Before I get into the Director Suite 5 review proper I think it is important to understand where CyberLink are coming from in offering this product in the first place.
Cyberlink Director Suite 5 is quite an interesting study in how a software company like CyberLink can implement an overall development and feature expansion strategy without alienating their core or entry level users.
On one hand, endlessly jamming more and more features into the basic products on offer results in software that becomes overwhelming and incomprehensible to new users.
On the other hand CyberLink need to actively develop their main video editing program, PowerDirector to maintain their market position.
The problem for CyberLink is that constantly adding functionality to what is an already feature rich piece of software inevitably leads to complexity both in the interface design and usability.
As it stands PowerDirector is probably the best of the bunch when it comes to maintaining a relatively clutter free interface which still allows intuitive access to the considerable feature set.
So while you are pleasing that part of the market that wants all the bells and whistles at the same time you are alienating your core market which are home movie makers.
To deal with this problem CyberLink have taken what I believe to be a very smart path towards keeping everyone happy.
Instead of trying to stuff more and more into the existing editor they have spun-off and expanded certain key functions into their own standalone products that are fully integrated with the core program.
The result of this is what they have called Director Suite 5.
My Director Suite 5 Review
Cyberlink Director Suite 5 is made up of four individual programs aimed at the video editing process which, although can operate quite independently, are also fully integrated into the functionality of the main program.
This bundling effectively takes Director Suite 5 out of the home movie maker market and into possibly the pro market but definitely the “prosumer” market.
Director Suite 5 is comprised of:
- PowerDirector 15 Ultimate for video editing
- ColorDirector 5 for handling color correction and color grading
- AudioDirector 7, for editing soundtracks and other music files
- PhotoDirector 8 for organizing and editing image files
The suite supports both input and output of 3D files, 4K video files, and surround sound.
As previously mentioned, once you launch the core PowerDirector 15 program you can then send various assets to the other ancillary programs (while you are working) for specialized processing then have them pulled back into PowerDirector and continue with your editing.
Or, you can open any one of the programs and work within it it as a stand alone action.
What’s in the Box
PowerDirector 15 Ultimate
This is the top of the line version of PowerDirector 15 offering their most advanced features, effects, number of editing tracks, templates, filters and just about everything except for the kitchen sink. (Although it might just be that I haven’t discovered the “Kitchen Sink” button yet!)
PowerDirector has been my top choice for a video editing solution at the consumer to enthusiastic amateur level for about 7 years now and there is nothing around at the moment that makes me think they will be knocked off the top spot anytime in the near future.
Apart from its enormous feature set probably for me the key to selecting it as my main choice is that it is probably the “smartest” editing software around at this level when it comes to rendering and previewing.
It is this “smart” technology that allowed it to get clear of the pack and no-one so far has managed to catch up.
Rather than go on and on about it here you can click here to see my full PowerDirector 15 Review.
ColorDirector is not just an added module for fixing up the color in poorly shot videos… although it does do that very well!
To understand the value of this program you need to understand the difference between color correction and color grading.
If you have ever wondered how professional movie makers achieve such powerful and emotional “looks” to their scenes then grading is the answer to the question.
Not only can you use the program for correction and grading but it comes with a range of features such a motion tracking that allow you to apply effects to single objects within a frame.
Check this video below from CyberLink to get a good understanding of what the program can do and whether it is something you would have a use for.
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear here before we go any further. I am not an expert in any way, shape or form when it comes to image editing software or the subject of photography.
What I do know is that for the last ten years I have been trying to use image editing software to do simple things to my images to either correct them or prepare them for use in my video projects.
I first tried PhotoShop. I downloaded it, installed it, opened it and took one look at the interface and closed it immediately and uninstalled. The horror of that interface haunts me to this day.
I then tried their Elements version which is supposed to be for the amateur user… pretty much the same thing happened only this time I actually got an image loaded but was lost within minutes. The upside was that I was only annoyed by it, not disturbed.
Since then I have been trying to find an image editing program that does not submerge you into a morass of terminology and complexity as a prerequisite to actually using it!
You may have gathered by now I am not fond of this class of software!
Finally I found PhotoDirector bundled with Director Suite 5.
It was with great apprehension that I opened the program to see what was inside.
This is easily the most intuitive photo editing software I have come across and although it offers all the advanced features anyone could want it is easy to use or at least work out how to use.
Within any iteration of the PowerDirector program CyberLink have alway included a free audio editing program called Wav Editor and for the average user, this is enough.
However if you want to take your projects up a notch in the audio department then you are going to need a dedicated audio editing program of some description.
As usual with the entire CyberLink range they somehow manage in AudioDirector 7 to pack in full functionality without swamping you with technicality.
The features and uses go on forever so here’s the lazy view!
The Bottom Line
Cyberlink Director Suite 5 is one of the best multi-media editing and production suites available on the market today.
Having said that it is important for anyone considering a suite like this that it only represents great value if you can clearly see yourself using it in its entirety or ultimately growing into it.
The individual components are available for purchase separately but of course the maximum value is offered by going for the full Director Suite 5 package and the maximum benefit comes from the integration of all the parts into the editing process.
Taken as a whole or even when looking at the individual components these tools compare very favorably with professional level programs but at a far more attractive price.
All round, if it suits your needs then you need look no further.