Cyberlink PowerDirector 8 Ultra Video Editing Software.
Cyberlink PowerDirector 8 Ultra is a powerful video editor, and its interface is stylish and friendly when you work with it in full screen mode. This latest version of the program introduces a number of usability improvements and new features, most compellingly the TrueTheater video correction and enhancement tool. On the other hand, the upgrade fixes none of the previous version's interface faults, such as its tendency to obscure tools when you run the program at less than full screen. Since I like to multitask, these drawbacks have begun to grate on me a bit.
I was pleased with the newly resizable panes for Media (where you add files), Preview (where you watch your movie), and Timeline (where you assemble the movie) in version 8's Edit window. Cyberlink nicely revamped the Produce window (where you select the output format and the location) as well. Formerly presented over a series of three step through dialog boxes, all options now appear on a single page that fills the main window. Version 8 also reworks the 'Create disc' pane so that you can view the content of the disc and the menu structure in tree diagram form.
Regrettably, due to a lack of scrollbars, if you don't run the program at full screen, you won't be able to see some critical components. Also, when you set the Windows task bar to hide automatically, PowerDirector blocks access to it, forcing you to click Ctrl Esc to display it. I gave version 6 and even version 7 a pass on these and other interface problems, expecting Cyberlink to fix them in free updates. The company has assured me that corrective code will finally be available within the next month as a free update.
Welcome new features include TrueTheater HD up sampling, video stabilization, audio and video denoise tools, motion frame interpolation, three music tracks (up from one in version 7), and nine picture in picture tracks (up from six). You also get a new particle FX library for overlaying such elements as snow falling.
When a company keeps its word, I think you should know about it. Cyberlink sent me the latest version of PowerDirector 8, and all work areas are resized with the main window so that all controls are visible at all times. Nice job, folks. Since this change corrects the main shortcoming I identified in the original version of the PowerDirector 8, I now have no hesitation in recommending the program.
If you want speed, I've got your video editing app. CyberLink PowerDirector 8 is the fastest of the current crop of video editors for the PC. CyberLink's claim to fame, according to the company, is optimized performance for different types of hardware. That certainly holds true here; the latest version includes enhancements for Intel's Core i7 processors. That said, PowerDirector 8's interface remains a bit stubborn and difficult to understand, and the app is missing a few key effects. Still, it's a solid choice for powerful video editing on the cheap.
On average, the app started up within just nine seconds. On each startup, it presents you with a blank project. This was most conducive to getting to work immediately, before losing your inspiration. In comparison, Pinnacle took over 20 seconds, and Premiere Elements took over 40 seconds and even failed to start up properly on occasion. CyberLink splits the main interface into three sections: a preview window on the top right, a content browser on the top left, and a timeline at the bottom. Four basic modes selectable with color coded buttons let you capture footage (from a DV camcorder, TV or DTV signal, or the built-in Web cam), edit footage, produce your final product, and create a disc.
Across the top left, there's a column of icons that correspond to various object types. For example, you can browse recorded media clips in the Media Room. You can also sift through effects, which massage or transform video quality. There are also dedicated rooms for picture in picture video, as well as particles which overlay on top of videos as extra layers, for things like falling slow, bubbles, and graduation hats. Several of these were fun, but most just looked silly. The Title Room adds dialog boxes and other text overlays, while the Transition Room lets you crossfade clips with blurs, flames, broken glass, flips, and other effects. Audio mixing and voiceover rooms cover sound duties, and chapter and subtitle rooms let you break up content for burning onto a disc.
PowerDirector's UI doesn't scale particularly well; you'll need a big monitor with high resolution to avoid hiding toolbar buttons. The app hard-crashed on me once, in the middle of working with a default theme. Other times, despite all the work CyberLink did to enable background processing, the interface froze up and didn't respond to mouse clicks for seconds at a time. Still, this only happened occasionally; for the most part, PowerDirector ran very smoothly.
Performance and Production:
The video preview window looked super sharp, and showed none of the jerkiness of Premiere Elements 8, or the requisite small size of Pinnacle Studio 14. That made adding multiple clips to the timeline and trying out different arrangements simple. In fact, just about everything I tried felt super fast compared to Premiere Elements 8 and Pinnacle Studio 14. When I imported a series of 720p HD video clips, the program asked to create shadow files for the video in order to speed up the editing process. The import itself only took a few seconds; PowerDirector continued to create the shadow files in the background as I got back to work.
TrueTheater HD, a new feature, upscales standard definition content for improved HD output; it won't cover for poor-quality footage, but helps in blending in clips from different sources without jarring viewers. In fact, CyberLink matches Premiere Elements in terms of layered effects and edits, Chroma key controls, and other advanced features. But CyberLink and Pinnacle both lack Premiere Elements' sophisticated "Smart-Fix" style tools.
Producing finished videos is also simple. Click the Produce tab, and you'll see clearly laid out options for all kinds of delivery formats. The File tab lets you choose among AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (portable), as well as H.264, WMV, and even RM (RealMedia) and MOV (QuickTime) output formats. Camcorder will write the production back to DV, HDV, or HDD. The last two tabs share videos to YouTube or Facebook, at up to 720p HD resolution in both cases.
A Few Quirks and Conclusions:
Although PowerDirector is fast, it's beginning to feel a little behind the times in other areas. The app seems geared toward capturing content and authoring discs, but it's not as useful for those importing clips from flash based devices like cell phones or Flip camcorders. There's no easy way to add movie-style titles and end credits. Adobe Premiere Elements 8 makes this much simpler and offers plenty of styles to choose from.
Few video editors are as capable as PowerDirector. Adobe Premiere Elements 8 offers an easy to use interface, and is probably a better buy if you're also doing a lot of photo editing, due to its bundle pricing with the excellent Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. Pinnacle Studio 14 is easier to use than PowerDirector, offering a dead-simple interface that gets you started assembling clips and previewing your movie in seconds. But it's also not nearly as capable, and it doesn't include any of PowerDirector's high-end hardware optimizations. Novice users and those who value ease over power would be better off with either Premiere Elements 8 or Pinnacle Studio 14. But for power users looking for a comprehensive video editor that can meet their need for speed, CyberLink PowerDirector 8 Ultra is the clear winner.
Powerful Video Editing with Unlimited Possibilities:
CyberLink PowerDirector 8 Ultra is an easy to use yet powerful video editing software application. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, PowerDirector makes video editing an enjoyable experience. It features many new video enhancement and editing tools to let you create great videos. Upscaling technology will help improve your video quality with just a click of a button. Designer tools and more timeline tracks offer even more power, and you can simply spice up your projects by downloading any of 13,000+ free effects and templates already uploaded to DirectorZone.com, PowerDirector's online community. With broad format support and the options to upload videos to YouTube & Facebook, or output to on the go media players, you can share your creations with anyone and everyone.
Quick and Easy Video Enhancing:
A host of new tools and technologies are designed to save editing time and improve your video quality. Leveraging PowerDVD's video enhancing TrueTheater technology, PowerDirector delivers HD like results from standard definition content by upscaling video resolution, smoothing out playback in slow motion and enabling virtual surround sound. With easy to use settings, PowerDirector's TrueTheater technologies fix common video shooting errors such as extreme backlighting, poor white balance, and inadequate lighting.
Achieve Pro Results:
PowerDirector 8's suite of design tools for creating titles, animated objects, and disc menus now offers a Particle Effects Designer, letting you experiment with movie like special effects. As with PowerDirector's other design tools, particle effects can be uploaded and shared with other users on DirectorZone, PowerDirector's community website. Enjoy working with more editing tools such as Reverse, Crop, Speed and Rotate video tools. For precise trimming, retain frame level control with the patented Zoom In Cut™. While the expanded 16-track timeline offers more creative possibilities including the ability to cut & paste sequences to other parts of your production.
The first consumer video editing software to be optimized for Intel Core i7, NVIDIA CUDA, and ATI Stream technology, PowerDirector delivers up to 5X faster performance for rendering effects and transcoding videos, with vastly improved editing and previewing speeds.
Share Your Creativity and Learn from others:
Ever wonder how home movies achieve memorable effects? Now you can by viewing other users' timelines and even sharing your own on DirectorZone.com. This unique glimpse into others' creative approaches is a remarkable learning tool, offering incredible insight for your own projects. PowerDirector's unique "open editing" experience also lets you share special effects, video editing secrets, and a chance to learn from other users. Download, upload, and share an unlimited amount of effects, DVD menus, particle effects, and PiP objects via DirectorZone.
Ways to Show and Tell:
Video editing software, PowerDirector, provides direct HD video uploading to Facebook and YouTube, enabling easy sharing on today’s most popular social networks and video blogging sites. Or enjoy your finished movie in HD at home by producing Blu-ray Discs or AVCHD discs in high definition resolution. If it's mobility you are after, you can produce playback files for your iPhone, iPod, or PSP.
Key Features:Create pro results with 16 tracks, particle effects designer, & more
5X faster video rendering with support for CPU/GPU acceleration
Upscale SD video to HD like quality. Fix video problems instantly
Learn editing tricks from other users on DirectorZone
Share videos on YouTube and Facebook, output to mobile devices, and burn to discs PowerDirector 8 has been tested to meet all of the technical requirements to be Compatible with Windows® 7
Microsoft Windows 7, Vista or XP (Windows XP SP2 is required for HDV capture)
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 1024, 32-bit Color or above
PowerDirector 8 is optimized for CPU with MMX/SSE/SSE2/3DNow!/3DNow! Extension/HyperThreading technology
AVI Capture/Production: Pentium 2 450 MHz or AMD Athlon 500 MHz
VCD Quality (MPEG-1) Profiles: Pentium 3 600 MHz or AMD Athlon 700 MHz
DVD Quality (MPEG-2) profiles: Pentium 4 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 2200+
High Quality MPEG-4 and WMV, QuickTime, RealVideo Profiles: Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz or AMD Athlon XP 2400+
AVCHD and MPEG-2 HD Profiles: Pentium Core 2 Duo E6400 or Athlon 64 X2 5000+
Memory: 512 MB required (2 GB DDR2 above recommended for editing HD videos)
Hard Disk Space:5 GB required minimum (note: 400 MB is for Magic Music Library)
10 GB (20 GB recommended) for DVD production
60 GB (100 GB recommended) for Blu-ray Disc/AVCHD production
Size: 236.04 MB
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