On this page and the next you will find my CyberLink PowerDirector 13 review in all its long rambling glory.
Every year when CyberLink releases the new version of the program I feel like it is getting harder and harder to sit down and try to put together some kind of helpful review.
The main reason for this is probably that consumer level video editing programs like PowerDirector now pack so many features and functions inside them that going through all of them becomes an almost endless task.
The other reason for me is that I don’t really know who is reading this review so you may be a complete newbie, an existing owner of a previous version or someone that has been searching for so long and are so confused they are just staring blankly at a computer screen in a daze.
If you are that person who has 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 its 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.
Remember to keep your emotions in check and ask yourself whether these new features are something you would actually use… not just things that look really cool and awesome!
If you have only just begun your search for a suitable video editor and want all the information, then just go through this page and the next to get a clear picture of CyberLink PowerDirector 13 and how it stacks up.
So before we get into it all let’s just cut to the chase.
My Overall Take on the Program
CyberLink PowerDirector has been my top choice for editing software for a number of years now and with this new release nothing has changed in that regard.
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 and 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.
In fact about three years after shooting to the lead in the speed stakes it still comfortably occupies first place.
These days however, no-one is expecting a video editor to just edit videos!
PowerDirector is a complete and self contained end-to-end multimedia solution that would serve anyone perfectly now and well into the future.
My CyberLink PowerDirector 13 Review
To get things rolling 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 13.
PowerDirector 13 is being offered by CyberLink at 5 separate levels and as with all things in life you get what you pay for.
- Director Suite
At the top of the heap is the software as part of an overall specialist package they call Director Suite which is aimed at the serious enthusiast almost through to the professional level.
This is their suite of high end tools and programs that go beyond just video editing into audio production, image editing and color grading.
For a more complete look at this you can see my overview of it here. Director Suite Review
- Ultimate Suite
This is the “Ultimate” version of the program offered in conjunction with Audio Director for advanced audio editing and Color Director for color grading and correction.
- Ultimate / Ultra / Deluxe
These are the standalone versions of PowerDirector 13 that come with varying features and extras depending on which version suits your needs.
At the top of the heap we have the Ultimate version which comes with everything and the kitchen sink.
Included are all the new features as well as the ability to handle the new HD formats such as 4K HD, H.265, XAVC-s, 3D, DTS audio and Blu-ray discs authoring and more.
With this one you also get the full complement of third party add-on effects and filters from NewBlue and ProDAD.
As you drop down to the Ultra version you basically get all the same features except that you lose some of the NewBlue add-ons.
Finally at the bottom is the Deluxe version which covers everything you would need for basic video editing and the production of your projects in common formats.
However at the Deluxe level you do lose the ability to author Blu-ray discs, all the added 3rd party effects as well as the capability of handling the more exotic high definition files.
Just bear in mind that as you move down the versions you are not losing any editing capability, you are just forgoing some of the more advanced features that many people may not use anyway.
You can click through to the full comparison chart below but my recommendation would be to go for either the Ultimate or Ultra version.
New and or Improved Main Features
Every time CyberLink updates PowerDirector there are usually a couple of new or improved features that make it really stand out from the crowd and this year is no exception.
This year they are the Multicam editing feature and the Video Stabilizer.
I have addressed these first with my reasons for liking them so much and the other features are further down the page.
100 Track MultiCam Editing
These days just about any event you video is going to also be recorded by a number of other people at the same time.
Everyone has some kind of handheld video recording device on them at any given time taking shots from different angles and at different moments.
Up until now Multicam editing (editing together footage from a range of sources) has always been “possible” on any consumer level video editing program that supported more than four or five editing tracks on the timeline.
The problem is that actually doing it was certain to send you insane really fast!
Trying to synchronize video shots from more than one source was a complete nightmare in both seeing what’s going on to make your additions and cuts, as well as getting all the time codes in agreement.
The new MultiCam Audio Sync feature in PowerDirector 13 allows you to synchronize up to 100 timeline tracks by audio.
This means you can use one common audio event to synchronize all the footage and from there use the editor like a switcher to create MultiCam projects.
Check out this video to get a clear idea of exactly what it does:
This is in my opinion the second big feature introduced in PowerDirector 13 and is a vital tool in turning just about any footage these days from “kind of OK” to excellent.
At the moment it would be safe to assume that the vast majority of people are capturing their video footage in High Definition on small handheld devices of some kind. It could be a phone, a small video cam, a still image camera or something like a GoPro.
Handheld footage in combination with high definition opens the door to the almost inescapable problem of camera shake.
The lighter the device the harder it is to keep it steady and when it comes to mounted cams like the GoPro and similar then shake is inevitable.
Whilst we can all marvel at the quality of footage that the new breed of cams can capture in high definition the reality is that not only do they faithfully record the pictures, they accentuate even the tiniest shake or unwanted movement in the cam.
Now everyone would like to have a filter or a button somewhere in their editing program that you just apply to a shaky video and magically it is now totally smooth. In fact many of the major brands including CyberLink have had at least something like this for a while.
The problem with these stabilizers has always been twofold.
First, because the software can’t actually “see” the video it can’t really understand the nature of the unwanted movement and fix it accordingly.
Secondly, in applying a kind of “one size fits all” solution to the video there is always at least some degree of degradation to the quality of the video.
Well this year CyberLink have come up with a totally separate solution to the problem by adding an entire module dedicated to the removal of shake as efficiently as possible and quite frankly it’s amazing.
You can of course just try a default setting but beyond that you have an wide range of options and adjustments at your disposal to deal effectively with the specific shake or movement your footage has.
Take a look at the video below for a better understanding if it.
OK that’s it for the two big improvements in this years PowerDirector 13.
What Else is New?
Customized Transition Effects
I am not going to go too much into this particular new feature because personally I feel that the most common cause for amateur videos to look, well… amateur, is through the use of transitions.
All you have to do is look at the average movie or TV show and you will very quickly see that they DO NOT use swirling, spinning, melting or whatever transition when they are cutting from one scene to another.
Generally they use straight cuts, cross fades or fades from, through or to black and that’s it. A transition is supposed to add to the story, not BE the story!
Having said that I will now step down off my soapbox and add that the new Transition Designer in PowerDirector 13 provides an easy way to create and customize your own transitions from any image… if you must.
Previously PowerDirector included a third party title designer but in this version have opted to create their own.
The Title Designer module allows you to not just create titles but to animate them and to apply over 120 video effects to those titles.
H.265 / HEVC / XAVC-S Support
They have added import and export support in the Ultimate and Ultra versions for the latest high definition video file formats.
While the above is not a complete list of all that is either new or improved in this latest version, in my opinion these are the major points worth considering.
In part two I will go over the existing features and functionality of the program.
Next Page: CyberLink PowerDirector 13 Review Part 2