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Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great creative video-editing software for beginners or more advanced home users, 6 Feb. 2014
This review is from: PowerDirector 12 Ultra (PC) (CD-ROM)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Machine tested on:
i5 650 3.2GHz processor
Windows 7 64bit
Video editing experience: daily user

Having read some poor reviews of Power Director 12, I have strived to ensure that I have given it a thorough testing and used all the features possible to ensure my review is accurate and fair. It's now been in use for 3 weeks of almost daily testing to include downloading clips direct from my camera (MP4 format), editing, adding effects, adding and editing soundtracks and writing completed productions to disc and my experience has been nothing but positive throughout. Recognising the importance of stability for video-editing and the risk of losing hours of work at the final stage, I can very happily report that the program hasn't even crashed once.

Power Director 12 Ultra offers a good mix of basic editing - eg cut, split, rearrange clips, improve colour, remove camera shake etc to output to slideshows, video, YouTube etc but also offers an excellent range of effects (quality and usable - not tacky as found in some other programs), transitions, overlays, picture-in-picture and `particles' (objects or animations) to enhance a video. Effects can be applied simply by dragging them onto a clip and if you don't like the effect, then you can either edit it or remove it and try another. I was making a comedy motorcycling video and needed to move the 'puff of smoke' from its default position in the centre of the screen towards the exhaust which was easily done. It's good to have a program which offers this flexibility.

It's quick and easy to use and makes editing videos fun rather than a tedious chore. It offers the choice between wholly manual precision editing with full control which more capable users will opt for while, for a quick and easy edit, you can simply select the clips or video you wish to use, choose a themed pre-set template, select the duration time and, via the 'Magic Movie' feature, a video will be edited together for you. Personally I'm not keen on these because they can include graphics which are irrelevant or inappropriate in videos. It's purely a matter of individual taste, but the video produced can be edited and these removed. For a novice wishing to quickly compile a holiday video from miscellaneous, it could be the perfect method.

Amongst the best effects are the 'New Blue' range, particularly the motion effects which can make an otherwise static object appear to move convincingly. I haven't seen the New Blue effects available on any other PC-based home-user package and these alone add a great incentive to invest in Power Director.

I produce videos of concerts filmed with two fixed cameras plus a mobile hand-held camera used to get close into the action. Power Director 12 has introduced a new feature supporting input from four separate cameras and the footage from all four can be viewed together on a preview screen making it easy to switch between footage from each camera and combine it, fully synchronised, on the video being edited. Previously, only a few editing packages, such as the Magix products, offered this feature. This is also very useful for showing multiple aspects of any action eg riding the Severn Bore to add footage filmed from the wave, the riverbank, other surfers etc to build a polished and multi-dimensional professional production.

PowerDirector is packed with features, both basic and more advanced, divided into `rooms' including:

* Picture in Picture - multi-track video with video in video.
* Particles - ie objects and animations eg snow, animated stars, clouds which can be added onto a video by dragging it onto the 'particle track or the actual video clip making it possible to add multiple particles which can be used together.
* Transitions - a vast range of fades, twists, blinds (although I couldn't find a 'shatter/explosion' effect - just the one I needed for a current project but more can be downloaded.
* Effects - an excellent range of special effects to choose from which can be dragged onto either the effects track or direct onto the video clip so that multiple effects can be used at any time.
* Titles - animated or still, and all are editable (text style, size, font, colour, motion etc)
* Voice-over - you'll need a mic to add a voice-over
* Audio Mixing - for mixing music, voice and audio backing tracks. Individual sound levels can be adjusted.
* Subtitles - still titles which can be added into a video
* Chapters - for outputting to DVD (only one template is included but others are available for download (free) or create your own).

PowerDirector produces videos by 'magic' ie with minimum effort `Magic Motion' allows pans to be added to photos via one single click and `Magic Music' adds backing tracks (included) of the correct length to a project. You need to be a little careful here when choosing from the soundpool tracks listed because some are only short samples and you'll be directed to another site to purchase the full versions at $99!

Videos can be output as video files or sophisticated slideshows in virtually every format available from small files for mobile phones through to common Mpeg AVCHD and Blu-Ray. PD12 supports 3D and Ultra HD 4K but unfortunately I don't yet have the technology to test these, but have tested every other feature and all work perfectly, just as they should.

Once complete, videos can be output as a file or directly uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and similar. Rendering is FAST - I am familiar with most current video software and Power Director is the fastest of them all.

In my view, Cyberlink PowerDirector 12 is one of the best all-round video-editing software products for the home user, whether a beginner or a more advanced user. It always offers a straight-forward, clear, easy-to-use and logical user-interface which is highly-intuitive and anyone who's previously used editing software will probably not need to open the comprehensive printed user-guide included, or will refer to this only to use the more advanced features.

There is nothing I dislike about Power Director. Quite simply, it does everything I need and more - and does it rather well with 100% reliability and I couldn't ask for more. I would therefore recommend PowerDirector 12 to any home user from a first-time novice to a home-user with more experience. At all levels of ability, PowerDirector is intuitive, easy to use and offers something for everyone for compiling videos, slideshows, with or without effects and/or backing tracks and it is stable and reliable in use. My personal preference though would be to upgrade to the 'Ultimate' version to benefit from the additional effects and templates to get the best from the package. (The 'Ultimate' version isn't necessary unless you're going to use colour grading or more advanced audio production.)
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Review Details



K Wren "K Wren"

Location: Wye Valley (England/Wales border)

Top Reviewer Ranking: 36