Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
A good alternative to Adobe Premiere
on 20 March 2014
Up until recently I’ve only really used Adobe Premiere for my video editing needs, but I’ve found it to be consistently awful for many reasons, notably it is awkward, slow and unstable. In fact I’ve never created a video with Premiere without at least one major crash occurring. So, after another unsuccessful trial of the Creative Cloud version of Premiere I turned to Cyberlink’s PowerDirector as an alternative. I have to admit that I did not have high hopes. To my surprise, PowerDirector is, in fact, rather good. Not perfect, as I’ll get into, but good enough to put Premiere in the bin where it belongs.
So, what does PowerDirector get right? Well after 4 weeks of use, I would have said it has never crashed, but then it blotted its copy book with a single, minor crash. By comparison I’ve lost hours and hours of work using Premiere because of its propensity to bomb out and even junk projects.
Secondly, it has a nice, rich feature-set with a good mix of pre-set effects and user customisable transitions. The choice of title fonts and the movements you can apply to them is quite impressive. Overall PowerDirector offers a great variety of easily accessible visual effects for those who don’t want to have to learn all the bells and whistles of an application to get quite complex looking results.
The media formats supported for input is extensive and for output is acceptable. I’ve had no issues importing anything into the program.
On to the not so good stuff. Remember I said the software hardly crashes? Well, it does have some other annoying side effects when running, namely it appears to take full and exclusive control of the graphics card’s driver, preventing other applications (e.g. Photoshop, VLC) from running or functioning properly. This could be down to the driver being a little weird (I have an ATI mobile graphics card), but I have never experienced anything similar anywhere else.
Another problem is that, even though this is the Ultra version, it is a little too general public in the way it handles video. You can’t specify non-standard dimensions for video output and it if you try to import a clip that is neither 4:3 nor 16:9 it will scale it rather than let you have it with empty borders.
I can’t believe that this is version 12 of PowerDirector because it feels much more like a well debugged version 1 or 2 rather than something that’s waved goodbye to its 10th generation. The user interface is surprisingly good in some places and woefully inadequate in others and the inconsistencies really rankle. Scaling a video clip, for example, is a pain. For a start there are two different places where you can modify the scale (three, if you count the import) and neither are satisfying. One allows you to apply a uniform scale, but only manually so it is difficult to scale everything the same way, the other allows you to type in scale values, but you need to enter the X and Y scales separately each time. Since I have needed to rescale my clips because PowerDirector won’t import a video without stretching it this has badly impacted my productivity. If all the little niggles like this one (and there are quite a few) were to be corrected, then PowerDirector would be awesomely good. As it stands it has great potential, but makes you work hard to extract that potential.
So, it’s not great, but it is GOOD, especially compared to more expensive alternatives and I would happily recommend you try it (as with most software, a trial version can be downloaded from the publisher’s website).