Here at KitGuru we don’t often find the time to look at the latest software offerings on the market but occasionally we make an exception. There are a number of different video editing packages available on the market from a number of companies to make your own professional movies.
Today we are going to look at Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 9 which is the most recent version of their video editing software. There are two versions of PowerDirector 9 available: Deluxe and Ultra64. As the name suggests, the latter ‘Ultra64’ version natively supports 64-bit while the lesser ‘Deluxe’ version only supports 32-bit. We will be testing the Ultra64 version of this software in this review which is around £15 more expensive than the deluxe version.
Cyberlink are actually the first company to market with consumer level 64-bit video editing software and the advantages are noticeable all round. In fact video editing is one of the tasks that benefits the most from 64-bit operation due its RAM-intensive nature and the memory restrictions with 32-bit software. Sure, this will only make a difference if you have more than 4GB or RAM in your system but most systems these days have a minimum of 4GB.
The ‘TrueVelocity’ rendering engine has various other attributes to enhance its performance. Cyberlink’s TrueVelocity Parallel and TrueVelocity Accelerator technologies help to embrace all the power that is available from your system by utilising GPGPU technology and all the Available CPU cores when rendering video. TrueVelocity Rapid Effect can also utilise GPU computing to preview effects instantly on video. We tested PowerDirector 9 using our Intel Core-i7 920 test system which has 6GB of Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 memory and a Zotac GeForce GTX 470 graphics card and it coped very well through all our tests.
Cyberlink have implemented their TrueTheatre technologies in PowerDirector which allow you to enhance video, correct colour, adjust white balance, denoise video and adjust lighting. All of these effects can be previewed in a split screen between which compares to the original video.
We were pleasantly surprised by the intuitive user interface that Cyberlink have implemented as it breaks down the production process well and would makes it easy for new users to find everything they need. The production process is split into four different steps: Capture, Edit, Produce and Create Disk. The ‘Capture’ step lets us import video from a variety of different sources including HDV and AVCHD camcorders, webcams and television signals.
Once the video has been imported, we can then move on to Step 2, editing the video. In the edit window, the top half of the page is occupied by the project bin and preview window while the bottom half is reserved for the timeline. The project bin not only allows us access to all the imported video but also to all the different effects, titles and transitions that PowerDirector has to offer by using the tabs on the left. We have integrated some of these effects and transitions into our sample video below to give you an idea of what’s on offer.
Moving items from the project bin to the timeline is as simple as dragging and dropping them into place. The clips can then be trimmed and edited if required and then you can drag and drop transitions and effects in too. Another great feature of PowerDirector is the ability to recover the trimmed sections of the video clips in the timeline without having to insert the original clip and edit it again.
With the upgrade to 64-bit, Cyberlink has upped the maximum number of video and audio layers to 100 which should be more than ample even for enthusiasts. Another really neat feature of PowerDirector 9 is the native support of dual monitors where the software uses the second monitor for the video preview.
The impressive interface continues under the ‘Produce’ tab which really couldn’t be any easier to use and has all the options we could possibly ask for. There is complete Facebook and Youtube integration and there are presets for almost every device we could think of. Alternatively you can configure all the settings yourself or create a disc using the fourth tab. If you use the ‘create a disk’ option you can create your own custom menus and then burn to VCD, DVD, BluRay or AVCHD.
We decided to make a short home movie of our own with PowerDirector using a few of the effects and transitions it has to offer. We were then able to use the inbuilt function to upload it to youtube. Unfortunately we didn’t have an HD camcorder available at the time so we were stuck with our very budget friendly Panasonic SDR-S50 SD camcorder. The results of this can be seen in the video above.
On the whole, we are very impressed with what Cyberlink have created in their latest edition of PowerDirector. But we have to say that we don’t really see the point of opting for the Deluxe version when there are so many benefits of the Ultra64 version that we have on test today. At a price of £75 from Cyberlink, PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 might be a little out of reach for the average consumer but for those who take video editing seriously, it is well worth a consideration. Considering the Deluxe version is only £15 less, we can’t see why anyone would opt for this instead of Ultra64 with all its bells and whistles.
KitGuru says: A great piece of software that is sure to whet the appetites of home movie enthusiasts