This review was originally posted April 10, 2011.
I have Power Director 6, which I loved, because it didn’t crash my computer and it has a magic movie wizard. I was so excited to get PowerDirector 9 Ultra – 64. I couldn’t wait to see all the improvements.
For this review, I used a quad core, Windows Vista Home Premium computer with 12 GB RAM, and nVidia GeForce 9800GT.
Yes, PD9 is noticeably faster than PD6, especially when it comes to editing and rendering. Importing files is top speed. The wizards work quickly. My movie isn’t so choppy in the editor, which helps a whole lot to visualize the final result. Definitely fast, and no crashing. Occasionally, it will hang for a few minutes, but I know I don’t have to wait long.
I don’t know exactly how long it takes to render my 20 minute movie. I always leave the room, but when I come back in 2 hours, it’s done.
MAGIC MOVIE WIZARD
Magic Movie wizard is by far my biggest disappointment. I absolutely loved the wizard in PD6. It would cut up my videos, randomly sprinkle them around my movie, intersperse them with photos with effects, a title page and transitions. What a godsend when I have a ton of footage and photos. All I had to do was tweak the output for a quick and easy home movie.
PD9 took this special feature, the one thing I raved about to my friends and family, and dumbed it down. It no longer mixes up bits and pieces of videos and photos throughout the movie. Instead, it cuts up all the scenes and inserts them and the photos into the movie in the exact order they appear in the library (the place we into which we import our media). If I have a lot of media in a short time, the photos and scenes are speeded up to fit the allotted timeframe in a dizzying frenzy. Yes, I can go in and manually choose what scenes and photos to use and mix them up myself, but this makes the Magic Movie wizard pretty much useless to me. The only thing magic about it is it adds transitions and a title page, which I can do myself.
Something I found so useful in PD9 is the multitrim tool. I don’t think it’s in PD6 (wouldn’t have needed it, because I used the movie magic wizard and didn’t need to cut down huge chunks of video). It makes cutting out scenes quick and easy. There’s no need for repeated splitting and deleting or reloading and trimming. Just watch the video and click the in and out buttons when desired. Mistakes are easy to correct.
Video color and lighting, white balance and sharpness can all be corrected with a click of a button.
There are lots of effects that are packaged with the software, but more can be downloaded from the Cyberlink site. Some of those larger files take awhile to download (I have a 3G connection), so I just stick with smaller files or what I have.
We can use the slideshow feature to make a standalone slideshow; but what I do is make my movie with videos and choose a selection of photos to add and then make a slideshow out of those photos within my movie. Love this feature. It makes my videos and photos flow so much more smoothly.
The Magic Music feature is terrific, except that we have to pay to use the music. Would have been nice if a basic library was included with the software. With Magic Music, the music can be customized to fit the exact length of the movie with precisely the right flavor (romantic, kids, family, party, etc.). Even special effects, like animal sounds, are available.
We can also add our own music and use Cyberlink Wave Editor (included) to change pitch, speed, trim, etc. I don’t want to pay extra for music, so I just do this.
+ multitrim tool
+ lots of effects included, more can be downloaded for free
+ function to enhance picture quality in videos
+ slideshow feature
- Magic Movie lost some of its magic
- must pay for music in Magic Music library
- learning curve
With the old magic movie wizard, anyone could make a nice movie. With the new magic movie wizard, anyone can make a movie, but the result is not so elegant without a lot of tweaking.
There is a learning curve to using this video editor to its fullest. I only know most of the techniques because I owned PD6. This tends to be true with most of the more powerful video editing software. The results can be more than satisfying. I’m always so proud of myself when I’m done.
All in all, I love the improvement in speed. Wish they’d bring back the old Magic Movie wizard. The new Magic Movie function makes me so sad, I want to give it three stars. I’ll give it four to be fair, because everything else about PD9 is five stars.
This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.
UPDATE: I stand corrected on the Smartsound music. There are some tracks that do come with Power Director. They are the first ones that show up on the list. The songs farther down the list cost money.