CyberLink’s PowerDirector is an interesting multi-platform video editing app. When we last reviewed the editor, we noted that it “provides something for you, and it can grow with you as you become more proficient and take on more challenging projects,” regardless of your skill level.
The same relaxed user experience remains, making it one of the best video editing software tools. And his strength under the hood puts him high on the list as a real contender for best Premiere Pro alternative† There’s even a subscription option, PowerDirector 365, which mirrors Adobe’s Creative cloud†
But if it’s not challenging Adobe Premiere Pro First of all, what does PowerDirector offer editors of all experiences today?
Under the hood
First, CyberLink’s video editing software now supports 4K video. Good news, as 4K is quickly catching up with regular HD media, although it’s worth noting that other video editing software is already capable of 8K. Even some of the latest consumer phones and cameras record at that resolution.
Another welcome addition under the hood is HEVC compatibility. This relatively new format (although it’s been around for a few years, even when we reviewed version 18) is the codec of choice for iPhones, for example, so it’s good news to hear that these files won’t cause problems with PowerDirector anymore.
In addition to new templates, themes, and effects packs, a host of new features have been added to PowerDirector’s arsenal. They are actually too numerous to list them all here – which is impressive in itself. So instead, we’ll show you some that we thought were best for video editors.
This new option that we noticed when we first launched the app will probably be more appreciated by old folks like us who have explored more video editing software than most, but we think it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Earlier we found that PowerDirector organizes its layers in the opposite way to “normal”. A clip on a bottom layer that interferes with what is present on the top. Most other editing tools do it more like it would in real life – imagine you put a piece of paper on top of another sheet and it blocks out what’s underneath.
PowerDirector has now opted for the best of both worlds approach. You can change the order in the preferences. The PC version even gives you a choice when you first launch the app. Great move by CyberLink and much appreciated. It’s the little things, you know.
Some of the most interesting new additions are all powered by AIwhere complex computer algorithms do impressive work and take actions based on past experience.
Here in PowerDirector we now have AI in Motion Tracking. This allows you to add text boxes or images that follow a chosen object over time with greater accuracy. The tool is linked to object detection to help you apply a mask around a person or object. You can then remove it, for example, or its background.
Much of this kind of AI has been applied to audio components, such as Speech Enhancement to reduce background noise and improve the quality of a spoken recording. Wind Removal is a godsend if you are forced to take someone outside in windy conditions.
But the one that surprised us the most is one that, in our eyes at least, looked like a nice gimmick.
It’s called AI Sky Replacement.
At first glance, it looks like just a simple background remover, but it also involves complex motion tracking.
The results are nothing short of impressive, with clouds in the sky moving, for example, as you would expect with the movement of the shot. It also comes with several customizable parameters so you can fine-tune the effect and make it look even better.
This granular level of control can actually be found all over PowerDirector.
For example, check out the Particle Designer, where you can create and modify existing templates, with numerous changeable parameters at your disposal.
The same goes for being able to fully customize motion graphic titles (or of course use them as they are). Shapes are there for you to use and modify, and come with helpful parameters like auto-fit text and keyframing capabilities. There is also a Title Editor, where you can change your font, color and position.
And there is so much more to talk about. It’s clear that PowerDirector has been getting stronger over the years. Quickly, here’s a list of some more impressive new features:
On the audio editor In addition, you can now automatically lower the volume of the background audio when someone starts speaking (Audio Ducking), your background score can be automatically adjusted to perfectly match the length of your footage (Smart Background Music).
There is a great time saver if your recorded audio and video are not combined at the source. PowerDirector can automatically sync them for you – as long as your video comes with its own, inferior, audio, which it usually does.
You can create, upload and export SRT files – for embedded subtitles – including support for font, color and style.
Project nesting is now possible, allowing you to add multiple projects in one timeline when complex editing becomes a necessity.
You now also have controls to stabilize video and remove unwanted camera shake, or apply motion blur to moving objects. You have color matching parameters to ensure your shots remain consistent in color and exposure across a scene, and you can adjust tones and vibrancy while protecting skin tone from distortion.
There are three versions of CyberLink PowerDirector: Standard, Ultra, and Ultimate. Obviously, the more expensive the version, the more features there are. So those advanced AI tools, such as Wind Removal, Speech Enhancement, Sky Replacement, and Audio Smart Fit, can only be accessed with PowerDirector Ultimate.
If you use PowerDirector on Windows, you have the option to take a lifetime license for Ultra and Ultimate. For everyone else, including Mac owners, there is the option to start a monthly or annual subscription to PowerDirector 365.
This provides bonus access to premium plugins and effects, some of the best free stock photos from Shutterstock and iStock, and all future software updates.
We were rather impressed. We are now more impressed. CyberLink PowerDirector is an affordable, feature-rich video editor that you can use to create anything from a simple cut to a really complex project packed with effects, titles, slick transitions and effects.