If not, there are many options out there. Pinnacle Studio may not be as highly rated as Final Cut or Premiere, but it is a very powerful package, and in a different league to basic editors such as iMovie.
I've just started with it myself, and find it straightforward to use, but if you're new to video editing, or haven't moved beyond iMovie (or the even more basic Windows Movie Maker), it will take you a while to get used to it.
The best way to do that? Use it. Not to 'practice', but simply to edit video - practice film exercises, or vodcasts to better present your research. You could also spend time with it for non-Media or even non-school work. The more time you spend using it the more familiar it will become (and this will prepare you for other video editors; they may look different but there are common elements across most).
Pinnacle was bought up first by Avid then Corel; it is effectively the offspring of three big name software companies.
VIDEO CAN BE SLOW...
Video is best to get you started, but once you start looking for more specific guides and instructions do consider looking for text-based step-by-step guides too, which can be much quicker to use, and without the potentially annoying quirkiness of some of the presenters.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN'T FREE?
Unlike Final Cut, I can't see any paid-for online courses (indeed, you can gain Apple certificates in Final Cut!) on the likes of Lynda.com for Pinnacle Studio. However, there is a 2013 guide book by Jeff Naylor, listed at £30 on Amazon UK. This offers a series of tutorials as well as a reference guide.
|This might be a useful investment|
There aren't as many online guides as there are for the big two, Final Cut and Premiere, but there are enough to get you going, and to enable you to master more advanced techniques once you're familiar with the basics of importing, organising and editing.
Here are three free options for you. Free, non-subscription, YouTube videos can be a little quirky; Bai speaks in a heavy Spanish accent, while PinnacleStudioPro is a flamboyant American who tries to entertain as he explains, but both know what they're talking about! Pinnacle itself provides guides, though they don't seem too bothered about keeping these up to date with new versions. I've downloaded Studio 18; you may be using Studio 17.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR LEARNING EDITING SOFTWARE
The short version: take notes and collaborate!
Pen and paper are key tools for editing. When creating the 2014 documentary, which clocked in at over 90 minutes, I ended up with about 50 sides of handwritten notes, and copied screenshots into Word of Finder (the Mac equivalent of My Computer) folders for quick access to file names, numbering these and adding lots of notes. I also wrote notes on settings for elements I would use more than once, or might want to use in future projects: titles I'd resized and repositioned for example.
A jotter would be best, as loose paper tends to get lost.
Back this up with both screenshots and screen recordings: as you learn each new tool, briefly blogging on this is useful, not only helping you find instructions for tools you've forgotten how to use but also giving you material for the eventual Evaluation videos. If you've spent a while playing around with settings for a title or shot effect, it would be wise to screenshot these - you can simply type in the figures the next time you want to achieve/use this.
OPTION 1: PINNACLESTUDIOPRO
a website to go with the YouTube channel, offering further guidance on filming techniques as well as editing. Indeed, 'PSP' (as I'll call him for short) often looks at the shoot behind edited footage, for example going through the ideal lighting setup and common issues with green screen shoots, not just the Pinnacle tools for editing this footage.
Visit his channel and this video will autoplay
His website contains some straightforward advice; here he is on music videos, suggesting you do precisely what you've been instructed to do before launching into production:
|PSP's advice continues here.|
PSP has organised his work into clear playlists.
He has playlists for Pinnacle Studio 18 and for Pinnacle Studio 17 (plus earlier versions). I've embedded his Pinnacle 17 playlist below. Note that his playlist doesn't appear to be in any logical order; I've set it to start with the last one on the list of 13 videos, 'Basic Editing Tutorial'.
OPTION 2: BAI
Bai's PINNACLE STUDIO 17 TUTORIAL PLAYLIST
As I noted above, this is a less comprehensive tutorial list than PSP offers, but if you prefer her style then you should use these to get you started with Pinnacle. Unlike PSP's, these are in a logical order.
FOUND OTHER GOOD ALTERNATIVES, OR HAVE TIPS?
Then please share! Add a URL and brief description (this might be to a blog post you have done) as a comment and I'll add any I receive to this post.