Please accept an apology up front as this is a bit of a rant about Vegas Movie Studio 14 Suite. I bought the application not long after it was release but I’m not a terribly happy customer and I’d like to help other people not make the same mistake. Most of this is up on the Movie Studio forums as well but I’ve reposted it here as I suspect it’ll get taken down.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and upgrade Movie Studio 13 Suite to Movie Studio 14 Suite, the upgrade wasn’t a lot of money (£60 I think) and it looked like it had a better interface (Movie Studio 13 had a touch screen interface which was awful). The first barrier to jump was the upgrade link in Movie Studio 13 was wrong but a quick email to support fixed that, not a great start but I’ll live with it.

I looked through the features of Movie Studio 14 Suite and figured they were basically the same as the previous version so the upgrade was worth it, I’d be able to do what I could before but with a nicer interface and a few tweaks around the edges. So, I pay my money it’s time to take my chance…

The installation procedure for Movie Studio 14 Suite is an absolute nightmare. There’s a download manager that looks like it’s going to make the process simple but in reality it results in a dozen windows popping up requiring you to create accounts here there and everywhere and put in a laundry list of serial numbers. The stuff from HitFilm is particularly bad – the window requiring you to create an account goes to FXHome, it wasn’t entirely clear to this particular novice that this is the same company that makes HitFilm.

Well I persevered and eventually everything was installed, time to play with my new toys. The new Movie Studio 14 looks good, definitely an improvement on the Movie Studio 13 interface but I’m sorry to say that’s about the limit of the positive experiences so far.

I’ll start gently, I don’t use a lot of music so it’s not a huge disappointment but shipping SonicFire with just a dozen pieces of (presumably free, I can’t find a license anywhere) music is cheap – the application is basically just a vehicle to sell more stuff which is sadly a recurring theme.

The real disappointment is NewBlueFX Titler Pro Express. It’s my own fault but I had assumed this was the same sort of thing as NewBlue Titler EX which came with Movie Studio 13 Suite – with such similar names I think I can be forgiven for the assumption. Sadly Titler Pro Express is anything but a professional tool and totally different to Titler EX. Titler Pro Express just is a very small collection of titles, lower thirds and motion bugs that just about make it over the usable line if, and only if, you are happy to use them exactly as they are because there’s essentially no options for modifying them.

The absolute worst part of this NewBlue change for me was that almost all my projects to date depend on some Titler EX features. This means none of my Movie Studio 13 projects (and some template projects I use all the time) can be edited in Movie Studio 14 unless I strip out all the Title EX features. I suppose I could reinstall Movie Studio 13 and edit old projects with that but what a backward step (and the templates are still useless). It seems Titler Pro Express is just a vehicle to try and sell you the real thing Title Pro 5 – thank’s, I really wanted to buy some advertising.

To heap even more disappointment on the pile I notice that my biggest frustration with Movie Studio 13 is still there. When you switch away and then back to Movie Studio there a pause of a few seconds while it gets itself ready. I write transcripts of my videos so I switch between Movie Studio and Word quite a bit and that pause gets really annoying. My guess is that Movie Studio tries to save memory by swapping stuff out, please give us the option to stop that.

If I could go back to before I bought the upgrade I wouldn’t have bought it. In fact the loss of Titler EX is bad enough for me that I don’t think I’d have even upgraded even if it was free. To rub salt into the wound someone mentioned HitFilm 4 Express to me, having installed that and had a play I’m starting to wonder why I’m using Movie Studio at all.

I was quite looking forward to a new an improved Movie Studio but what I’ve ended up with is a feeling like I’ve been a bit ripped off.