Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra

Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra
Developed by: Cyberlink
Ranked: 2nd
Overall rating:
Best price: $79.99
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

 
Review

Review summary

Good points Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra review good points

• Incredibly fast at previewing video

• Super-fast rendering speed

• Large selection of special effects and transitions

• Upscale SD video to HD-like quality video

Bad points Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra review bad points

• Interface is overwhelming for first time users

• No tagging functionality

Our verdict

Very few video editors are as capable as Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra. The newest installment allows you to do all of your video editing in one place. The powerful PowerDirector 15 Ultra is one of the most functional, versatile tools on the market today for the hobbyist or amateur videographer.




Full review

Utilizing high speeds and an efficient processing system, you can create great things with this video editing software package. We checked out CyberLink PowerDirector 15 Ultra to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Setup

Installing the software is a simple process, and you can download CyberLink PowerDirector 15 from the website in a matter of minutes. Once you've downloaded the installer, setup is a simple matter of choosing a few options and letting the program do its thing. The installer will set up the software with all the options you selected and Power Director 12 Ultra will be up and running within minutes – all of the effects and included content ready and waiting for you within the program.

The whole process is quick and painless, working on autopilot once you've finished making your choices. There was no need to reboot to finish the install on the system we tested the program on. When you open up PowerDirector 12 Ultra, there's a short splash screen and then you are taken into the editing room.

Requirements include the regular Windows 7, Vista or XP, decent screen resolution and CPU Processor, 512 MB of memory and 5GB of hard disk space.

Importing

You can capture media from a DV/HDV/AVCHD Camcorder, a TV/ Digital TV Signal, Webcam, Microphone, or CD/DVD. You can also import it from your hard-drive. Standard and HD video are covered.

When you have imported all your content, you can arrange your various media into sub folders and also view content by file type. This can be handy if you are working on a large scale project.

The program creates “shadow files”, allowing you to view your edits much more quickly without modifying the original file until it's needed. The only drawback is that things like face or geo-tagging were overlooked when building the program, and these features are missing completely from the otherwise impressive software. This means that it will be necessary for you to organize your own media, without the convenience of automatic help.

Video editing

PowerDirector comes with a powerful set of technologies to improve the quality of your video. Remove noise, adjust the color and light, edit Blu-ray and many more features are included within the software's TrueTheater™ pack. The pack also lets you upgrade SD videos to HD-like content in order to sharpen the image and to remove the noise. You can fix your lighting problems and enhance the color of your video - the software helps compensate for bad lighting.

There is a 16 track timeline (nine for video and four for audio). The most useful change here is the increase in audio tracks, which were limited in previous versions of the software. You can copy and paste entire portions of the timeline. The newly added track manager helps you manage your multiple tracks and you can increase the track height in order to view the details.

PowerDirector comes with a large selection of effects and transitions, which you can add to your scene changes, titles, credits and more.

There is a new tool called PowerTools (located above the timeline) that provides four different motion and resizing effects. You can rotate, crop, alter the video speed and even reverse the direction of the video. You can also apply a video stabilizer to correct shaky footage.

The new Particle Designer lets you add special effects to your movie such as dust, bubbles and falling objects. Some of the effects are pretty impressive and there are plenty of options for customizing particles. Their speed, density, width and direction can all be adjusted.

PowerDirector is able to automatically detect scene changes. However, quite often it will split the video up slightly too early.

If you're looking for a little inspiration the MagicStyle Movie Wizard puts together your selected photos and videos into a chosen 3D template to make a quick 3D movie. In this way, you can have a ready-made video with all the effects and transitions according to the style of theme you select. This is a good set of tools for the beginner, or someone with very little time to create a movie.

Another great feature is the full HD preview - check out the results of your video editing in full HD quality.

Audio editing

You can now edit your audio to the same precision as your video with CyberLink's new tools. The WaveEditor helps you edit your audio files by adjusting the pitch, the volume and the speed of the audio as well as reducing noise and adding effects. The software includes VST plug-in support for adding third party audio effects.

If you need extra audio and music clips you can download them for free from the PowerDirector interface.

Performance

Optimized for Intel, NVIDIA and ATI hardware, PowerDirector will produce faster performance for rendering effects. You will also see vastly improved editing and preview speeds. The system, called TrueVelocity, improves the overall effectiveness of the process and maximizes the memory allocation and use, meaning better performance for you.

The software's 64-bit editing power speeds up the processing time dramatically. The system uses the entire memory available in order to process many HD video files at the same time. The system for optimizing CPU utilization makes the processing smoother by splitting-up tasks into small segments in order to process them simultaneously. All this means you will be able to produce your videos more quickly, and more efficiently. The performance of CyberLink PowerDirector is one of the strongest aspects in its favor.

Disc Authoring

Power Director Ultra 15 is the only edition of the software that is able to handle AVCHD and to burn Blu-ray discs.

Make your disc sound better by adding surround sound. The CyberLink TrueTheater Surround system allows you to add a professional touch by making use of virtual surround sound on your discs. You can also add chapters and navigation, add chapters and menus, and preview your DVD output.

Exporting

Watch your movies in HD by producing Blu-ray or AVCHD discs in high-definition. You can also export your movies to mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod and PSP. You can output your AVCHD videos to an SD Card, allowing you to play your movie on many of the common mobile devices including most tablets and Android devices.

You can upload your movie to either YouTube or Facebook for your family and friends to see it directly through the software. All you need to do is enter your username and password and the movie will be uploaded for you automatically. If your video is longer than 15 minutes, PowerDirector will automatically cut it up into separate parts and create a YouTube playlist for you.

You can also create a video slideshow. Import your images, select one of the eight slideshow templates and then add some music. The beat recognition software will then automatically adjust the speed of the slideshow to the tempo of the music.

Power Director comes with Director Zone, an online community for sharing and watching videos. Here you can also download unlimited title templates, particle effects and DVD menu templates.

Ease of use

Most of the PowerDirector package is extremely straightforward, and most of the commonly used options are conveniently listed for you. The navigation is straightforward and your options are pretty full with a variety of effects and transitions for your video projects. PowerDirector features were designed for simplicity, and the software is extremely simple to use.

Previewing video is super-fast and super-sharp. It showed none of the catching and jumpiness we found in Premiere Elements 15. Adding and re-arranging clips was therefore easy. We found it much faster than both Corel Video Studio and Premiere Elements.

The interface is divided into three sections: a media area for adding files, a preview window and a timeline for editing and organizing your movie. These three areas can be resized, though they cannot be broken up into their own individual windows. You can edit in a full-screen window, or a minimized one.

Help & support

Email support is free, but can take between 3 - 7 days to respond. There is a knowledge base and FAQs in the support section of the CyberLink website as well as a comprehensive PDF user manual.

The DirectorZone is a place to share your expertise as well as gain tips from others. You can download tutorials and tips, and you can share your project details by publishing a timeline of your creative approach for other users to take advantage of - you can also view the timelines of other users working on similar projects.

Overall

Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 Ultra is one of the best video editing software solutions available. It's reliable and easy to use with some really smart visual effects. The polished, user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate and find all of the features you're looking for.

Despite the missing auto-tagging features that many other programs have, this is still among the best all-round video editors available, and the only one available in a full 64 bit version to make use of the latest hardware.



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Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 5 for Overall
Setup
 received a rating of 5 for Setup
Importing
 received a rating of 5 for Importing
Video editing
 received a rating of 5 for Video editing
Audio editing
 received a rating of 5 for Audio editing
Performance
 received a rating of 5 for Performance
Disc authoring
 received a rating of 4 for Disc authoring
Exporting
 received a rating of 5 for Exporting
Ease of use
 received a rating of 5 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 5 for Help & support