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CyberLink PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 review



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Ever since the first beta-stage 64-bit operating systems arrived, video editing has been one of the tasks suggested as most likely to benefit. Even in its compressed form, video takes a few megabytes per second, and once you uncompress it to individual frames, with 25 of them every second, the requirements are even more. So it’s a surprise that although its professional-grade video editing app, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, went 64-bit in 2010, Adobe hasn’t yet made this technology available in its consumer-grade Premiere Elements 9. Instead, the accolade for first 64-bit consumer video editing app goes to CyberLink, with PowerDirector 9.

The advantage of a 64-bit operating system is that it supports more than 4GB of memory. Whilst you can run a 32-bit app on a 64-bit operating system and get some benefit, with a true native 64-bit app your software can address as much memory as the system allows. If you’re shunting around huge blocks of video data, you can keep more in RAM and therefore offer a smoother editing experience, with real-time previews at a higher frame rate. The TrueVelocity 64 engine CyberLink has now placed at the core of PowerDirector 9 promises this benefit, but there are other technologies to back it up.

The new 64-bit engine allows much smoother preview of multiple video streams, although nine was a bit much for our test system.

Virtually all current desktop CPUs are multi-core, and PowerDirector’s TrueVelocity Parallel splits the processing tasks into multiple threads that can be farmed out to individual cores to run at the same time. Graphics card grunt can be harnessed, too, with both AMD and nVidia graphics supported. This is called into play for the encoding and decoding of video, as well as some effects, indicated by the logo of your graphics card manufacturer in the bottom right-hand corner. So it aids both editing and final project output, particularly encoding H.264.

The Fix / Enhance section includes a range of very useful improvements, such as general enhancement and video stabilisation.

Well, that’s the theory, anyway. We tested PowerDirector 9 on a rather mid-range system using a 2.2GHz quad-core AMD Phenom 9550 with a 64-bit build of Windows, 6GB of memory, and a nVidia Quadro FX 1700 (a mid-range professional graphics card a couple of generations old). We found this system could mix three streams of HDV quite smoothly, four streams with some jerkiness, but more than five streams chugged to a halt after a few seconds.

Nevertheless, this is significantly better than Adobe Premiere Elements 9, which couldn't even cope with three simultaneous streams on the same system. During playback, PowerDirector 9 was using 100 per cent of processor time, so multi-threading was clearly fully operational. We also noted an improvement in playback frame rate when we enabled GPU acceleration, which had to be performed manually within the preferences.

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December 15, 2010, 5:02 pm

I assume there is a trial version of this? Will give it a whirl at the wkend. Last summer I tried a number of video editing programs but they all seemed to have a problem with video I recorded on my Samsung NV8. Hopefully I have more luck with this, good timing too as I have some stuff I would like to put up on Youtube.

Glad too see more of these programs using the GPU as well. All that untapped raw power!


December 15, 2010, 6:34 pm

@Runadumb - Have you tried windows Live MovieMaker?

I haveCyberlink PowerDirector 9 and its a very good program, but ibeen playing with Windows Live Moviemaker on my netbook and ive been surpised how good it is (for a free program), you can edit, add transtions and easily export to youtube or facebook so all the basics, and its easily worked with the 720p footage ive been using


December 15, 2010, 7:02 pm

@stelph Oh yeah, I installed it about a month or so ago (I think it was actually from a link you posted in another article) but totally forgot about it. If it fails me then Powerlink will be plan B. Cheers


December 15, 2010, 9:42 pm

@Runadumb - no worries, ive actually been quite impressed with Live Movie Maker, it can doo all the main things I want to do with my videos (i.e. adjust brightness, change playback speed for slow-mo/faster playback, add transitions), infact the only thing it doesnt do is picture-in-picture which is where I think my copy of PowerDirector9 will come in, otherwise its great!

James Morris

December 16, 2010, 3:10 am

Windows Live Movie Maker is miles better than previous Movie Makers, with much wider file format support and more powerful features. But PowerDirector 9 (or Premiere Elements 9, Corel VideoStudio X3) can do a whole lot more.


April 14, 2012, 3:49 pm

This program is a disaster! Run like hell!
During one hour of video editing it crashes no less than two-three times. You have to restart and you are lucky if you have saved your work. Loading a project can take more than ten minutes if you have a couple of hundreds of video takes (usual thing I suppose). Output settings a very limited and to my taste minimal allowed bitrate is far too high. All that makes your video files very large.

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