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CyberLink PowerDirector 12 Review – Overview and What’s New

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On this page and the next few you will find my CyberLink PowerDirector 12 review in all it long rambling glory.

In an effort to spare you from going through more about the software than you really need to let me just lay out the bottom line at the top rather than… well… at the bottom!

If you have absolutely given up on trying to work out which editor to get and simply could not bear reading another article on yet another product then relax!

You are totally safe to get this one knowing it is still the best in class and has been for years.

If you already have a current version and are trying to work out whether or not you should upgrade then keep reading this page to see the new features.

Base your upgrade decision on whether these new features are something you would actually use… not just things that look really cool and awesome!

If you are still fresh and want to get all the details then this page, the next… and possibly the one (or maybe two) after will give you a clear picture of CyberLink PowerDirector 12 and how it stacks up.

My CyberLink PowerDirector 12 Review

First up check out this promotional video from CyberLink to get an overall feel for the new software.

Remember! It is a promotional video so bear that in mind when the cheese factor gets a little high! More importantly take note that the video itself was created using CyberLink PowerDirector 12.

Various versions of PowerDirector have been my top choice for editing software for a number of years now and with this new release nothing has changed in that regard.

PowerDirector 12 remains my top choice for video editing software aimed at the consumer, home user and enthusiastic amateur level.

It must be noted though that with this new version and some of the added features the software is now clearly intruding into the “prosumer” or even professional levels.

Everything you could possibly want in a video editing suite is available in PowerDirector and I find it hard to imagine anything they have left out.

It is pointless to go on about the actual editing capabilities of the software because the program does it all and does it all very, very well.

It cuts, slices, dices, chops with ease and eats up the modern highly compressed video files effortlessly because behind the pretty face lies an editing and rendering engine with serious credentials.

These days however, no-one is expecting a video editor to just edit videos!

PowerDirector is a complete and self contained end-to-end solution that would serve anyone perfectly now and well into the future.

Installation

Normally in a review I wouldn’t consider the installation of the software as being of any great importance.

It is an action that you usually do once so if it takes time or is a little glitchy then my view is, “what’s the big deal?”

I am making an exception here because the installation PowerDirector 12 gives a very clear indication of what is to come when actually using the software for editing.

My confidence in the CyberLink products has grown substantially over the years so this time I decided to really annoy it by installing under the following conditions:

  • Web browser and email client running.
  • Two small utilities running that engage in a constant dialogue over the internet.
  • No defrag.
  • No cleanup of any files, folders or registry.
  • and just for fun I also started a manual virus scan at the same time…

Three and a half minutes later the software was installed, registered on the CyberLink site and ready for action.

The days of setting an install in motion and going off to make a coffee are well and truly over with this one!

As I said before, this is a clear indication of what is to come when actually using the software, it is fast and in some cases it is scary fast.

So, speaking of actually working with it let’s get into what else you can expect from this latest version.

There is a lot to cover so keep in mind that these are just some of the new features and not a complete list of the program’s full features and capabilities.

I have given my opinion on each of them as to whether I think they represent real advancement or value as opposed to bright shiny objects designed to dazzle you!

New Features That Are Awesome

MultiCam Designer

Multicam editing has always been “possible” on any consumer level video editing program that supports more than four or five editing tracks on the timeline.

The problem is that actually doing it is certain to send you insane really fast!

Trying to synchronize video shots from more than one source is a nightmare in both seeing what going on to make your additions and cuts as well as getting all the time codes in agreement.

This new feature in PowerDirector is excellent and well worth it if you have access to footage from different sources and want to combine them into one project.

Check out this video to get a clear idea of exactly what it does:

40% Faster H.264 Encoding / Up to 3x Faster with Intel AVX2

Not a strictly new feature but one they seem to never stop working on.

PowerDirector has been the fastest editor in town for a few years now ever since they totally rebuilt the software sometime around PD 9.

The current batch of highly compressed video files you will mostly be dealing with, achieve their small size and high quality by relying on the computer itself to do an enormous amount of processing work.

The result of this has been that even though the files you are dealing with seem small they demand huge processing power to be manipulated within an editing environment.

PowerDirector leads the field in its ability to not only harness every piece of processing power your system has but also to be able to organize those resources in such a way as to get the maximum benefit from whatever your system can offer.

Auto Cross-fade

A simple yet vital addition given that the most often used transitions between clips are the cross-fade and the straight cut.

Not exactly the sexiest one on the list but the ability to just drag the ends of the clips over each other to automatically add a cross-fade transition is a huge time saver.

Import PowerPoint Files

Great feature especially for those who want to do screen tutorials or just add something a little different to their projects.

Just create in PowerPoint then import.

Subtitle Room

Subtitling is not just for foreign languages and can also include the creation of closed caption type displays in your projects.

Something (especially with kids) in the audio may be a little unclear so a subtitle can really help.

Subtitles have been added in the past as a “text” track in the timeline which although gets the job done is very clunky to deal with and very time consuming.

A dedicated Subtitling module makes this tedious task very straightforward and a whole lot less painful.

Dolby Digital Plus

With Dolby 5.1 audio coming as standard on most devices these days the ability to natively edit and manipulate these files is essential.

New Features That Range From Good to Meh!

Theme Designer

If creating videos with 3D animated themes and incorporating your own footage into them sounds like something you would like then great!

For me, I am not a “spend hours on the titles” kind of guy!

Motion Blur Effect

Yeah, Ok it is pretty cool effect but nothing I am too excited about personally.

Basically what it allows is for you to create a motion blur (like a like a little rocket tail effect) behind objects you insert into your projects.

It’s that sort of visual swoosh behind things that can accentuate motion within the video.

Chroma-Key

While this has been a feature of PowerDirector since I can remember, this year they have reworked it and improved its performance.

Just bear in mind the software’s ability to execute chroma-key is only half the battle and shooting for chroma-key is an art unto itself.

Content-Aware Editing

Pretty cool feature really, it can scan and analyze your footage and detect scenes, faces etc to make scene selection easier.

Another aspect to it is that it can also identify scenes that seem to be visually incorrect, imbalanced or have some kind of error.

Once that has been done those scenes can be automatically sent to the appropriate correction tools (Magic Tools) for re-processing.

Pro-Quality Video Effects

Given the software previously had a gazillion effects loaded anyway the addition of more seems to me to be overkill!

However there are some people who say that too many effects is simply not enough!

So this year there are 400 or so to choose from and go crazy with and when you take into consideration most of them are almost infinitely adjustable, I think you should be covered!

OK, that’s it for part one covering the new stuff and my general impressions.

Of course all this would be rather pointless if it was attached to a bunch of useless editing features so next up, a look at CyberLink PowerDirector 12′s editing tools.

Click Here to See CyberLink PowerDirector 12 for Yourself

Next Page: CyberLink PowerDirector 12 Review Part 2



About

Lance is a fully qualified video editing tragic and renowned techno-struggler. He has put in the hard yards working out all manner of things technical... so you don't have to!

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