Using Cyberlink PowerDirector for Video Capture from within SONY Vegas Pro 11

CyberLink is and was known for making a very good PowerDVD and Goto DVD set of DVD viewer and burner programs.

But they also released over 20 different versions of a NonLinear Editor called PowerDirector.

PowerDirector evolved quite logically from one strength to the next taking advantage of improvements in video capture hardware and processors and gpu processors in a straight line up to the present day on Windows 10. Its an unbroken chain.

They even have a version of PowerDirector for Mac, which I am only vaguely aware of.

The key module or "tab" of interest with PowerDirector is the Video Capture tab, which does a great job with Analog video as well as various Hardware assist compressed video formats (aka DV, HDV, MPEG1/2/3/4).

The SONY Vegas Non Linear Editor is known for robustness, training materials and ease of use far more than Cyberlink products.

It is possible to configure SONY Vegas to "outsource" the video capture of DV materials from its own built-in or bundled standalone VidCap6.exe program to an external program when Capture is started from within the SONY Vegas menus. - 

This is done from the [Options > Preferences... > Video "tab"] 

Mid-way down check the box [X] Use external video capture application:

C:\Program Files\Cyberlink\PowerDirector20\PDR.exe

When initiating the Capture process from the SONY Vegas [File > Video capture...] menu



The dialog box will note that the capturing of DV video will use an external tool and that it can be reconfigured to point at other programs, which the trick used here.. to start PowerDirector instead and perform the Analog capture first.. then the resulting video capture product file can be Imported into SONY Vegas using the Explorer Undertab in the Media Panel.

In theory VirtualDub, VLC, OBS or other custom video capture tools could be use with SONY Vegas to acquire Analog video content and Import it through the Explorer Undertab.

Its also interesting to "know" that AverMedia went a different route and wrote a Capture "Plugin" for SONY Vegas that once installed lived in the "Media Generator" Undertab plugins. Dragging and dropping the plugin on a Timeline initiated the SDK developed plugin which took that as a signal from the SONY Vegas "operating system" to display its capture window and search for AverMedia Video Capture products it knew how to use to capture video. The end result when the video was captured was a segment on the Timeline more in line with an intuitive workflow.. but functionally identical to spawning an external capture program.. which SONY Vegas itself does with VidCap60.exe.. so arguably using PowerDirector is slightly more like the normal workflow.

Video Capture - with MPC-HC

MPC-HC ended active development in 2017, but before it did they added in much of the VLC and VirtualDub video capture features in 64 bit.

This is an example of using the Raw UVYV (aka YUV) 422 video capture capability of the Dell / Lumanate Angel II TV Tuner card from an S-Video source.

It came to my attention while looking at the File drop down menu that it looked very familar (for VLC) with an option to Open a [File Device...] from there it was a matter of back tracking where the menu for configuring the Video Capture Device was located. View > Options > Capture

Another Important location is the [ Play > Filters > MPEG Device, Crossbar, TVAudio and TVTuner]

Directshow panels for setting up further details for the card through its device drivers.

For some reason with this particular capture card it can get lost and permenantly configured to not address the UVYV input stream. For one thing the YUV 422 capture capability of this device on a native Windows 7 64 bit device driver that is Windows Media Center compliant is not well documented and only specified on the Lumanate website for one channel, of the dual channel card. 

Normally Windows Media Center only uses the Time Base Correction and MPEG2 hardware compression of the card. Its likely MPC-HC gets attached to the MPEG2 output pins of of the Directshow device driver filter modules by default or merit and never search any further. The Play Filter menus "might" offer help in this area.. but I've never been able to make them work after spending maybe five minutes wrestling with it.

The hackery shortcut way to reset this is to open regEdit and wipe a key to return it to a default profile and then try again. It will offer up UYVY as an output choice and start working again.

Simply delete the keys below the node "Capture" and close regEdit and it will rebuild them upon discovery of the card.

Its not a smooth way to capture with this card, there are a number of unpolished "issues" but it may be smoother with other capture devices.

Notably the versions of VLC that have similar feature menus are a bit harder to configure, even ffshow commandline methods. And people often think VLC is based on Directshow when it is most certainly "not. It reuses a libav codec library sourced from Linux.. so there is no Graph to study.

Since this exposes many Directshow filters is seems like it borrows the menu interfaces but more closely aligns with VirtualDub and Directshow filter models instead.. especially the DMO filters.

I've not tested it with many other video capture devices, but it could prove a very interesting alternative to both VLC and VirtualDub for video capture.


Lumanate and PowerDirector 20.0 and 10.0

It seems the Cyberlink (from Taiwan) PowerDirector program can capture with some of the Lumanate sourced video capture devices.

So far I've found the Angel I and II and Wave USB video capture devices do capture and with sound.

The performance and ease of use for Capture seems much better than the software that was called out as compatible.

Cyberlink removed or hid the Capture feature in later versions of their PowerDirector program, but its prominently displayed in earlier editions. Not all capture devices work with PowerDirector.. but a lot more than I expected.

Since PD spans from Windows XP to Windows 7 and up to Windows 10, there is a chance that it would be a very good long term source of at least an MPEG2/4 capture program. And it does seem to capture AVI with some devices I have tried. It is not perfect.. but its really nice to find an alternative.

I am not sure how it compares to Adobe Premiere or FinalCut Pro but compatibility with a number of brands of capture cards is desirable.

Compared to VirtualDub and OBS it fills a niche between bare bones and something targeted for streaming.

Optimized Video Capture with ATI USB2.0N TV Wonder


This works best on Windows XP, the device driver available is 32 bit only. There is no 64 bit device driver available.

Windows XP (will not!) enable the Audio subsystem for a USB Audio device unless you have a Sound Card installed.. even if you don't use that Sound Card. It has something to do with not loading the Windows Mixer service.

The Effect is being able to capture Video but with no Audio. That is you can capture video, but there will be no audio stream.

VirtualDub "seems" to be able to capture video and audio even if there is no Sound Card.. but its a heavy work around. The only test I made was to turn on the Volume Meter and see that it could detect audio input from the video capture device.

For PowerDirector 10, I had to actually install a Sound Card (Santa Cruz) and the Windows Mixer service was installed and started. Then in PowerDirector, I had to (and could) select the Video capture device as the Sound source. Its a strange sort of dependency.. but it works. Then I could capture 4:2:2 AVI or 4:2:0 "Software" MPEG2 video with sound.

Per usual playback on Windows 7 in the Windows Media Player required changing the file extension from the default .mpg to mpv2, then the video would playback in Windows Media Player, or in the Windows Explorer Preview Pane.. which made surfing videos without loading up a heavy playback viewer far easier. Trying to play the default .mpg file produces an error that the file type is not supported. I think it looks for the four CCCC inside the file to figure out the contents, or looks at the file extension for a hint as to the contents. And it defaults to not trying for plain .mpg files.. at least the ones produced by PowerDirector.. and many other capture software.

The ATI USB2.0N TV Wonder device produced good capture video.. but is Very sensitive to the quality of the external Power Brick used to provide power. If the Power Brick is getting old, banged about or is in anyway damaged. The Video captured can have a series of Diagonal lines seemingly ghosted or overlayed "Superimposed?" upon the overall image. They produce alternating lines of dark and light over the underlying image. -- This can be cured completely by switching to a new or "known to be fresh or good" Power Brick. The problem goes completely away.

I used to wonder if this was random interference or bad cables.. but it was simply a bad or failing power supply. These power supplies, even the wall adapters.. have capacitors in them that dry out and go bad.. before they completely fail.. or make the video capture device fail.. they begin producing low frequency interference probably through the shared ground connection with the video capture board in the device. There isn't really a practical way of shielding from the interference since it is a shared ground.. a filter of some sort might work.. but its an indicator the Power Brick is nearing its end of life.. and could further damage the video capture device anyway.. its best to simply get a new one.

Since most of the ATI USB2.0N TV Wonder video capture devices are over ten years old.. it makes sense that most of the Power Bricks are near end of life anyway and will be introducing interference to the video capture image.

The Power Bricks are generic enough and available from places like Digikey under the Phong brand name.

I have seen similar things with PCI video capture cards and now suspect the Electrolytic caps surface mounted to the board. They are intended to filter out low frequency noise.. but when they dry out they stop doing that and permit more low frequency noise to invade the video inputs and super impose upon the video capture raster.

Since most of the NTSC signal is based upon or synchronized with the 60 Hz line frequency (a low frequency source of interference) it makes sense that the inputs are not as well protected after the capacitors begin to fail.