on 11 December 2014
Note this applies to version 12. A comprehensive suite of video editing software with (too?) many features for most people. The reason for giving this product 3 stars is that it did not work out of the box with a bog standard PC ( Windows 8.1, Intel i5 core 8Gb RAM etc) the software could not produce any type of output file. Fixes, suggested by CyberLink, that drivers etc were not up to date, made no difference, but wasted a lot of time when I needed to produce a video to a deadline. Finally CyberLink issued a patch that worked and I've had no problems since. Lets hope that v13 includes this fix.
CyberLink Power Director V12
I am evaluating this software on an Intel i5 based machine with 16 Gb of RAM, an SSD disk for software and a 2 TB conventional hard drive for data storage.
What is it?
This is Cyberlinks comprehensive video editing and publishing software.
In the box.
The box contains two DVD’s. The first one is the actual program and the second is a set of extras. There is also a printed manual and instructions how to download a digital version in case you don’t have a DVD drive.
This is very simple, it auto boots and apart from inputting the serial number there is not much the user has to do.
I have used version of this software before so am familiar with It’s layout.
The software has two modes – easy editing and full editing. Obviously the easy editing screen is a cut down version of the full main software and allows the user to quick basic video editing.
The full editing screen opens an arsenal of tools that cater for just about everything you could ever want in a video editing package.
The main workflow is logical – Capture, Edit, Produce and create disk. Each option opens a series of sub menus allowing your video to be manipulated in just about every way imaginable. The software also includes a simple but capable wave editor to edit sound track and sound effects. It’s everything most people will ever need. A useful addition to this version is the ability to have multi camera inputs and do screen in screen productions. I have found this very useful for the type of instruction videos I produce. Just about every effect you could ever want is here and the slow motion function works very well.
The produce menu allows the user to set up the output for the video and the quality. It’s all pretty straight forward and there are lots of formats there including those for social media upload.
The create disk menu allows the creation of a video disk and here you can add cinematic title effects, transitions and overlays. There is a lot her and the user should be able to produce a polished end product using all the tools.
Cyberlink include lots of extras from title fonts to back grounds. To be honest there is not much more you will need to produce nice video output.
I have read other reviews where this software has been unstable. I have not found this at all even when loading very large clips and multi camera effects. What it does do is slow down under the sheer volume of data. I expect my machine with its SSD drive helps keep the software working in a stable manor as it is fast. I can see this being a problem when using a conventional hard drive and slower machine. This is not a criticism of Cyberlink, any video editing software needs a lot of fast horse power and these programs will be unstable if there are bottle necks. SSD drive are now quite inexpensive and easy to fit and I think most serious video makers will use one to run video and graphics editing software these days.
This is a very comprehensive suite that will take the beginner time, practice and patience to master. Everything is here to enable high quality videos to be produced but it will take time and push your machine to its limits as video software really needs a lot of processing power
This is a comprehensive package and is really aimed at the experienced video maker. There is the easy screen but you will only be using a fraction of the power available. If you have the need, inclination and time to put into this package along with a reasonable powerful machine you will be rewarded.
IF you are new to video editing I would suggest you start with something simpler like the editor built into Window 7 just to get a feel for what can be done before you attempt to emulate Steven Spielberg. All video editing no matter what software is time consuming.
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).
Hands up. I'm no professional...nor even semi-professional. At best I'm an amateur in this arena but I have used one or two of the software products that are out there (with varying degrees of success). So how does PowerDirector compare ? Well I have to say that it's difficult to find fault. The layout feels excellent....the easy editor is relatively, well, easy to get to grips with. That said I do sometimes wonder if the various software developers working in this field are pushing the boundaries to far for the likes of me. Do occasional dabblers really need all the advances laid before us ? Perhaps I crave the simple life....long for the days of cine films when pretty much all you could do was cut out the occasional bit of dodgy footage. I'm wittering. So my bottom line is that if you're gung ho for the most sophisticated software out there then this is for you.....if you're a novice I'd advise that you save yourself some money and go for an earlier iteration at a, hopefully, knockdown price.
on 24 November 2013
i did not purchase this, but felt that buyers should be aware - i worked with the trial for a month, on the basis that i did want to purchase.
All went well, i was impressed with the speed, features, usability etc, created my movie, created my menu screen and started burning to blu ray disc. i went through all the relevant settings for blu ray, and when the disc was burned, i had mixed results. it played on the pc at first, but caused error messages on my main blu ray player connected to the big tv. I tried numerous settings, none of which caused the blu ray discs to ever work on the blu ray player, and many of them failed to even work on cyberlink powerdvd on the pc.
I contacted their customer support, who were completely useless. They asked a huge string of questions, of which i answered all, asked to provide many screen shots and technical files for which i did, only to never be given any form of fix to the problem. The trial expired, and hence i cannot even use the trial to try and solve the problem myself. Would you purchase this program after the above?
it is a huge shame, because i did like the programme, but with this quite big problem i had with it, with no remedy to solve the problem from cyberlink made me feel it would be money wasted if i bought it
Premier Elements is my standard editor, these days, but I've tried a number of others including PowerDirector 11 Ultra.
This new version offers some worthwhile enhancements but also some frustrations. Cyberlink really needs to focus on the detail before adding further features to the next version.
It's a reasonably straightforward package for beginners while offering sophisticated features for more-advanced users. There are enhancements for all and certainly PowerDirector seems more feature-rich than Premier Elements, and that's saying something. It's fast too, for both previewing and rendering.
Version 12 installed easily enough and I had no significant problems running the software. As with version 11, I liked the interface and found it generally easy to use, if clunky in places. Timely, effective hand-holds pop up - very useful. You can easily display all the hotkeys and modify them to suit your needs.
The new effects are quite useful rather than gimmicky: Lens Flare, Water Reflection, Magnifier and Tilt-shift, the last of those blurring most of the picture and leaving just a small area of sharp focus.
There's support for combining footage from up to four cameras with MultiCam Designer but I didn't have the opportunity to try it. If multi-camera support is important to you, that alone could be a reason for buying PowerDirector.
With version 11, I tried ripple editing but found it awkward to use. I usually gave up and backed out to where I started. Version 12 doesn't seem to have done much to improve things. That's just one example of what I mean about focussing on the details.
I didn't use PowerDirector 12 for long enough to realise its full potential but, overall, certainly wouldn't advise against buying it. If you like the sound of it, download the trial version and give it a good thrashing before handing over your money.
Before continuing, I should say that I have self-taught myself video production using video enabled DSLR cameras and what I could find on the internet. You can get professional grade video editing tools for free (by `professional' I really mean that: they are used in Hollywood blockbusters).If you are prepared to put in a bit of time (i.e. get around a massive learning curve), google `Lightworks free version' and `Davinci Resolve lite', and you will have all the editing facilities of the big boys (or something to fall back on if you find PowerDirector doesn't do quite what you want for some of the more complicated stuff).
Power Director is for you if you want to start off easy, fun and inexpensive, and don't want to spend three weeks looking at online tutorials (and instead expect a printed manual in the box that tells you all you need to know), but want the ability to get more complex later. It does this by having both an 'easy editor' and 'advanced' mode.
I was particularly impressed at how PowerDirector simply imported all the weird video formats I could throw at it: it doesn't complain or expect you to know about codecs in the same way some other applications would, which is a big plus for the video novice.
When I first opened PowerDirector, having used Premiere/AfterEffects and Resolve, I was seriously put off by the default templates: cheesy is not the word! Wedding and baby templates with floating hearts and whatnot, and lots of stock photography. The video presets were not much better either: subtlety and cinematic is not the word! My advice: go to the Cyberlink website and download some of the user created stuff (google `directorzone cyberlink') to get some more useable content if you don't want `obvious/cheesy'. In fact, go there now to see what is possible with PowerDirector.
Once I had some usable presets/templates installed (they are free to download from directorzone) and had delved into the advanced features of PowerDirector a little, I could start creating content that suited me (I am into the 'DSLR cinema' look - google 'Philip Bloom' if in doubt). Best of all, I found that PowerDirector is pretty easy to use for a feature rich video editing application (the previously mentioned printed manual helps a lot here!).
You have a surprising amount of advanced features at your disposal: particle effects, video stabilization, animated titling and some cool transition effects, plus you get hardware acceleration (video is very resource hungry and can slow your computer right down without hardware acceleration). Finally, the actual video editing is fast. PoweDirector uses low resolution stand-ins to speed editing up, something that is often an advanced feature in other applications, and useful if you are editing high resolution video.
Onto the downsides:
You can't really do any video grading or much color correction with PowerDirector Ultra. Grading is what makes your video look like a film rather than ending up looking like video (think Harry Potter vs Coronation Street - the latter is what video tends to look like). 'Ultra' is not the Cyberlink top of range application, For that you need 'Ultimate'. Ultimate also contains the missing color correction and grading ability, so if you need it, you are looking at the wrong version here. Not obvious though!
The user interface is a bit slow at times (by this I don't mean video editing speed, but the user interface itself - the time it takes for popups to appear, the responsiveness of scrollbars, etc). I am reviewing using a very powerful computer that was purpose built for video (it's a 12 core i7 with 24GB of fast memory, powerful graphics card for the hardware acceleration, and 4 fast hard drives (2 of them are Samsung Pro SSDs, and the others are WD velocirapters), and I would expect something a lot nippier for what I am running on. Some operations are clearly not optimised for multi-core either (such as footage import) and take longer than I would expect. There's room for improvement here: its 2014 and any video editing application should really be multi-core aware throughout by now!
To conclude then:
If you want it cheesy (cat videos with `page turn' transitions or party/wedding videos with champagne bottles superimposed over the fun) then PowerDirector easy mode is just for you. If you want something a little more arty/cinematic, then PowerDirector is still good: it has lots of pro features waiting for you once you start using the advanced mode.
If you want to do more advanced stuff (color grading and correction), then you start to run into the limits of the application. From there, you can just roundtrip into Resolve (one of the free applications I noted at the start) or use related Cyberlink applications, so all is not lost, but it may be worth you looking at PowerDirector Ultimate rather than Ultra.
For what you are paying, PowerDirector is a good choice overall. At this price point, the only real competition is the Adobe Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements bundle. If you are coming at this as someone with some experience of video editing though, have a look at Resolve and Lightworks - they are both free and much more powerful than most prosumer video editing suites, but have the big disadvantage of a massive learning curve.
on 25 February 2014
As a previous PowerDirector user I must say I am impressed with this package. PD10 bears a lot of similarities and older users should also feel right at home. Installation was simple and relatively quick. Personally the main draw for me were the new 3D and 4K options. This time we have 'real' 3D as used on a 3D tv, and it works well. This will of course at least double your hard-drive usage for a given length of video, and also rendering time. Personally I only mess about with small close-camera effects which are very short, but this software is undoubted capable of use for full-length videos as long as you have the PC to cope. Rendering times on my Win 7 SSD i7 16GB rig were acceptable.
I don't have any 4K native equipment yet, but it was able to handle some timelapse clips I'd made (in another package), although it was noticeably slower than in 3D use. I'm sure this will become standard in all editing software within the year.
The rest of the package is full-featured and at least as good as anything under £100. Cyberlink have fixed some of the smaller annoyances of old versions and everything is a little bit quicker in terms of interface (again assuming you have upgraded your PC in the past few years).
A beginner may find this software a little overwhelming at first, but like all video-editing applications the functions and layout will be quite familiar to anyone using a mainstream package in the past five years or so.
Having used Power Director 10 for the past two years I thought that this would be a decent upgrade. PD10 is one of the fastest and most useful video editing suites available and was "best in class" at the time of release.
Having upgraded my PC to a Quad Core with 8Gb Ram and extra graphics, etcetera, etcetera, I thought that Power Director 12, which is built around faster Quad Core technology, would give me super fast video editing. So I painstakingly uninstalled my PD10, did a clean-up, then went through the 20-30 minute process of installing PD12 Ultra.
Reboot; as I always do after install or uninstall. Run PD 12, opened it, imported a clip and... crash! On restart some Library images were missing; these come with program, so should not be missing. Same thing again, crash after crash after crash. I even tried a reinstall and same thing happened. So, sad to say I eventually uninstalled the monstrosity and re-installed PD10 Ultra, which works fine, and quick on my 4 core i5- PC.
From * to ***: After updating my PD10 program I've been having troubles! So, spent a whole day faffing about just to do one 5 minute mpeg4 video. Reinstalled Power Director 12, after a Rep wrote to say there was an upgrade "patch" available; there are several patches actually! Anyway, eventually got the thing working and there are some improvements over version 10: e.g. improved handling times, import, colour management and especially "White Balance" and "Colour" tweaking. Some new and more modern Titles appear along with improvements to sound input and editing. So, overall, better. Only still giving 3 stars as we, the consumers, should never have to spend so much time faffing about with patches, upgrades and crashes in the first place!
Power Director 12 is the latest version of Cyberlink's video editing software. The company supplies a wide range of video, photo and audio editing software, competing with the numerous products in the Adobe Photoshop family of editing tools. It is currently pitched at around the same price as comparable Adobe products.
This is the `Ultra' version of the product - the starter in a range of three from Ultra, Ultimate and Ultimate Suite.
Supplied in the pack is a disc, activation code and an instruction booklet - this I found much more helpful than instructions in PDF format, saving time and paper for the user. System requirements are Windows XP and above, minimum 6GB memory for the full 3D editing facility, and 10 GB hard disk space for DVD production.
I loaded onto Windows 7 with no problems, and a free download version is supplied by Cyberlink.
The key features I noted are the multicamera editing tool - enabling up to four camera angles to be pieced together, and a host of useful editing tools such as picture-in-picture effects, motion blur. Most importantly for me was the user-friendliness of Powerdirector which enables good video editing to be carried out by learners and beginners like myself, but with a host of advanced features to suit the advanced user.