Here's my first experience. I use Windows 2000 on a PIII 550Mhz, with 256 RAM and 20 Gig EIDE harddrive. When Dazzle arrived, I followed the directions and installed the software and put the plug in the USB port and then discovered that this software only works with Windows 98. I visited the Dazzle web site and found out that you have to purchase a program called Movie Star is you want to use it with Windows 2000. I wound up ordering the software for [more $] plus shipping. Once, I received the new disk, I installed it, and once again, it did not detect the unit when I plugged it into the USB port. And again, I visited the Dazzle web site. I discovered that they have posted a patch for the Movie Star software that fixes "some minor problems." I downloaded and installed the patch and after rebooting the machine, I was able to get it to detect the unit.
Windows' included video editing software is all about simplicity: There's really no simpler way to combine your clips into digital movies with titles, transitions, background music, and effects. In earlier releases, the program was so simple that it wasn't capable of doing things people commonly needed, but little by little, stuff like voiceover recording and even anti-shake have made their way into what is now a very useful free app for digital video editing. Let's be clear, Movie Maker still lacks a lot of effects and tools you get in Apple's entry-level video editor, iMovie, not to mention enthusiast-level products like Adobe Premiere Elements or CyberLink PowerDirector, but for basic needs and ease of use, it hits the mark.
Cyberlink is often the first to roll out new and innovative tools and features. For example, it pioneered multi-cam functionality for consumer-level software. That technology was previously only found in professional programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. Cyberlink’s basics are also top-notch. This program has a 99-track timeline, which gives nearly unlimited versatility. You can make simple videos quickly but also delve deeply into complex projects. You may never edit a feature film with this software, but it is more than capable of that task. In our ease-of-use tests, PowerDirector earned an A. Our reviewers noted that the interface is intuitive, the tools are accessible, and even the most advanced features are simple to learn. You can unlock the fullest potential of the program easily if you learn how to use the tools properly.
We combined a text opener with five clips linked by a cross-fade-type transition into a 2.5-minute video shot at 60 frames per second, and rendered the projects to the MPEG-4 format at 720p. We timed rendering at both 60 fps and 30 fps. We adjusted settings to take advantage of hardware acceleration for all tests whenever possible, setting them in either the preferences or the rendering controls for the best speeds. Apple’s iMovie, the lone Mac-only app, is not included in the timed comparisons.
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