink

Perpetual rendering [published Nov. 22th 2013]

You own a computer with an overclocked Intel Xeon E5-2687 with liquid nitrogen cooling, 128 Gb of DDR3L PC10600 1333 Mhz RAM, a 800 Gb SSD VCA 2.0 PCI Express 2.0 system disk, 3 VIDIA Quadro K5000 4Gb graphic cards in SLI . It cost you so much that you had to mortgage your house and your wife filed for divorce.
And yet, every time you insert a media on the Studio timeline, you must wait that background rendering ends. There is enough to hang with a Sata cable the reseller of your PC..

So, how about have a look at Control panel of Studio and check out if Optimization would not be set to 100 Agressive ?
Menu Set up , Control panel , Preview :

Optimization treshold

It's up to you to find a good compromise in terms of the power of your PC, the type of video that you are editing and the level of background rendering you are willing to accept.

Change the duration of several photos at the same time [published Nov. 15th 2013]

You have several pictures on the timeline that you want to change the duration. Nothing is easier ! Select them all, right-click + Adjust duration and choose the time in hh:mm:ss:ff :

Modify duration

There may be a problem in some cases : only the time of the first picture of your selection is changed !
Make sure to be in Insert mode before changing the time :

Insert Mode

Solo, the badly known feature [published Nov. 10th 2013]

Please note that this trick is only for PS16 users. The problem has been solved with the arrival of PS17...

Here is a feature fully documented in the manual but Pinnacle has chosen to enable it by default. Odd choice ! So, a lot of people forget it and that is not the number of questions that can be found about it on the forums that will contradict me.

Insert a title on a video in Pinnacle Studio and try to position it precisely in the image. You see what I mean? Actually no, you do not see anything because the image behind the title is not displayed by default !

Black backgroud

To see what's going on behind, you must press the Solo button located at the bottom right of the title editor window but also effects editor :


So all medias on the tracks under the title are displayed and positionning of the title or overlaying of an effect are therefore much easier :

A replacement for copy/paste [published Oct. 26th 2013]

Have you ever tried to do a copy/paste of a part of the timeline of Pinnacle Studio ? Did you know that we could no longer do it from a track to another one ?
This restriction introduced by Pinnacle has an easy workaround :

  • select one or more elements of the timeline
  • hold down the Ctrl key and left-click with your mouse to grab elements in orange

You saw what happened? The elements have been duplicated and now you can move them on any track and any point in the timeline with the mouse while holding down the Ctrl key.

Did I already tell you that some chapters would be really short ? wink

Export between two markers [published Sept. 22nd 2013]

Like some of its predecessors, Pinnacle Studio 16 allows you to place markers on the timeline.

Markers on TL

The problem can occur when it comes to exporting a piece of video between two markers. Unlike PS15 and previous (see screenshot below), there is no drop down menu to choose the number of markers between which you want to export :

Export between markers in PS15

The first potential problem that may be encountered is if the two markers are so close and the total length of the film too long to easily distinguish these two markers on the timeline of the export window :

Markers too close

A quick timeline zooming and here you are :

Export TL zooming

This is where lies the main trick of this chapter : how to select a marker and how to decide if this is the start or end export marker ? Click on a marker with the mouse is not satisfactory because there is no magnetic function. You have little chance to select exactly the picture attached to the marker .
Let's use the icon that can move to the next or previous marker :

Markers navigator

Once the timeline cursor is positioned on a marker, to determine if this is the start or end of the export, click the appropriate icon :

In out point

You can see in the screenshot above that the start and end of the film orange sliders came to be positioned exactly on the markers. The job is done.

To be continued ....

Share/Save this article

BillC By # BillC @ Saturday, October 26, 2013 8:32 AM
Good tip on marker use for export. Thank you.
Following your instructions I believe I found a bug. When I went to EPORT there were no Marker Controls. When I changed EXPORT TYPE to File they appeared. So if you exit STUDIO EXPORT with Disc selected in EXPORT TYPE, the next time you enter STUDIO EXPORTER the Marker Controls are not there and will only show by selecting File and then going back to Disc they will remain visible.

Graham By # Graham @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 10:18 PM
Thanks for the solo tip.

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Friday, January 10, 2014 7:24 AM
Well done BillC, I managed to reproduce the problem which is probably a bug (still present with S17.0.2.137). Thanks for the information on how to get it solved with a simple procedure.


S Arnold By # S Arnold @ Sunday, March 16, 2014 5:35 PM
Regarding the bug reported by BillC and responded to by DV FX, I think it likely that it is not a bug but deliberate. After all, it would not make sense to output part only of a disc, as it could make nonsense of any menu navigation.

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Wednesday, March 19, 2014 3:09 PM
I am not completely convinced S Arnold. If I have time, I will report it to Pinnacle (right now, running out of time for everything, concentrating on most important things in life).


Valentina By # Valentina @ Wednesday, September 3, 2014 2:16 PM
Did not find how to crop/stretch video...

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, September 14, 2014 12:02 PM
Maybe: RFM ? Manual is always full of good tips and tricks, and for basic operation, you should read it please.


Joe By # Joe @ Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:34 AM
You wrote:
How to insert a clip just to the location of the arrow while keeping everything after the red arrow in synch? There are cases where Studio can not do because of multi-tracks.
A keyboard shortcut will help us : Hold down Ctrl + Shift and keep them pressed while clicking the first clip to the right of the arrow. You saw what happened? The totality of everything that is on the timeline from the clip on which you clicked is selected. All the elements to the right of the arrow show up in orange :

I very much appreciate the investment you made indeed. I really found a problem that was me too. But I tried the solution you've written, well, it does not work. Maybe I need to change something in the settings?
It would really help me a different solution if you have.

Thank you very much.

saby By # saby @ Thursday, April 16, 2015 4:54 PM
Hi Joe,

What did not work exactly ?

pnoyes By # pnoyes @ Monday, May 18, 2015 3:02 PM
I clicked on chapter six (Export in AVI with any CODEC [published Nov. 29th 2013]) and in the dialogue box there saw the Codec huffyuv. Could you please tell me how you got Pinnacle to recognize huffyuv. I struggled for a couple of weeks to get it in Pinnacle then gave up. I had to recode the file and lost 10Gb. I have got the huffyuv codec installed in Windows/SysWOW64 but Pinnacle doesn't find it.

saby By # saby @ Monday, May 18, 2015 5:46 PM
That's an old VFW 32 bits version that you see in the screenshot.

pnoyes By # pnoyes @ Wednesday, May 20, 2015 2:23 AM
Regardless of which version of PS it is, I wanted to know if Studio 18 plus can work with huffyuv?

John By # John @ Friday, September 4, 2015 7:41 AM
Re : "How to insert a clip just to the location of the arrow while keeping everything after the red arrow in synch?":

Great tip (and tips altogether) - thank you - odd that some old versions of Pinnacle could achieve this sort of thing without having to resort to this type of workaround. One issue. I cannot insert a clip without pushing the various forward tracks out of sync again? The only way I seem to be able to pull them all back into sync, after pulling the "right block" back, is to copy and insert the inserted clip into each of the "non-synced" tracks, pushing the non-synced clips out be an equal amount (if that makes sense!). Very clunky indeed. Am I doing something wrong?

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