Scrubbing is no chore in PowerDirector 9

In my last post, I talked about how easy it is to import HD video clips and high-res photos into CyberLink PowerDirector 9. This time we’ll discuss how to make one video out of several pieces of footage.

I had taken a mishmash of shots of a beach, a pier, and a boardwalk amusement park — certainly nothing scripted. So I started by building a rough cut — a quick-and-dirty preliminary edit — by dragging clips and pictures onto PowerDirector’s timeline.

I kicked things off with a few clips of the bumper car ride, shot from different angles. I followed these with a photo of the pier to establish where all this was taking place. After that, I brought the action back to the amusement park rides with a view of the pirate ship ride.

PowerDirector has a lot of advanced tools for controlling a video’s look and pace. But don’t worry: If your PC has an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, work goes blazingly fast. That’s because PowerDirector’s TrueVelocity engine is designed to tap into the video processing muscle of Intel Quick Sync Video, a technology built into Core i5 and i7 processors.

Case in point: I shot my video with a Nikon D90 in high-quality widescreen 720p HD. Not only did I preview the clips in real time without a stutter, I quickly scrubbed through them. Scrubbing is when you drag PowerDirector’s playhead — the triangular marker that indicates the current position in the video — back and forth to inspect your work. (CyberLink calls the playhead the scrubber; other video editors call it the current time indicator, or CTI.)

Scrubbing is really helpful when you need to edit on a specific frame. This comes in handy more often than you might think. For instance, sometimes you need to find the exact spot in a video when someone starts talking, or a ball hits the ground — or, in my case, when an amusement park ride starts. I wanted to find where the pirate ship clip started, and then I wanted the first frame to show the ship swinging from left to right, not right to left as it currently did.

Dragging the scrubber back and forth lets you find specific frames in your video clips.

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I scrubbed to the exact spot in the video where the ship was at the top of its leftward swing. Then I defined that frame as the start of the clip by marking it as the “In” point. I set another frame a few seconds later in the clip as the “Out” point, and saved my changes. Simple! (Alternately, I could’ve positioned the scrubber in the timeline at the frame I wanted the clip to start at, pressed the Split button to break the clips in two, and then delete the portion I didn’t want.)

Marking In and Out points is an easy way choose the precise frames a clip starts and ends on.

PowerDirector helped me address other problems quickly and easily. The colors in my amusement park ride clips were rich and saturated. In comparison, my photo of the pier looked washed out. No problem. With the file selected in the timeline, I clicked the Edit Image button to launch PhotoNow!, the photo editing program included with PowerDirector. Again, thanks to optimizations for second-generation Intel Core processors, I was able to see immediately the results of the changes I made to image brightness, saturation, and so on. As soon as I closed PhotoNow!, the image updated in PowerDirector’s timeline. I didn’t even have to reimport it. That’s way, way cool.

PhotoNow!, a photo editing program conveniently included with PowerDirector, lets you tweak your photos, save the adjustments, and immediately see changes reflected in your video project.

My bumper car ride clips suffered from a different problem. I shot them without a tripod, so the camera wasn’t being held perfectly steady, a condition known as shaky-cam. PowerDirector includes an image stabilization slider that compensates for shaky footage. With little effort, I was able to dial the shake out of existence, all while seeing my tweaks immediately.

PowerDirector’s image stabilizer tool takes the shake out of wobbly footage. The split-screen preview display lets you compare stabilized footage against the original.

Finally, the still photo of the pier seemed too, um, still, so I dragged the Zoom In effect from PowerDirector’s Effects Room onto the photo in the timeline. I played the clip and saw immediately that the automated effect worked like a charm, giving the photograph the appearance of video.

Using the Zoom In effect lets you add motion to photographs, giving them the appearance of video.

Now, I needed to add transitions between one clip and the next. We’ll talk about that next time.

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

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