I've been away from Video Editing for a few years. I used Pinnacle 7 when I first got my computer some 4 years ago. I soon tired of Pinnacle's lack of bells and whistles. I researched a few new Video Editing Programs and decided to give CyberLink PowerDirector 5 a try. It was rated the best among some 10 other Video Editing Software. It was just a few points ahead of Ulead and Pinnacle 10. PD5 had the ability to capture from a number of sources including HD Camcords, and it had the ability to burn to Dual Layer DVDs. I figured it would be capable of doing a number of things I was looking for and thought it would be a quicker and simpler at creating a movie to DVD than Pinnacle 7.
I like the "Magic Tools" the program has. Magic: Clean, Motion, Cut, Fix, Style, Music. I primarily use Magic Motion, Style and Music. Magic Motion only works on pictures, it will zoom, pan, pan and zoom onto a picture giving the still picture some "motion".
Magic Style will create a movie for you. It will give you the option of picking the theme for the movie, wedding, birthday, vaction, etc. After it creates the movie for you, you can then edit what it created.
Magic Music will allow you to add music to your project that will fade in and fade out to the length you choose. The music doesn't just abruptly stop. The downside to Magic Music is the limited number of tracks to choose from. Oh of course you do have the option of purchasing more tracks at an astronomical price from Cyberlink. However importing your own music is a simple process.
I like the ability to create a DVD I can put in my stand alone DVD player and create a movie from the hundreds of Digital Pictures I have of the kids. I can add background music, voice over, animated titles, picture in pictures, loads of transitions and special effects. One of my favorite special effects is bubbles. Bubbles will float upward, you can have them mirror the picture of Movie on screen or have them transparent, you can also choose the size of the smallest and largest, quantity, duration and speed of the bubbles.
I could make a movie with Pinnacle 7 but I'd have to use a different program to burn the movie to DVD with PD5 I can do both in PD5.
I use a Panasonic DV camecorder with Firewire
AMD 1700 with 516 Ram
A second 7200 rpm 8 cache 80 GB hard drive I use just for Video Editing.
Geforce 3 TI 200 64mb
I capture about 45 minutes of Video add transitions, music, titles, chapters, PIP and Animated Captions to my movie.
It takes my computer some time to render and burn the project to DVD. I haven't actually timed the process but I would guess Capture, Render and Burn would take 3-4 hours.
CyberLink 5 Recommends: "To Capture/produce High Quality MPEG-4 and Steaming Vidwos (WMV, QuickTime, RealVideo, DivX) Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz or AMD Athlon XP 2200+"
I don't meet these Recommendations and I do encounter a little chopiness while Previewing Video, it looks smooth then it bounces between what looks like time lapse video back to normal. I would benefit with a Processor Upgrade but I'm satisfied with my projects. I'll wait and upgrade my computer at a later date.
So if you're in the market for a user friendly Video Editing Software Under $100, I recommend CyberLink PowerDirector 5.