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Old August 4th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #1
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Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra - A Train Wreck

I've been doing video editing since the early days of Macs, Amigas, and PCs, but can NEVER, EVER recall a program which is just so entirely filled with bugs, hangs, crashes, and totally unstable performance as the latest release of Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra.

I would expect, based on the pattern of "quality control" which Cyberlink applies, that 6 to 8 months from now this product may become usable, after enough users complain and report issues to Cyberlink. They have a very bad habit of releasing extremely buggy code in their new releases, and this is certainly a good example.

Your mileage may vary, and I may have an especially complex environment on my machine which may cause a lot of problems others will not have. For whatever it is worth, the prior version ultimately became very stable and extremely useful for AVCHDs, but it took a long time to get patched. I was fortunate to exchange private reports with the Cyberlink people who sent patches out before official release, and even so was very unhappy with the huge number of problems with installing, burning, editing, etc.

This is mostly a word of warning, but I would be very interested to see what others find with this product.

Larry
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Old August 5th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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I'm Impressed!

A somewhat lengthy and mostly cordial letter of complaint to Cyberlink Customer Service produced an amazingly fast reply, offering me the URL to download the "newest" version of the program as well as the newest content / media libraries.

Despite another 760 MByte download, 2 unsuccesful attempts to uninstall the prior version, 1 unsuccessful attempt to install the new version, and thus a few wasted hours, I am pleased to report that:

The new build, Build 1930a, does appear to fix a lot of problems. Given that the program was only released a short time ago, it seems almost comical that the version provided to retail customers via web downloads in the old version, and then requires the uninstall, another huge download, and then another reinstall.

On the bright side, the program runs way better. It still has many issues, and I would certainly not declare it a refined and stable version yet, but it does have a lot to recommend it. And it nows seems to run and stay alive for extended periods of time without crashes, something which was certainly not true of the release I purchased and installed yesterday.

Larry
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Old August 8th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #3
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Larry,

My biggest concern with PD7 Ultra (once they fixed the soft focus probiem when the PiP track was used as a second full frame video track) is that when importing a second audio segment on a separate audio track, no waveforms are shown. Waveforms only show in the audio of the main video track.

Does PD8 allow waveforms to be seen in separate audio tracks?

I use a Canon T1i for some video and because it has only monaural audio and no mic input, I have to use a ZoomH2 to record stereo audio. It helps to "synch" if I can position the separate audio so waveforms match.

I appreciate your posting this report.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 10:00 PM   #4
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Hi Bruce,

Cyberlink has improved the program quite a bit in this specific area.

Click on the first attached file and you will see that they now allow the addition of both multiple PIP object tracks as well as multiple audio tracks as well. The second attachment shows that they have indeed added the audio waveforms to the music/audio tracks, and the envelopes can be adjusted to make the individual track amplitudes rise and fall based on the selected rubber band positions.

Hope this answers your specific questions.

I too have a TX1 and really like this little Canon HD camcorder very much. I have not tried using an outboard stereo recorder, but imagine this new PD8 release may help quite a bit in aligning the audio correctly.

I wanted to add that my experience with this newer update of PD8 is really very positive. Had they released this properly, and removed the older piece of buggy code from their servers, I would have never posted this original thread. I would have been far more gentle in my criticism, or quite likely have actually praised the product.

Larry
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Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra - A Train Wreck-track-menu.jpg   Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra - A Train Wreck-tracks.jpg  

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Old August 8th, 2009, 11:17 PM   #5
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That does look promising.

I'll be waiting for the "box" version or retail version sold by vendors to be available, though. I'm one of the ones that had the download order process go horribly wrong with PD7 and experienced a totally nonresponsive Cyberlink Customer Service.

I see on their forum the same thing happening to many, so when I can order a "box" copy on disk a few months from now from an actual vendor I'll consider it. I'm currently still using Pinnacle Studio 12.1 but on a Core i7 based Dell.

The camera I have to use double system sound with is the Canon T1i (Digital Rebel 500D). I've found it's not too complex to record with the ZoomH2, "rough trim", and edit the audio with Audacity, export as WAV files and drag 'n drop those on the sound effects track in Studio. Click 'n drag until waveform peaks match as close as I can get them and the sound seems to be in synch with the video. Then mute the original mono audio on the main video track.

I have a Nikon lens to EOS mount adapter and found a mint 50mm f1.8 Nikkor (fully manual AI-S) lens and that allows me to manually set the aperture ring and bypass the full auto of video mode on that camera. Sample video showing shallow DOF in daylight is here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photo-hd-...ikkor-t1i.html
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Old August 9th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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Thanks Bruce. I especially enjoyed the HF100 video of the T1i with the Nikkor lens and the clip of the T1i DOF control.

Sorry for my confusion about the TX versus T1i Canon. I have the XSi - 450D Canon as well, but lust for owning the T1i since the new body does such nice video.

I have a Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens for my XSi and wonder if using that would be problem for doing video on the T1i. It has really beautiful bokah, and I would assume that I could use it in manual focus and manual aperture / shutter to achieve the same function as you did by mounting your older Nikkor to the T1i with the adapter mount.

I am also interesting in your magnifier and might want to add something like that as well for critical focusing. Your T1i has a better LCD on it than my XSi, and presumably shows a lot more fine detail under magnification of 6X.

Have you used other EOS bodies, and if so, how do you like the T1i in comparison? I am thinking of trading up, not only for the movie feature but also the increased high ISO modes on the T1i.

I look forward to your comments Bruce and thanks again,

Larry
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Old August 10th, 2009, 09:24 PM   #7
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I have a Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens for my XSi and wonder if using that would be problem for doing video on the T1i. It has really beautiful bokeh, and I would assume that I could use it in manual focus and manual aperture / shutter to achieve the same function as you did by mounting your older Nikkor to the T1i with the adapter mount.
Unfortunately the T1i body is programmed for full auto aperture, shutter, and ISO only in video mode (same as the 5D MkII with previous firmware). As long as the camera can control the lens functions f1.4 would only be possible under dimmest conditions at night. Some were setting the dial for M and dialing in max aperture then pressing the lens mount lock and twisting the lens slightly to "disconnect" the electrical contacts. Then when the dial was turned back to video mode the aperture would supposedly remain at the last selected setting. I tried this with my EF 50mm f1.8 but couldn't really tell if it was working or not, it may have.

I'll try it again and let you know as I have a better feel for the camera now.

While autofocus is possible (if you don't do the above "disconnect) I find it easier for me to manually focus, you don't have continuous autofocus in this mode anyway.
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I am also interesting in your magnifier and might want to add something like that as well for critical focusing. Your T1i has a better LCD on it than my XSi, and presumably shows a lot more fine detail under magnification of 6X.
I ordered from CAVISION. Go to Cavision Enterprises Ltd and click on viewfinders. Their website is a mess to try to order from so I just called the number I found on the website. Better that way as you can communicate better. I got the assembly with mounting plate, special spacing "riser" to get the camera up higher (assembly is made with 5D MkII in mind) and the "swing away" adapter. Came to $239 with 2 day shipping from Canada plus $12 and change billed by FedEx for Customs clearing. Not instant on and off (takes me 2 or 3 minutes) but for tripod or SpiderBrace mounting I really like it.

For just carrying the camera around in a small bag to be ready for stills or video "targets of opportunity" I toss that Hoodloupe (that does not magnify) in the bag.
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Have you used other EOS bodies, and if so, how do you like the T1i in comparison? I am thinking of trading up, not only for the movie feature but also the increased high ISO modes on the T1i.
I had a pair of the original EOS 650 bodies (35-70, 50, and 70-210 lenses), then the original Digital Rebel (300D with kit lens), last September sold the 300D and ordered the 450D, and then a couple months ago sold that and leaped on the T1i. The T1i is best "Rebel" yet, I'm glad I made the move, it feels just like the XSi but with a sharper LCD that you can view from different angles. It lessens the inconvenience of not having an "articulating" LCD somewhat since you don't need to be exactly directly behind it.

Increased high ISO modes are good also. Getting a bit of "grain" or noise doesn't "harelip" me like it does some others but I don't find it bad at all. I shot some extreme closeup of vine tendrils and stuff in the shade where I needed some extra DOF and the higher ISO helped me out. The noise was minimal and somewhat soft.
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I look forward to your comments Bruce and thanks again,

Larry
You're welcome, hope my comments helped
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Old August 10th, 2009, 11:03 PM   #8
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Your comments and observations are really valued highly Bruce as you have walked down the path I have been contemplating.

The T1i and higher ISO are quite compelling to me, and I too have less upset about noise, particularly in still photographs where I am able to see some pretty extraordinary improvements when taking RAW photos and using Neat Image to fix the JPEGs or DXo to work on the RAW images. I am entirely amazed at how much improvement I can get in post processing, and find that 1600 ISO pictures can be made to look very acceptable at the sizes I typically print (4 by 6), often even larger. I also don't especially sweat the noise in low light video, since the event itself typically justifies the compromise. How can I resist taking videos at my grand-daughter's birthday party when the candles provide the major lighting??!! And who would want to spoil the event with bright accessory lighting......I am therefore pretty convinced that the T1i makes a lot of sense as an upgrade, but I have been unsuccesful in selling my XSi body so far (I have posted it on craigslist for $475 with no buyer yet). I am also curious to see what if any update to the 50D takes place since a 60D is rumored to be on the horizon.

I must also confess that I am a bit put off by the lack of autofocus and exposure control which now makes the DSLR path a bit too "manual" for my liking. I grew up with non-automated cameras, dating back to the 1950's, so I know what the meaning of truly manual cameras is, but I feel much more comfortable letting the camera do the major lifting when it comes to both focus and exposure. I just wish I had some ability to use interchangable lenses and make manual f/stop adjustments ( to control DOF) on a camera like the HF100 or perhaps a 3CCD "prosumer" model if and when Canon decides to release one with solid state memory. (I will NEVER go back to tape now that I have been using AVCHD and flash cards...)

I saw the Hood loupe advertised and was surprised they made no mention of the magnification. It seems at first that the lens and shroud they provide would have some magnification, but I guess this is not true. The CAVision solution is nice, and I may just add that onto my XSi.


I had excellent experiences a couple years ago with this magnifier on my Nikon:

Photosolve Home > Products > Xtend-a-View

Not sure if they make magnifiers for DSLRS now or not.

Boy this stuff is just endless in terms of possibilities...

If I only had a lot more money and time.....

Larry
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Old August 10th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #9
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but I have been unsuccesful in selling my XSi body so far (I have posted it on craigslist for $475 with no buyer yet). I am also curious to see what if any update to the 50D takes place since a 60D is rumored to be on the horizon.
I carried mine to a photo club meeting with the kit lens attached and the box with everything that came with it. Priced it at $550. One lady picked it up and played a lot with it (I also included 2 2GB cards. It didn't come back home with me.
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I must also confess that I am a bit put off by the lack of autofocus and exposure control which now makes the DSLR path a bit too "manual" for my liking.
Autofocus is there with Canon EF and EF-S lenses. You press the exposure lock button and hold till you see the "target" box turn green. Play with "Live View" on your XSi and you'll see what it's like. With Canon EF and EF-S lenses, exposure in video mode is fully automatic but with a 2 stop over and under manual bias available. You can also "lock" exposure and then use the "bias". It's not bad.

I still need to test the "unlock" lens and turn some to "disconnect" contacts method for manual aperture control with the EF 50mm f1.8 lens. This would be required only when you wanted to use specific aperture on your f1.4 prime. For just automated low light you could let cam do it's own thing. Low light video done in Tokyo with the 50mm f1.8 accepting the T1i video mode automatics looks great in files I've seen on vimeo.
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I saw the Hood loupe advertised and was surprised they made no mention of the magnification. It seems at first that the lens and shroud they provide would have some magnification, but I guess this is not true. The CAVision solution is nice, and I may just add that onto my XSi.
The reason for no magnification on the Hoodloupe is that up until now most LCD screens on cameras would not stand up under magnification. The pixels just got bigger. The Hoodloupe was originally designed to be hung on your neck with a light neckstrap and grabbed to hold over the LCD and block light out so you could see what your image looked like in review.

I ordered mine with the camcorder strap to turn the LCD on my HF100 into an EVF. Which worked fine but I began to use it from the neckstrap just like with a DSLR and it is darned convenient that way. With the T1i it's really pretty good combined with the x5 and x10 magnification of the LCD camera function. Of course you can order the CAVISION viewfinder without mounting plate kit (with 6X eyepiece) with the rubber "frame" for the open end to protect the LCD, put a neckstrap on it and use it the same way (holding it in place). The "rubber band" attachment method would work too and it would be cheaper (and perhaps more flexible) that way.
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Boy this stuff is just endless in terms of possibilities...

If I only had a lot more money and time.....

Larry
So many things....
....So little money....
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #10
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Thanks once again Bruce. Your experience with the EOS for video is very enticing, and I am especially glad to learn that auto exposure and focus are achievable. Some if not most of the still cameras I have tried for video have either very limited or entirely non-existent automation in these 2 areas.

I have read a couple comments elsehwhere indicating that the low light performance for video on the T1i is disappointing, and a person like yourself who also had the HF100 made the specific comment that the HF100 did a lot better in low light. I was completely surprised to read this, given the relative size of the sensor and lenses in the T1i compared to the HF100. I would have expected that the T1i would do much better in this regard. Have you had any reason to expect / find that the HF100 is better or much better when doing low light video photography?

And as to the comment of too many / so many things, so little money.......I guess I need to ask my wife to give up her retirement and go back to work...............!!!!! (She would not find this comment or the suggestion even slightly amusing...!!)

Larry
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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I have a Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens for my XSi and wonder if using that would be problem for doing video on the T1i. It has really beautiful bokeh, and I would assume that I could use it in manual focus and manual aperture / shutter to achieve the same function as you did by mounting your older Nikkor to the T1i with the adapter mount.
Larry
It will work. I tried the "unlock and turn the lens a bit" method and it's actually pretty easy. I mounted my EF 50mm f1.8 lens left over from the EOS 650's I used to have, then turned the dial on the camera to AV mode. Dialed f1.8 as the aperture then unlocked the lens and turned it about 1/4-1/2 inch. With an EF lens the red mark on the lens will be just about aligned with the electronic flash symbol by the built in flash release button. Next I turned the mode dial all the way clockwise to the "video" mode.

The mirror moved up out of the way (just as it does in Live View on your XSi) but a warning message appeared on the LCD reminding to insure a lens is attached (the contacts between the lens and body are now disconnected) but once you press the 2nd button down to the right of the screen you have Live View for video.

I focused on something close and pressed that button again to start recording and then played that recording back to check DOF in the recording, it worked.

You can turn the camera off and when you turn it back on the lens aperture is still where you set it in AV mode, so you can turn the camera back on and continue with the same settings.

The camera sets ISO and shutter, you have no control over those in video mode, but you do have the 2 stop over and 2 stop under bias. Focus is manual because now the camera cannot "communicate" with or control the lens functions. But that's OK, the LCD is generous both with adequate size, brightness, and definition.

I could have saved myself the cost of the adapter and the Nikkor lens.

In actual application it's easier than it sounds above. In most cases this sort of thing (with shallow DOF) will be a planned shot. The following steps can be done quickly.

1. In AV mode dial desired aperture.
2. Unlock lens and turn a bit (aperture will now remain whatever you selected)
3. Turn dial to video mode and press video start button (just below AV button)
4. Focus, compose, and press video start again (now starts recording)
5. Press video start to stop recording.

When done turn lens back to "locked" position and camera in video mode is back to fully auto. Your 50mm f1.4 prime ought to do a great job for you with DOF control. But once you do the above first 3 or 4 steps just a few times it gets pretty simple and can actually be done in seconds. I may not bother with the Nikkor much anymore, it has a bit more flare wide open where the Canon exhibits less of that (being newer design).

Hope you find this info of value.

Bruce
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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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I have read a couple comments elsehwhere indicating that the low light performance for video on the T1i is disappointing, and a person like yourself who also had the HF100 made the specific comment that the HF100 did a lot better in low light.

Larry
Oh NO! Gosh NO! The low light performance of the T1i with f2.8 aperture and larger is vastly superior to the HF100. The HF100 is surprisingly good if you don't task it too hard in low light, but the T1i with a fast prime like f1.8 is really fun to work with. I did some testing for night drama and actually had to cut the aperture back to 2.8 for a lot of it. Here is a link to that:

YouTube - T1i Night Test Short Ver

I see no noise, grain, or anything like that. Low light will be one of the special uses I'll have for the T1i. But the HF100's are still in the game.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #13
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Once again, thanks Bruce, and I enjoyed your night video with the added intriuge of a 'Russian' actor!

The next step for me is to find a way to move up to a T1i DSLR with video capabilities, and I hope to find a buyer for the XSi locally first. The fact that the existing lenses can be used in the manner you describe makes a very significant difference for allowing the right types of artistic control unavailable with an HF100.

I entirely expected that the T1i would significantly improve of the HF100 in low light, and was surprised to read the comment (I believe it was on dpreview.com) where the opposite was claimed. I do a lot of available light photography and don't especially like flash or other artificial lighting, so my videos with the HF100 often suffer in this regard. The Sony HD camcorders I use have done quite well in low light, but they achieve their noise reduction by severely reducing the high frequency fine detail, looking more like standard def video. I see that they have introduced a new sensor technology very recently ('backlighting') which supposedly gets some significant improvements in their small sensor cameras, but there is still nothing like a lot of surface area and a bigger lens to gather more light.

Thanks again for the info and excellent sample videos Bruce. And as a parting comment, I will say that I have gained a great deal of appreciation for the new Cyberlink Power Director 8 Ultra now that I have had a chance to exercise the latest version. It is a very nice product, well worth the cost, and far from being a "train wreck" now that they have fixed it up quite a bit.

Larry
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Old August 12th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #14
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Once again, thanks Bruce, and I enjoyed your night video with the added intrigue of a 'Russian' actor!
That was my oldest grandson. He is fascinated with things Russian. And he loves doing stuff like that. He was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't let him do it with an AK-47 slung on him. I explained I didn't want the "ride" to the police station when someone called in a "man with a gun" complaint.
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The next step for me is to find a way to move up to a T1i DSLR with video capabilities, and I hope to find a buyer for the XSi locally first.
Easy way to do that if you have a kit lens you can let go with it is to snap up a couple of 2GB cards and offer it as a package the buyer can start using 3 minutes after purchase.

That helped sell mine, lady who purchased it didn't have to go buy anything else to put it to use. That really helps sell something.
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I entirely expected that the T1i would significantly improve of the HF100 in low light, and was surprised to read the comment (I believe it was on dpreview.com) where the opposite was claimed.
The T1i has a larger sensor that produces great stills, add "fast glass" and the combo makes for great low light work. I like the color and image tones from it. And in outdoor daylight the T1i video (720p setting) edits in nicely with HF100 footage shot in cine mode with custom preset "tweaks" on brightness, contrast, and sharpening.

I do have to admit I haven't even tried the 1080p setting. The 20fps can result in a bit "jerky" motion I've seen in a few vimeo videos, but may be fine if fast motion is not involved. I'll get around to trying it, though; the 1280x720p at 30fps works just fine. Coming from a larger sensor it looks pretty good.


Good luck,

Bruce
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Old August 12th, 2009, 09:13 PM   #15
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It will work. I tried the "unlock and turn the lens a bit" method and it's actually pretty easy. I mounted my EF 50mm f1.8 lens left over from the EOS 650's I used to have, then turned the dial on the camera to AV mode. Dialed f1.8 as the aperture then unlocked the lens and turned it about 1/4-1/2 inch.
It doesn't even take that much turning. Did some more playing around with it and after "unlocking" the lens I turned it very slowly until I saw the f1.8 on the LCD change to f00. It actually takes only a very little turn from the locked position to change 1.8 to 00 (which means the electronic contacts are disconnected and unable to pass data at that point.

Bruce
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