PowerDirector is a video editing software targeted to normal non-professional users that want to be able to quickly and easily edit their videos with good results without the need of having extensive knowledge or experience in video editing. The new version 10 of the software now offers an easy to use and quite comprehensive support for working with stereoscopic 3D photos and video that you’ve shot with a 3D-capable photo or video camera and you want to present in a nicer way. PowerDirector 10’s 3D support starts with the importing of 3D photos and videos, editing the video as as easy as you’d edit 2D video and having a 3D preview of it and then exporting into common video formats or directly burning on a 3D DVD or Blu-ray disc. You even have some preset 3D titles, 3D particles, 3D effects and 3D menus available that are easy to use and there is also a support for easily converting 2D content to 3D (using PowerDirector’s TrueTheater 3D feature) and incorporating it together with the content that you’ve shot in 3D format. You could even upload the 3D video you have made using the software directly on YouTube in 3D format. Have in mind that you need to get the PowerDirector 10 Ultra version of the software in order to get all the 3D features available as the Deluxe version of the video editor does not have support for working with 3D content. PowerDirector 10 Ultra is currently available for $99.95 USD (you can upgrade from previous version for less) and there is also a 30-day trial version available that you can download and try. I did give the trial version a spin to see the software in action and to try out how it works with different 3D content, especially with the importing of MVC encoded video and the export for Blu-ray 3D media…
I’ll be starting with what 3D file formats are supported by the new PowerDirector 10 software, the good news is that pretty all of the common formats for both 3D photos and 3D videos recorded by 3D-capable consumer devices are supported and can be imported in the video editor. Regarding 3D photos you can import pictures in MPO and JPS file format, no PNS support yet, but I haven’t seen a device recording in it, however you can for example record higher quality stereo 3D screenshots from games with 3D Vision in PNS format. In terms of support for importing of 3D video files, you get support for MVC encoded files (including the ones recorded with Sony HDR-TD10 3D camcorder and JVC GS-TD1 3D camcorder) and Dual-Stream AVI files and 3D videos in these two formats should be auto recognized by the software. Other than that pretty much any common file container and compression should also be supported with the 3D videos in Side by Side and Over/Under (either half or full frame) and you can manually select these via the menu you see above by right clicking on the video if it does not get automatically recognized as a 3D one.
Moving to what preview modes are supported by the video editor, aside from the standard 2D mode of course. There is the standard Anaglyph Red/Cyan mode, 3D-ready DLP HDTV mode (DLP Checkerboard pattern), Micro-polarizer LCD 3D (Row-Interleaved -passive 3D displays) as well as 120Hz Time-sequential 3D LCD mode. The Time-sequential 3D mode is the one you can use with 3D Vision, yes it works with 3D Vision, only in full-screen mode, but it is compatible (it would be nice to also get 3D windowed mode supported as well). The ability to easily preview the video in 3D mode while editing it is a nice feature to have and this is probably one of the first more serious consumer oriented video editor software that supports 3D Vision. And with the use of the 3DTV Play software it could’ve been able to make it work with HDMI 1.4-equipped 3D HDTVs as well, however you don’t get the 120Hz Time-sequential mode available in the drop-down list when using a 3D HDTV and have 3DTV Play active. During the testing of the 3D preview with 3D Vision I had a few times the screen locking up either when entering or exiting the 3D mode, but this could easily be some sort of a driver version conflict as well, so it should easily be correctable.
PowerDirector 10 comes with a built-in 2D to 3D conversion feature that works for both 2D photos and 3D videos. It is an auto-conversion feature with some control left to the user, you have a depth slider that may help you get stronger or weaker simulation of the volume in the image. To get to the 2D to 3D conversion feature you need to right click on the 2D photo or video you want to convert, then choose Edit Video / Power Tools from the menu and select the 2D to 3D option. The 3D photos and videos have this option disabled by default and in the timeline the converted to 3D photos and videos get visually marked, so that you easily distinguish the converted to 3D videos from the ones shot in 3D.
When you are ready with your video edit and want to export the result you have two options, to export a video file or to burn the 3D video on an optical drive or record it on other type of external media. For file export you have support for Side by Side and Anaglyph red/cyan options and the following file formats:
WMV – Side by Side full and half resolution, and anaglyph; only four preset resolutions available.
MPEG4 – Side by Side half resolution only and anaglyph; you have a few basic profiles available, but can create and customize your own.
MPEG-2 – Side by Side half resolution only and anaglyph; you have a few basic profiles available, but can create and customize your own.
H.264 AVC – Side by Side half resolution only and anaglyph; you have a few basic profiles available, but can create and customize your own.
MOV – Side by Side full and half resolution, anaglyph; you have a few basic profiles available, but can create and customize your own.
If you want to export the video in 3D format on an optical drive you have a few more common options available for that and the interesting thing here is that PowerDirector 10 also supports Blu-ray 3D export with MVC compression, although that is apparently not available in the trial version, because I got a strange error message when trying to export in that format (Error code: eC0030011). Another important thing regarding the export for Blu-ray 3D media is the need for hardware acceleration from the video card, otherwise you will not be able to use the feature (you get a different error message), so do check what video cards are supported for the acceleration. When exporting in 3D format for an optical media you get two options available, either directly to burn on the disc or to save the exact file structure of the disc on your hard drive for testing and burning later (if you don;t have a Blu-ray burner on the video editing system for example). The options you have for 3D disc export are as follows:
3D DVD video disc – supports small 1.4GB, single and dual-layer DVD discs; in Anaglyph Red/Cyan or Side by Side half resolution format.
3D Blu-ray disc – supports 25GB, 50GB, 100GB and 128GB BD optical media; 3D-BD (Blu-ray 3D) format and in Sde by Side half resolution format.
3D AVCHD disc – burning on DVD and removable media storage; in Anaglyph Red/Cyan or Side by Side half resolution format.
If you think the software might be useful for your needs you can download the 30-day trial version of Cyberlink PowerDirector 10 and test it. You are also more than welcome to share your experience with the software should you decide to try it or if you are already using it for something that includes 3D video editing.