Depending on which version you buy, PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 starts out with either a very helpful performance boost or a bizarre missed opportunity.
Buy the more expensive Ultra64 version and you get a specially written 64-bit version of the software, which is fast, efficient and effective. The regular Deluxe version, however, is 32-bit.
There are reasons why you have to pay more for its Blu-ray support – expensive technology licenses have to be to be taken into account – but 64-bit support? If you don't burn Blu-rays, the extra £30 is a lot to swallow.
It's a shame that this leaves such a sour taste in the mouth, because PowerDirector is a genuinely good tool. Along with the standard timeline editing mode, you get plenty of effects to play with, including video upsampling using the TrueTheater technology that we enjoyed so much in PowerDVD.
It's best to have a clean clip to work with, and whether you're removing noise or boosting the video, it's not hard to crank it too high, but when it works, it's just what you need to make your videos look good.
Finally, while not a unique feature, PowerDirector also comes with SmartSound to sort out background music for your movie if you don't have any on tap. You take a base tune, set a variation, then customise it to fit a set chunk of time. You get several pieces of music for free, with the option to buy more.
All of these features are available regardless of whether you get Deluxe or Ultra64, with the only real boosts beyond the 64-bit support being the ability to handle Blu-ray discs.
If you need those, the extra £30 is justifiable. If not, let's hope that Cyberlink sees sense for PowerDirector 10, makes 64-bit a standard option for everyone, and we all get a great bonus feature on top of an excellent product.
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