After using the decent (but most likely crippled by my ancient computer) program OpenShot on Ubuntu LInux, I tried using the free tools available from Microsoft on Windows 8 to process time-lapse sequences. I wasn’t really impressed, but maybe they weren’t given the chance they deserved. The good thing, however, about again using a Windows-based computer is that there are many options for paid video editing packages.
After reading a really good review on PCMag.com, I thought I’d like to give it a try. CyberLink was nice enough to give me a copy of PowerDirector 11 Ultra in exchange for some publicity. I’ll do my best not to be biased with this intro/mini review.
To be fair, this is the first paid video editing program that I’ve tried, but compared to free Windows applications, and, as much as I hate to say it, Ubuntu’s OpenShot, it really blows them out of the water by comparison.
An Early Time-Lapse Sequence Edited with CyberLink
Unlike programs I’ve tried before, Editing for time-lapses has been nearly seamless. You simply import the pictures and select a period of time for the frames. Some basic licensed music tracks can even be added with the “Ultra” edition. This is great if you’re uploading to Youtube and want to moneitze your videos. It’s even got a tool for doing this automatically, so you can go away and let it run while it processes. Your masterpiece will be uploaded automatically.
Besides time-lapses, I’ve also edited a few more “traditional” videos, and it seems to work quite well in that application. Again, I have little frame of reference, but I’ve been very pleased so far. You can see all of my videos on my Youtube channel; the last few have been directed by PowerDirector. I would invite you to subscribe there to see some cool videos, sometimes even before I list them here.
One of My Best Videos. The music was added by PowerDirector, and really sounds awesome.
When testing this software out, I did run into a few minor issues. One was that the automatic Youtube upload failed after I went to bed one night. I think the computer went to sleep before it was uploaded, as it worked OK after I changed the settings around.
Secondly, the program freezes up occasionally, especially after doing some effects to it. This could be my computer, a Lenovo Yoga13 with a core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an onboard graphics chip. The software I was using before crashed all the time, but the computer was also much older. Like anything else, save your work often. It does have some restore functionality, so that is a plus.
The other limitation when making a time-lapse sequence was that there seems to be a limit of 2500 pictures per video. I would imagine this is generally acceptable, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re producing a massive time-lapse sequence. The system/software combination I was using before seemed to freeze after about 200 fairly low-resolution images, so this is a huge step up for me.
So would I recommend it for someone that edits video, including a lot of time-lapse work?
Absolutely. Keep in mind though, that I’m comparing it only to the free options I’ve used. On the subject of free, it’s at least worth checking out the free demo to see if you like it.
As for how far my videos have come, here’s one of my first stop-motion videos that I actually took using an Env2 camera phone. Besides CyberLink, having a DSLR, GoPro, and new computer has obviously helped my production quality!
On a side note, I really came to love using Ubuntu after using it for a year and a half. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is anything natively available on Linux that compares with PowerDirector 11, or probably any number of paid video processing programs. For what it’s worth, Windows 8, which I’m using, isn’t as bad as people claim. Startup time on my (SSD enabled) computer is absolutely incredible, and Metro actually does work pretty well in tablet mode.