On this page you will find my CyberLink PowerDirector 21 | 365 review covering what’s new and improved in this latest release plus some general overall observations.
I try to restrict these reviews to just the important points but each year as the software develops, that task becomes more and more difficult.
Consumer level video editing programs like PowerDirector now pack so many features and functions that going through them all can turn into a career instead of a review.
So if you are a complete newbie or an existing owner hopefully you can find the information you are looking for here.
If you have almost given up on trying to work out which editing program is best for you or simply can’t bear reading another review then relax!
You are totally safe with PowerDirector 21 | 365, it still the best in its class and has been for years.
If you have a current version and are trying to decide on upgrading or not then keep reading this page of the review 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 and not just things that look really cool and awesome!
So before we get into the PowerDirector 21 | 365 review itself let’s just cut to the chase.
My Overall Take on the Program
CyberLink PowerDirector has been my top choice for editing software for many years now and with this new release nothing has changed in that regard.
Everything you could possibly want in a video editing suite (and probably a bunch of stuff you never thought of) is available in PowerDirector and I find it hard to imagine anything they have left out.
It is somewhat pointless to review 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 file formats effortlessly.
About seven years after shooting to the lead in the speed stakes PowerDirector 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 21 Review
Let’s get things rolling by checking out these promotional videos from CyberLink to get an overall feel for the new software.
Keep in mind that they are promotional videos so get get too worked up just yet!
New and or Improved Main Features
A Quick Note on A.I.
A lot of editing programs at the moment are touting their new A.I. features and CyberLink PowerDirector is also at that party.
So it is probably best to get a quick understanding of how A.I. could possibly be applied to video editing software before we go any further.
Software cannot “see” an image and know what it is, “watch” a video and know what it is about or “listen” to a non-verbal audio track and enjoy the music so let’s not pretend they can.
Anything that claims to do that comes from the marketing department, not the technical department.
What software CAN do is analyze millions of images or videos or non-spoken audio tracks then have a human tell it what many of those things are.
The software can then identify what is the same and what is different between a large number of files and begin to predict what something is likely to be.
As it continues to process more and more data and receive human correction, it can begin to “learn” what things are to a very accurate level.
So the new A.I. driven features in PowerDirector 21 | 365 and other editing software use that “learning” to make very accurate decisions as to what things are in a video, image or audio file.
Based on that they can then carry out quite advanced functions within the software.
AI Sky Replacement
This module used millions of sampled files so as to be able to accurately work out what part of the file is the sky and allow for that part to be replaced by another sky.
Night becomes day, city becomes country… very cool!
AI Background Music Smart Fit
This one is particularly awesome especially for those who are wanting to make videos faster for places like YouTube.
Fiddling around with audio is always going to be one of the longer and slower processes in video editing.
Getting music tracks to start and continue is easy, its the stopping that will kill you!
Trying to find a track of the right length or a track where you can end it at a logical point is a royal pain in the butt!
The Smart Fit feature takes a track and using the A.I. learning I already mentioned and works out how to make that track fit perfectly to you project or section of you project.
AI Wind Removal
Using this feature you can remove wind noise or background noise from videos that suffer from this.
If you check the demonstration video below you can see it does a very good job on constant background noise.
Bear in mind that random, uneven or fluctuating background noise is going to be more of a problem to deal with and will require more intervention by you.
Title Gradient Color Boards and Multiple Title Borders
These are new features added to the Titling Module to allow for far greater control over what was a pretty strong feature in the first place.
The settings now allow you to customize your titles with fine control over gradient fills that can be either radial or linear.
Additionally you can now apply effects to either the entire title, each line of the title or each character in the title.
On top of that you can also add up to three “Borders” to the text.
Here’s a quick look at it in action.
Access to Free Shutterstock and iStock Royalty Free Assets
This is in the subscription based PowerDirector 365 version only but as a person who is always using stock assets I find it to be well worth the price of admission.
Previously there was access to a Shutterstock library of assets that was about a million images, audio files and videos in total.
That access has been expanded to approximately 6,400,000 royalty-free videos, images, and background music.
On top of that they have added access to an additional 2,800,000 royalty-free images and videos through iStock which is part of Getty Images.
AI Speech Enhancement
This is an A.I. driven module that identifies the existing voice characteristics in an audio file and automatically enhances it based on what it “knows” from millions of other samples.
21:9 & 4:5 Aspect Ratio Support
New aspect ratios introduced as presets rather than cutomized settings you have to enter for yourself at the beginning of a project.
21:9 is suitable for widescreen “cinematic” footage or projects and the 4:5 is used commonly on social media.
Which PowerDirector 21 Version?
PowerDirector is offered by CyberLink at 3 separate levels on both a perpetual license model or as an annual subscription.
A lot of people seem to get confused about the whole Lifetime License versus Subscription thing.
So let’s address that potential elephant in the room first right off the bat.
1. Lifetime License:
- One time payment with the offer to upgrade each year to new versions at a discount.
- Regardless of which version of PowerDirector you choose (Except for Director Suite which is Subscription only) you get to install the program and keep it forever.
- Support for the program in the form of updates, bug fixes etc. generally runs for about three years.
- You do not automatically get new features as they are released or access to resources beyond what is packaged in the software at the time of purchase.
2. Subscription License.
- Annual or Monthly payments but no charge for upgrades beyond the annual subscription.
- Regardless of which version of PowerDirector you choose you get to install the program and keep using it as long as your subscription is up to date.
- Support for the program continues as long as the subscription is current.
- Automatically get access to new features as they become available rather than waiting for a new version release.
- Added access to advanced third party plugins, effects and other resources such as Shutterstock and iStock background music and audio clips, images and videos.
Director Suite 365
At the top of the heap PowerDirector comes as part of an overall specialist package called Director Suite 365 which is aimed at the serious enthusiast through to the professional level.
Director Suite 365 is is only offered as an annual subscription service.
This is CyberLink’s complete 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 365 Review
Ultra, Ultimate and 365
Ultra and Ultimate are the standalone versions of PowerDirector 21 with the 365 version being the Ultimate version as a subscription offering.
At the top of the heap we have the 365 subscription 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.
The Ultimate (Lifetime License) version is pretty much the same as far as features go but you do miss out on a few added plugins and the benefits of subscribing.
As you drop down to the Ultra version you basically get all the same features except that you lose some of the ProDAD add-ons.
The PowerDirector Ultra is only offered as a Lifetime license and not a subscription.
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 and extras that some people may not use anyway.
PowerDirector 21 Version Comparison Chart
In part two of the review I will go over the existing features, functionality and performance of the program.
Click Here to See CyberLink PowerDirector 21 for Yourself
Next Page: CyberLink PowerDirector 21 Review Part 2