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CyberLink PowerDirector 7 review

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CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 7

Summary

Our Score:

8

In the past, CyberLink's PowerDirector has felt like an also-ran. It may be bundled with quite a few camcorders, but most video makers interested in editing will have wanted to move onto something more powerful fairly quickly. With version 7, however, CyberLink is hoping to make PowerDirector an application you might want to stick with a bit longer. Some new versions seem more like dot releases, but the shift from PowerDirector 6 to 7 is more of a leap than a baby step.

Both Ultra and Deluxe versions of PowerDirector 7 can import virtually any camcorder video format, including progressively scanned 25p Full HD AVCHD.

For starters, CyberLink has followed the trend and given PowerDirector a graphite finish to its interface, making it look vaguely like Adobe Premiere Elements 4. It's also available in two versions - Ultra and Deluxe. Both variants will import pretty much every format under the sun, including HDV and AVCHD. The differences show themselves at the output stage. The Deluxe edition can't create AVCHD files, can't author Blu-ray discs, and can't write AVCHD and other Blu-ray video formats to DVD. These are features most people will want to pay the extra £20 for, however.

In these days of camcorder format confusion, editing software needs to cope with a hefty array of different file types. So we threw everything we had at PowerDirector, from DV to MPEG-2, and HDV to AVCHD. The separate capture section has sections for DV, HDV, analogue capture cards, digital TV tuners, webcams, soundcards, audio CD and video DVD. However, there's no specific import wizard for pulling footage off a hard disk or flash memory-based camcorder. Instead, you have to copy the files manually to your hard disk, and then use the import command in the media library

PowerDirector 7 can capture from the full range of sources, including DV and HDV, analogue and digital TV tuners, and webcams.

Since CyberLink holds a few key patents in Blu-ray, we expected PowerDirector to cope with most things, and we didn't manage to find anything the software wouldn't import. Progressively scanned Full HD files from Canon's HF10 were handled without issue, as were the TOD files created by JVC's High Definition Everio camcorders (which isn't surprising, as a version of PowerDirector is bundled with these camcorders). The aspect ratios were correctly displayed in almost all cases, with the notable exception of the MOD files created by Panasonic's SDR-S7, which uses a slightly non-standard 704 x 576 frame size.

It's at this stage in the editing process that we start to encounter PowerDirector's plethora of new features. Instead of having one amorphous media library, you can now create a second layer of subfolders to assist file management - although only one. Annoyingly, importing files into the media library and folder creation are only accessible via icons at the top, not via a right mouse-button click.

Carol

August 17, 2008, 9:57 pm

Does this new version allow for the most basic of video editing: mixing two camera shots of the same event (like a concert) to sync to a single audio track, be it the track from one of the videos or a separate audio. Of course, without a professional time tracking codes, a really fine job would be impossible. But "good enough." This would entail being able to see the multiple tracks playing at the same time or perhaps syncing to the wave form of the two audio tracks. So many of these mid level video editing programs give hundreds of transitions we really don't use. PIP isn't IT, exactly, though I imagine if I enlarged the area of the PIP to fill the entire screen. The other troublesome element of this, which I found using iMovie (and it was just alternative shot), is if you cross dissolve to the alternative track, it layers the sound as well, cross dissolving both shots visually and audiowise. One wants to keep core video going, always in sync with the audio track, and then play with two-track cross dissolves above it. Who really needs PIPs to do cartwheels and float around, when this basic video editing element is missing. Or IS it on this program? Possible?

Geoff Harper

September 8, 2008, 8:21 pm

No one else ever commented on this one? Carol has described EXACTLY what I need to do. I currently have V6 and am struggling a bit. Does no one have any suggestions?

RRP

December 24, 2008, 12:21 pm

I'm no expert but here is what I would try.





Download a copy of the free VirtualDub program. Load video 1 into VirtualDub. In the audio menu set the audio to none and save as AVI. Do the same with video 2. Pick whichever video has the better audio and save the audio separately. You end up with 2 new video files containing video and no audio and 1 file containing just the audio. Then in PowerDirector (or whatever editor you have) import video and audio tracks. Switch video tracks to your hearts content. Since the video tracks have no audio the single audio track plays by itself.





There may be easier solutions (eg. can you just mute the audio in your video tracks in the editor and use that with a separate audio track?). I have not done any video editing for a few years, but am getting back into it so I just ordered PD7 based on the reviews I've read here and elsewhere.

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