The easy way to manage high-res video and photos

I can’t help but marvel at all the ways it’s possible to shoot high-definition videos: with a digital single-lens reflex cameras, pocket cam, helmet cam, phone cam, and the list goes on. I love that I can shoot as much footage as the camera’s memory card will allow without having to worry about tape wearing out or paying for film development.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on what I can do with a high-end Nikon or Canon DSLR. A DSLR gives me more control over the image and lets me use better lenses. On top of that, Canon and Nikon DSLRs shoot and store video in the next generation high-def digital video format, H.264. This new format — actually it’s a codec, short for compression/decompression is the cornerstone of camcorders by Sony, Panasonic, JVC, and Canon; Blu-ray discs; cellphones; tablets; and beyond. It lets you shoot longer without sacrificing storage space or picture quality.

Until recently, even high-end video editing software didn’t fully support editing H.264 shot with Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Despite being a consumer-level app, CyberLink PowerDirector 9 supports editing this format. Cool!

So I decided to check out PowerDirector 9’s H.264 chops. First I transferred an SD card’s worth of 720p video and about a hundred high-res photos taken with a Nikon D90. With the camera’s SD memory card loaded into the card reader slot in my laptop, Windows Explorer treated the card like any other external memory device. All I had to do was select, drag, and drop straight into PowerDirector. Frankly, the speed of the transfer blew me away. We’re talking about copying gigabytes of high-definition footage and high-resolution pictures in seconds. Chalk it up to PowerDirector 9’s optimization for the multi-core, multi-threaded muscle of my laptop’s second-gen Intel Core processor.

Here’s a general tip for doing this kind of work: Before transferring files, rename them. If you’ve ever taken pictures with a digital camera, you know why. Each picture and video gets tagged with an impenetrable name — for example, _DSC2065.jpg or DSC_2171.avi. When you’re working with tons of images and videos, these default file names are no help in identifying pictures. Renaming helps you find what you’re looking for more quickly after you’ve imported them into your editing software.

This may sound tedious, but it can be fast and easy if you have a batch renaming tool. A batch renamer lets you attach a text description and a number or letter that automatically increments with each new file that uses the text description. I use Adobe Bridge to rename all of my footage and photos in big batches. There are also plenty of shareware batch renamers, such as Bulk Renamer Utility and File Renamer Basic.

Thumbnails in Windows Explorer help you wade through your footage and stills, but the default file names assigned by your camera can be a hindrance.

Photos with descriptive names, such as these in the PowerDirector 9 media library, are easier to find than ones that still have the camera’s default label.

Descriptive file names are essential if you like to use the detail view, which lists files only by name, not image thumbnail.

After getting my video clips and stills loaded into PowerDirector’s media library, I double clicked to watch them play back in the program monitor. PowerDirector’s TrueVelocity Ultra Seek makes it easy to scrub — move back and forth in a video — because it’s tuned and optimized to tap into the Intel Core processor’s considerable media processing muscle.

Next time: More about scrubbing and other tricks for high-res video editing.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of TechHive. ]

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