Friday, 2 December 2016

Cyberlink PowerDirector 15 review

PowerDirector is one of the best value video editing programs available. Fast and feature rich, it is suitable for creating both professional and ‘serious amateur’ video projects. While it is not aimed at the ‘top end’ or cinematic video specialist, it is certainly capable of creating excellent quality, high definition videos to view online, on a mobile device, on a desktop computer monitor or on an HD TV.

PowerDirector 15

To create a video, you start by importing one or more video clips, along with any audio clips or images you may want to use. You then drop these clips onto multiple tracks in the editing timeline. Clips can be cut, copied or trimmed. You can smooth out the joins, if you wish, by adding transitions such as fades, blurs, wipes and all kinds of fancy animated effects.

The software also comes with visual and text effects which can be selected from a window and dragged straight onto a video clip. For a general overview of the features of PowerDirector, see my review of the previous edition, PowerDirector 14 or watch this short video overview.

At first sight, there is very little to distinguish PowerDirector 15 from the previous release. It looks  much the same as before with its multi-part environment: Capture, Edit, Produce and Create Disc and its three-part video editing interface: 1) the library from which tools and effects are selected, 2) the video previewer and 3) the multi-track timeline.

There are some handy new features too. For example, it can now do 360-degree editing. This lets you create videos that extend beyond the rectangular boundaries of the screen, allowing the user to scroll around to look ‘behind’ the foreground action. Bear in mind that you must have a camera capable of recording 360-degree videos in order to use this feature. I don’t have such a camera so I haven’t been able to test this. You can also place text in the 360 degree view so that, for example, labels can be placed over objects in any part of the panoramic display. 

This video shows an example of the 360 editor.

Other new or improved features include vertical video support to create movies that fit onto a  vertically aligned smartphone, a mask designer to let you mix clips in which one clip shows through a transparent shape in another clip, improved support for stop-motion videos, better colour correction tools, plus various improved rendering options.

On the whole, however, I’d have to say that, unless 360-editing is a vital feature for you, PowerDirector 15 is a fairly minor update to the previous release. It remains a good, well-featured, all-round video editor which benefits from a very fast renderer that produces finished videos at considerable speed.

For an overview of its principal features of PowerDirector 15 see HERE . The software comes in various editions ranging from the entry-level Ultra (£59.40) to the Director Suite (£164.99) which includes additional software to edit colour, audio and images.