Previously yr or two, the beginner video panorama has superior significantly, and CyberLink’s shopper video editing software is normally among the many first with assist for brand new codecs. Earlier than 4K content material may very well be shot on most smartphones PowerDirector supported it. Now we’re beginning to see 360-degree video and new high-efficiency codecs like H.265, and as soon as once more CyberLink is within the vanguard. And it is nonetheless loaded with instruments that provide help to put collectively a compelling video, full with transitions, results, and titles. It handles the usual trimming, becoming a member of, and overlaying of clips and results with aplomb. PowerDirector’s quick, highly effective video-editing instruments make it the prosumer video modifying software program to beat.

What’s New?

For longtime, diehard PowerDirector customers, this is a rundown of latest characteristic highlights in model 16, reviewed right here. I will focus on and consider every within the applicable sections beneath.

  • New 360-degree video modifying instruments: stabilization, movement monitoring, titles, transitions, and View Designer for cool results just like the “little planet.”
  • Shade instruments: shade matching, LUT (lookup desk) filters, cut up firming, and HDR results.
  • Video collages, that includes animated picture-in-picture templates.
  • Automated audio ducking to decrease background sound ranges when topics are speeking.

Pricing and Set up

PowerDirector runs on Home windows 7 via Home windows 10, with 64-bit variations beneficial. You may check out the software program with a 30-day downloadable trial model that provides model watermarks and does not assist 4K. Two editions of the standalone video editor can be found, the $99.99 Extremely and the $129.99 Final, reviewed right here. (Notice that these costs are sometimes discounted.) An alternative choice is to bundle it with CyberLink’s ColorDirector, AudioDirector, and PhotoDirector within the Director Suite bundle, which lists for $299.99.

The upper-end choices add a great deal of third-party particular results from the likes of BorixFX, NewBlue, and proDAD. To see precisely which is in every version, go to CyberLink’s comparison page. You too can get the entire suite for a subscription at $49.99 for 3 months or $99.99 per yr. The pricing is aggressive with that of Premiere Components’ $99.99, Corel VideoStudio’s $99.99, and our Mac Editors’ Selection for video modifying, Apple Ultimate Reduce Professional’s $299.99.

Putting in this system takes up almost a gigabyte of your onerous drive, so be sure you use a machine with room to spare. I examined the Final version on my Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC working 64-bit Home windows 10. The installer now not tries so as to add additional unrelated apps alongside the video editor, which makes me comfortable.

Interface

This system’s person interface is about as clear and easy as a program with such an unlimited variety of choices may be, however it might probably nonetheless get overwhelming while you’re deep within the weeds of fine-tuning video or audio results. It is not fairly as unintimidating as of Adobe Premiere Elements, nonetheless. You begin off in a Welcome display screen providing large button choices of Timeline Mode, Storyboard Mode, and Slideshow Creator. Two decisions beneath these embrace Auto Mode and 360 Editor—all these modes are self-explanatory.

CyberLink PowerDirector 14 Interface

For those who do not want or need all these decisions each time you begin this system, a easy All the time Enter Timeline Mode checkbox is for you. On this welcome display screen, you too can select your video undertaking’s side ratio—16:9, Four:three, and (new for this model) a 9:16 tall mode, since some individuals by no means appear to be taught to carry their telephones sideways for movies.

The PowerDirector modifying interface maintains the standard supply and preview cut up panels on the highest, along with your observe timeline alongside the entire width of the underside of the display screen. The storyboard view is extra than simply clip thumbnails. You may drag transitions between clips, apply results, and add audio clips with out switching to timeline view. I additionally just like the buttons on the high for exhibiting simply video, simply photographs, or simply audio within the supply panel.

4 mode decisions line up on the high: Seize, Edit, Produce, and Create Disc. The timeline is straightforward to customise and navigate, with a button for including tracks. You are allowed as much as 100. Vegas Movie Studio limits you to 20, which is already in all probability greater than most individuals want, although not sufficient for high-end initiatives. By default, you get three pairs of video and audio tracks with Cyberlink, in addition to results, title, voice, and music tracks. You may lock, disable/allow view, or rename tracks from the left track-info space, and you may even use drag and drop to maneuver them up and down on the timeline. Zooming the timeline out and in can be a snap, both with Ctrl-Mouse wheel or a slider management.

Primary Video Enhancing

As with most nonlinear video modifying software program, you be a part of and trim clips on the timeline. CyberLink has modified the default timeline habits a bit with this launch: As a substitute of a clip firmly snapping subsequent to an current clip on the timeline, while you drag one onto the timeline, you are more likely to overlap with the prevailing clip to the left. You get a tooltip with 5 choices: Overwrite, Insert, Insert and Transfer All Clips, Crossfade, and Exchange. For those who use the Insert button that seems beneath the supply panel when you choose a clip, you may get your clip lined up with none fuss.

Edit with CyberLink

The Trim software (opened with a scissors icon) permits exact management (right down to the person body) with two sliders, and the multi-trim software enables you to mark a number of In and Out factors in your clip—a useful gizmo for reducing out the chaff. Some professionally skilled video editors I do know lament, nonetheless, that you may’t do a tough trim on a clip earlier than dragging it down into PowerDirector’s undertaking timeline, as you may in Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Professional.

Trim in PowerDirector

You utilize PowerDirector’s distinctive and intuitive choice cursor to separate video and delete sections. Repair/Improve choices additionally embrace video denoise, audio denoise, and enhancements to punch up shade and sharpness. PowerDirector additionally makes it simple to repair lighting and shade. You may independently regulate the brightness, distinction, hue, saturation, sharpness, and white steadiness. New for model 16 is shade matching—vital for motion pictures shot at totally different angles with totally different tools and lighting.

The brand new Shade Match choice seems when you might have two clips chosen, and it is a easy matter of scrubbing to the body in every that you just wish to match. It did an excellent job in my assessments with surroundings and décor, however it may gain advantage from face detection, because it did not match pores and skin tones between clips very nicely. The brand new assist for CLUTs, or shade lookup tables, may give your film a uniform look, by making use of a shade temper like these you see within the cinema, for instance, the darkish blue look of the Batman motion pictures. PowerDirector helps a wholesome variety of file codecs for this, together with 3DL, CSP, CUBE, M3D, MGA, RV3DLUT, and VF. Sadly, this system does not offer you a lot assist in really finding CLUTs—you are just about by yourself. Pinnacle Studio, the one different shopper editor I do know of with CLUT assist, begins you out with a wide variety of the results, by comparability.

Assisted Film Making

The most effective issues to return to house video editors lately was pioneered by Apple with the Trailers characteristic of the Mac’s included iMovie app. Adobe lately added an analogous software, Premiere Components’ Video Story characteristic. With both of those, you fill templates in with video and photograph content material that meets the wants of a spot within the manufacturing, comparable to Group shot, close-up, or Motion shot. These are elaborated with transitions and background music that match your chosen theme. PowerDirector has an analogous software, Specific Challenge, which you’ll enter straight from this system startup panel.

Specific Challenge joins one other related software, the Magic Film Wizard, which takes you thru 5 steps: importing supply content material, adjusting that content material, previewing, and producing. You get 4 Types to select from, together with Reminiscence Area, Authentic, Quick Movement, and Sluggish Movement, however you may obtain 22 extra from DirectorZone.com, Cyberlink’s Internet useful resource web site. Not like the iMovie software, PowerDirector requires you so as to add your individual background music—there are not any canned scores within the wizard or for Specific Tasks.

There are 9 Specific Tasks obtainable for obtain, together with Motion, Excessive, Around the World, Marriage ceremony, Journey, Anniversary, and Love. An Specific Challenge solely requires two steps: Dragging an Opening, Center, and Ending onto the timeline, and filling the ensuing clip tracks along with your media. It is nowhere close to as intuitive or clear as Apple iTunes’ Trailers characteristic or Adobe Premiere Components’ Video Story characteristic. However it does supply steering in crafting a digital film, it’s really extra customizable, and the outcomes look fairly cool.

Video Collage

New for model 16 is the Video Collage Designer. That is just like a software that appeared within the final model of Adobe Premiere Components. Accessed from the Plug-ins button, the Video Collage Designer reveals templates along with your clips on the aspect. You merely drag and drop the latter into the previous, and also you get a nifty animated image in image. PowerDirector already had one of many strongest picture-in-picture instruments round, however that is a better option to get a delightful outcome.

Working With 360-Diploma Footage

Whenever you add a 360-degree clip to your undertaking, PowerDirector pops up a dialog field asking whether or not you need your output to be 360 or 2D. For those who select the latter, the View Designer window opens, which allow you to select the ensuing film’s viewpoint. You may transfer the angle round on this window’s preview in three axes (x, y, and z) with the mouse pointer.

View Designer in PowerDirector

Clicking on up, down, left, and proper, arrows alters your viewpoint, and clicking the middle of the arrow management snaps the view to straight on. You may zoom the view, and really usefully, use keyframes to robotically change from one viewpoint to a different. That final choice can make the most of the Ease In choice, which makes the movement extra naturally speed up and decelerate, slightly than taking place mechanically.

A really cool new impact, which I first noticed on Vimeo, is produced by the Little Planet dropdown within the View Designer. This takes 360-degree content material and realigns it in order that the bottom is formed like a ball that any individuals within the video are strolling round. Drag on the picture downward and you may create the alternative kind of world, through which the inhabitants are on the within of a sphere. A cool choice is to make use of keyframes to rotate the world easily.

Little Planet in CyberLink PowerDirector

Additionally new for 360 movies are stabilization and, remarkably, movement monitoring. CyberLink has actually pushed the envelope with these first-mover options. Sadly, I couldn’t get good stabilization ends in footage from my Samsung Gear 360, however after I tried pattern shaky footage from CyberLink’s Steven Lien, the characteristic labored nicely.

Movement monitoring works about the identical because it does in 2D footage, besides the choice field adjustments form to mirror its place in 3D area. It is a easy three-step course of: You field the item you wish to observe, run the tracker, after which connect textual content or graphics to observe it. Lo and behold: It really works higher than any movement monitoring I’ve examined thus far. The tracker displayed a circle centering on and a field across the colleagues head I used to be monitoring, and it locked on completely. Previously these instruments have tended to lose the tracked object, being distracted by background objects. It even stored up with the trackee when he walked behind a glass door. That is spectacular!

For initiatives that you just intend to output in 360-degree format, you may nonetheless use the essential trimming, splitting, and becoming a member of modifying instruments, however there are a bunch of PowerDirector options you can not use: Magic Film, video cropping (give it some thought), and content-aware modifying. You additionally can’t efficiently combine non-360 content material right into a 360 undertaking.

Including titles and transitions remains to be attainable, as is making shade corrections, and time speedups and slowdowns. This system now affords 11 360-degree title choices, together with some with fly-in animations. You too can change up the fonts with over 100 decisions and apply results like stroke and drop shadow. These 360 titles keep in place because the viewer strikes round, slightly than simply statically remaining over the picture. However you too can transfer them round, change transparency, and scale, all utilizing keyframes—fairly cool.

As soon as you have edited the content material to style, you output to H.264 MP4 format, or you may add on to Fb, YouTube, and now Vimeo, as nicely. The exporter enables you to select a privateness degree and determination, together with 4K as an choice. The 360 editor does not allow you to export to H.265, which might be good contemplating the file dimension of 360-degree 4K content material and H.265’s superior compression. PowerDirector can export to H.265 for traditional, non-360 content material, nonetheless.

Motion Digital camera Instruments

PowerDirector can in fact import and edit footage from GoPro cameras, in addition to from different motion cameras from the likes of Sony, Kodak, and Ion. However the devoted Motion Digital camera Middle beneath the Instruments menu merchandise seems when you choose a clip. This affords results like camera-profile-based corrections for fisheye distortion, vignette, digicam shake, and shade. It additionally contains results favored by motion cam customers, comparable to freeze-frame and time-shifts like slowdowns, speedups, and replays.

Action Camera in PowerDirector

The fisheye repair has a bonus over GoPro’s personal video editor in that it cuts off much less of the sting of the display screen, and in my check shot it distorted faces lower than the GoPro software program. Stabilization is not an choice within the inventory GoPro software program, and CyberLink affords enhanced stabilization and the power to repair digicam rotation for a smoother look. The improved stabilization (which takes for much longer) did a pleasant job of smoothing out bumpy pictures, however I nonetheless often noticed some warping—a typical artifact of stabilization expertise.

The Impact tab of Motion Digital camera Middle is the place you discover the extremely in-demand Replay, Pace, and Freeze-Body instruments. The primary affords buttons for replay and reverse, and velocity results. You select how lengthy a bit of the clip the impact must be utilized to, and from examine bins you may select Ease In and Ease Out choices. The software enables you to simply create enjoyable results which can be prized by skate boarders, surfers, and different enjoyable lovers.

One other tangentially action-cam associated functionality is the power to import and edit clips shot at a excessive body charge, comparable to 120fps and 240fps. I imported a pattern of the latter from an iPhone 6, and after I dragged it into my timeline, I acquired a warning field telling me the body charge differed from that of my undertaking, however Settings solely supplied a most of 60fps for a undertaking. A CyberLink contact knowledgeable me that the restrict solely utilized to the timeline view, and guaranteed me that 240fps content material is preserved at output time. Including a slo-mo impact to my check clip turned a hand clap right into a terrifying bass thump.

PowerDirector has a Cease Movement impact within the Motion Digital camera Middle, however it’s not like Corel VideoStudio’s actual stop-motion software, which helps you to create your individual Rudolf the Crimson-Nosed Reindeer. In PowerDirector, the software merely freezes the motion for a specified period of time on chosen frames.

Movement Monitoring

Movement monitoring lets an object, textual content, or impact observe round one thing shifting in your video. You decide the Movement Tracker alternative from the identical Instruments menu because the Motion Digital camera, after deciding on a clip within the timeline. The software makes monitoring an object and including a title, impact, and even one other media clip a easy three-step course of. You begin by positioning a goal field on the item you need tracked, then press the Observe button, which runs via the video whereas following your boxed object. And you then select what you wish to observe the tracked object.

As talked about above, the 360-degree tracker labored extraordinarily nicely, however the 2D tracker nonetheless misplaced observe of my topic’s face when he rotated, a typical limitation in such instruments. I fastened this beautiful simply by stopping the monitoring, realigning the field, and beginning monitoring once more. It is simpler to get a observe appropriate than in Corel VideoStudio. Adobe Premiere Components’ movement monitoring software additionally misplaced observe of a skateboarder in my check footage when he handed behind a pole.

Motion Track in PowerDirector

For attaching textual content to motion-tracked objects in PowerDirector, you may simply connect a mosaic, highlight, or blur impact, and also you get a sensible choice of many fonts, colours, and sizes. You may even rotate the textual content with a deal with. One factor I might like to have the ability to add, nonetheless, is a speech bubble, one thing supplied by Adobe and Corel.

Content material-Conscious and Multicam Enhancing

PowerDirector can analyze your clip for individuals, zooming, panning, speech, movement, and shaky video. This allows you to choose or reject areas of curiosity or boringness. Premiere Components has a software that allows you to manually decide your favourite moments, however it’s not automated like PowerDirector’s. The Edit utilizing Content material Conscious Enhancing right-click alternative processes a clip, after which it reveals a dialog with tracks for every of the detected occasions, comparable to Zoom, Pan, Faces, Speech, Shaky video, poor lighting, and extra. Clicking on any of the detected clip segments enables you to simply choose or deselect that portion of the clip to be used in your undertaking. Notice that this characteristic does not work with 360-degree content material.

With so many individuals taking pictures occasions concurrently with their HD digicam telephones, multicam is now not only for professionals. PowerDirector permits as much as 100 multicam tracks, however what this actually means is that you may sync that many tracks by audio in the primary timeline. The precise multicam-switching interface nonetheless simply has 4 video sources.

For synchronization, you get a alternative of Audio Evaluation (your best option for amateurs), Guide, Timecodes, File Created Time, and Markers on Clips. Once I used Audio Evaluation, my two clips synced completely. This system enables you to select which observe’s audio must be used, or you may import a separate audio observe. Hitting File performed all angles synchronized, letting me change amongst them. The software creates sub-clips labeled 1 to Four for the digicam angles, with adjustable cut up factors.

Whenever you’re achieved reducing, the clip sequence seems on the common timeline. Subclips are in separate tracks, however you may’t regulate the reduce factors there with out shedding footage and messing up the synchronization. The multicam designer itself enables you to regulate these. Fortunately, you too can reopen a multicam sequence within the designer after you have despatched it to the timeline. In all, it is a well-done and highly effective software.

Close to-Professional Video Enhancing

For those who’re into keyframe modifying (which permits exact management over when results start and finish based mostly on actual frames you select) PowerDirector is there for you. It affords picture-in-picture (PiP), overlays, movement, cropping, and time codes. All results and changes may be pegged to keyframes. You recover from 100 transitions and particular results to select from, together with ten from NewBlue. And the app enables you to set up third-party impact plug-ins from Pixelan and ProDAD.

Transitions are simple so as to add, and this system can resolve what materials earlier than and after to make use of while you drop this sort of impact to a be a part of line between clips. A search field enables you to discover a particular kind, like Web page Curl. And you may even create customized transitions utilizing your photos with the Alpha set of transitions, which depend on masking and transparency. It is enjoyable making a transition out of a pal’s head, as proven beneath.

CyberLink PowerDirector Custom Transition

PowerDirector’s chroma-key software enables you to shoot somebody with a single-color background, normally inexperienced, and create the impact of her or him being in an unique scene by selecting a unique background. Controls for tolerance of saturation, luminance, and edge sharpness allow you to create more-precise masks, and even within the default mode, I observed not one of the inexperienced halo I typically see round check topics in different packages.

A brand new Masks Designer enables you to add transparency to masks objects (together with your individual photos) and textual content. It was fairly enjoyable to make use of my mugshot as a masks over a flowing river within the check video beneath. As with nearly each impact, you should utilize keyframes to steadily ease out and in of those masks results.

This system affords preset PiP grids—from 2 by 2 to 10 by 10—and your clip tracks snap to fill the ensuing areas. The PiP Designer window makes creating PiP motion pictures less complicated than in any competing app. And not one of the competitors can preview a majority of these motion pictures with out stop-and-start jerky playback.

4K and 3D

PowerDirector helps 4K video content material. The software program helps XAVC-S customary of 4K and HD movies utilized in Sony cameras and camcorders. This joins assist for Canon 1DC, JVC HMQ-10, and GoPro Hero3 4K content material.

In modifying Go Professional 4K footage, efficiency is healthier than I anticipated, not even slowing down with complicated transitions. Being first with 4K functionality is an actual feather in CyberLink’s cap, however a lot of the competitors, comparable to Corel VideoStudio, now helps 4K.

FACE MASK RIVER from Michael M on Vimeo.

Not like Premiere Components, PowerDirector can import, edit, show, and produce 3D video. It will possibly even try to convert 2D content material to 3D. It helps numerous 3D techniques, together with anaglyph (crimson/cyan glasses), 3D-ready HDTVs, and standard video and photograph 3D codecs. I downloaded a number of 3D samples, together with high-definition content material, and PowerDirector had no drawback displaying it. As soon as you have acquired your 3D content material in this system, you may add 3D transitions, particles, and titles.

Audio

Audio tracks within the timeline by default present waveform strains, and you may flip up and down quantity by grabbing and dragging them. The Audio Room, a easy track-volume mixer, options Normalize buttons for every observe to even out clip sound ranges. It is also simple to create voiceovers with the Voice-Over Recording Room, accessible from a tab sporting a microphone icon. CyberLink’s WaveEditor is a separate included app that allows you to appropriate distortion, equalize, generate reverb, and apply just a few particular results. It additionally contains VST plug-in assist for third-party results.

The usual video editor additionally contains beat detection, which places markers on the timeline at music beats so you may synchronize clip motion. However for actually superior mixing, recording, syncing, cleansing, and restoration, there’s AudioDirector (included with the Final Suite version). With this separate app you may simply apply results and fixes which can be preserved while you later open them in PowerDirector. New for model 16 is automated ducking, which does not add quacks to your soundtrack. As a substitute, it robotically lowers background audio throughout dialog on one other observe. It did not do a lot for a loud live performance video on high of an interview however labored higher with a typical background observe.

Efficiency

CyberLink’s funding in 64-bit optimizations and graphics acceleration has paid off. Different speed-boosters embrace OpenCL (Open Computing Language) assist and clever SVRT, which determines how your clips must be rendered for the best-quality output and quickest modifying. In my newest spherical of efficiency testing, this system stays the quickest amongst its friends.

I examined rendering time by making a film consisting of 4 clips of combined varieties (some 1080p, some SD, some 4K) with a typical set of transitions and rendered it to 1080p30 MPEG-Four at 15Mbps, H.264 Excessive Profile. Audio was MPEG AAC Audio: 192 Kbps. I examined on the Asus Zen AiO Professional Z240IC working 64-bit Home windows 10 House and sporting a 4K show, 16GB RAM, a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700T CPU, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics card.

The check film (whose period was just below 5 minutes) took 1:59 (minutes:seconds) for PowerDirector to render; Corel VideoStudio took Four:20 and Adobe Premiere Components took 5:18. Solely Pinnacle Studio bested it, with a time of 1:35. However PowerDirector is actually among the many leaders. Its render velocity with OpenCL acceleration enabled is nothing wanting astonishing. Throughout rendering, PowerDirector additionally reveals you the time elapsed, time remaining, and what body within the film you are at throughout the course of.

Actual Energy for Your Video Edits

PowerDirector continues to paved the way amongst shopper video modifying software program. And there is much more on this highly effective, full-featured video modifying software program bundle than I’ve room to debate even in such a protracted evaluate as this—slideshows, disc menus, and animated object design instruments to call only a few. Its wealth of highly effective instruments could be sufficient to provide it a powerful advice, however the velocity with which PowerDirector handles modifying and rendering digital motion pictures actually offers it the higher hand within the face of many competing merchandise. CyberLink PowerDirector 16 Final stays PCMag’s Editors’ Selection for enthusiast-level video-editing software program, together with Corel VideoStudio and, for Mac customers, Apple Ultimate Reduce Professional X.