ProShow 9 ships with a host of new features, but today we want to spotlight one of the bigger under-the-hood improvements. The video importing engine received a fairly major overhaul in order to improve your experience when working with video content. Not only should your video files import much faster in version 9, but they should also look better too.
Waiting for videos to import in ProShow can certainly slow down an otherwise quick project. Unlike a standard video editor, ProShow needs to convert your video into a temporary format that will allow it to play nicely with all the other elements in your slides – your images, captions, and music – during playback. In ProShow 9, we worked hard to optimize the speed of video importing so that you can spend less time waiting and more time working on your projects. In our tests, 1080p videos commonly import in 1/3rd of the time as they did in version 8. Even greater improvements were seen importing 4K videos. The speed improvement you see will greatly depend on the processing power of your computer (CPU clock speed; number of CPU cores) as well as the particular videos you’re working with, but the difference should be notable in almost all scenarios.
In addition to importing videos faster, the videos you import will now look better in ProShow’s preview. You should notice considerably less macroblocking and artifacting on high definition content than in previous versions. It’s important to know that ProShow always reverts back to the source video rather than the transcoded preview video when exporting your show, but it’s always better to have your preview more closely match what you’ll see in the end product.
With the proliferation of smartphones, GoPros, and DSLR or mirrorless cameras that all shoot progressive video (e.g. 1080p), it’s easy to think that interlaced video is a thing of the past. But many professional HD video cameras today and most consumer-level digital camcorders up until recently shoot natively as interlaced rather than progressive. If you’ve got any home videos that you’ve converted to DVD, that’s most likely going to be interlaced as well. This type of video must be carefully converted for display on an LCD screen through a process called deinterlacing. ProShow 9 now deinterlaces these videos automatically to prevent “combing” artifacts. Additionally, the increased motion fluidity that’s inherent in interlaced videos will be preserved when publishing to either another interlaced format (e.g. DVD, Blu-ray 1080i, etc) or a high frame rate video (MPEG-4 1080p60, Blu-ray 720p60).
ProShow 9 also handles PAL content (a common video standard outside of North America) better than in previous versions. Both 25fps (interlaced or progressive) and 50fps videos will see improved frame alignment when exporting to another PAL format. It’s worth noting that we’ve also added new PAL-specific MPEG-4 video presets in the video output window. These may be beneficial if you have a show with a lot of PAL video content, which allows the the input and output frame rates to match up. Note that for shows without video, the main MPEG-4 presets from the “Standard Video Format” category should generally be used because they line up better with the refresh rates of computer monitors and HDTVs (even PAL TVs, in most cases).
As the use of video in ProShow continues to grow among users, we think these improvements will both enhance your workflow as well as make your final product look much more professional than it ever has. For those that work extensively with video, this could very well be the biggest reason to check out ProShow 9.