CyberLink PowerDirector has been among the best video editing software for years. It offers three main ways to create your home movies: there is a Full Feature Editor, which is the familiar timeline design seen in other editors. You can also use the storyboard layout, if you’re more confident. If you’re just starting out, however, there’s also Auto Mode that automatically creates a video for you in just minutes with just a handful of inputs required. It’s a good way to ease you in.
The Full Feature Editor contains simplified versions of nearly all the tools available in professional editing programs. For example, you have access to an audio mixer that lets you fine-tune your sound, the chroma key that allows you to create green-screen effects, and a surround-sound configurator that optimizes your video for home entertainment systems and even movie theaters. These tools and others allow you to make the same type of videos as Hollywood professionals. PowerDirector is a great program not only for creating great videos, but also for learning non-linear editing in case you decide to upgrade to professional video editing programs. However, because it’s expensive, you might be better placed trying DaVinci Resolve, which is equally powerful and totally free.
Auto Mode launches the Magic Movie Wizard to help you create a finished video in just a few minutes. All you have to do is load the clips you want in the video, select the style of video and pick your background music. The program then analyzes your footage with its Magic Style algorithms to pick out the best shots in your footage and arrange them into a finished project. When you preview this generated video, you have the option to do some fine-tuning in the Full Feature Editor.
Within the timeline editor, you can access the Express Projects module. It offers a library of pre-programmed video templates to choose from. PowerDirector walks you through sorting your footage, choosing the best shots for your video and letting you experiment with where to place footage in the template. However, it may be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. To access this feature, click on the puzzle-piece icon at the top of your media bin and select Express Projects.
Express Projects are important for two reasons: First, it allows beginner and novice users the opportunity to complete a project without being intimidated by the complexity of the software; second, it does so in a way that teaches you to use the tools in the Full Feature Editor, making the jump that much easier.
All the other tools you would expect from consumer-level video editing software are present. You can add titles, closed captions and other text to your video project with a few simple clicks. The chroma key (green-screen) works flawlessly. You also get a video stabilizer that smooths out shaky video, as well as a library of over 500 effects and transitions for you to choose from.
PowerDirector Ultra features CyberLink’s True Theater Color technology, which analyzes the color of your footage and enhances aspects like hue, saturation and brightness. It’s a great way to get Hollywood-style color treatment on your video project. You get more than enough tools to create a video that looks like it could have been made in a movie studio. You may never edit a full-length feature film with this software, but you likely could.
While this program is a great tool for computers that run Windows, CyberLink has not released a Mac-compatible version. This seems like an oversight, given how many video editors use Macs.
While PowerDirector has great tools that help newbies learn the ropes of video editing software, it also has powerful advanced tools to take your videos to the next level. PowerDirector is capable of importing, editing ultra-HD 4K video resolution, even in 360 video. Additionally, this video editor features an integrated action cam center that eliminates the need to edit footage captured with cameras in a separate application and importing them into PowerDirector.
PowerDirector includes a module that allows you to manipulate 360-degree video. This tool can set anchor points, pan and zoom through your footage, add effects, and stabilize shaky recordings. You can even add 360-degree titles that match your footage perfectly, rather than trying to warp a regular title to fit. And with the view designer, you can convert 360-degree videos to work with conventional projects.
Another great advanced tool found in PowerDirector Ultra is the multi-cam module. This allows you to import footage of an event taken from multiple sources, sync them up and then switch between angles easily. The result is a seamless single video that has the look and feel of a professionally produced piece. This is especially useful for events that have been recorded on several smartphones.