On this page you will find my CyberLink PowerDirector 18 review covering what’s new and improved in this latest release.
On the next page is my run through of the program’s main features and its overall performance.
I have tried to restrict this review to just covering 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 whether 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 and simply can’t bear reading another review on yet another product then relax!
You are totally safe with PowerDirector 18, it still the best in its class and has been for years.
If you already 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!
If you have only just begun your search for a suitable video editor and want all the information, then just go through both pages of this CyberLink PowerDirector 18 review to see how it stacks up.
So before we get into the PowerDirector 18 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 18 Review
Let’s get things rolling by checking 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 as you are watching it!
New and or Improved Main Features
Using this new module you can create, apply and edit completely customizable vector shapes to your videos.
It comes with a text auto-fit function and keyframe controls so it works kind of like the titling module on steroids!
Professional Format & Camera Support
So with the software having undergone quite a few years worth of development now it really is starting to push into the “pro” category.
To reflect that PowerDirector 18 can now handle video shot on professional-grade cameras and in HEVC 10bit HDR10 & HLG, ProRes 10bit 4:2:2, XAVC 8bit 4:2:0 and MXF AVC 8bit 4:2:0.
CPU & GPU Performance Boosts
PowerDirector has pretty much been the leader of the pack when it comes to rendering times and sheer speed for the past six or seven years.
The reason for that is every time they release an update one feature that is always improved is the overall performance of the software.
In this update they have again tweaked the program to reflect changes in CPU and GPU configurations plus other industry standards that have evolved over the past year.
It supports transcoding of non-full frame video clips in a single timeline track with improvements in performance on 8+ core processors and multi-threading.
4K Video Editing Preview
As a result of the performance improvements mentioned above you can now preview your projects in 4K quality to see exactly how your video will look before you produce.
OK this is a big one for reasons that may not appear to be that obvious to the average user so let me explain!
Audio scrubbing means that when you scrub through the timeline, the software not only shows the video frame by frame but also plays the audio at the same time.
This feature is absolutely stock standard in any professional editor but PowerDirector 18 is the only one I know of at this level that can do it.
This is a big deal because when you are editing a project you are constantly scanning the interface for visual clues as to points in the project or a clip to make cuts or changes or to add things.
A single second of video on the timeline will be displayed by 25 or so frames that all look exactly the same so finding exact points with only visual references gets pretty tedious!
With audio scrubbing you have an added reference that you can use to isolate exact cut points.
Similarly without audio scrubbing if you want to make a cut at an exact audio event you would have to play the audio, stop, rewind, replay over and over a few times to get that exact point.
With audio scrubbing you just drag the playhead along the time line until you actually hear that event.
1:1 Square Video Editing & Production
This is an additional aspect ratio that you can use to create videos to the exact requirements of various social media platforms.
It cuts out the possibility of those platforms cropping or changing your videos after you upload to fit their formats.
Motion Graphic Titles
You can now combine animated motion title elements with your videos to make your projects achieve most of the modern styles you see these days in many YouTube videos and professional productions.
Check the video to get an idea of what can be achieved.
Nested Projects as Adjustable PiP Objects
This is another great addition especially for those who are making regular videos that contain elements that are repeated over and over in each new video.
For example you can create an opening titles sequence then save that not as a complete video but as a project.
Then when you make your next video you can add that project to the timeline as if it were a video.
The nested project itself can then be manipulated as a whole as if it were a PiP effect so you can use keyframes to control scale, skew, rotation and even set opacity.
Reversible Timeline Track Order
OK, so all video editors have tracks on the timeline on which you can add clips.
In some editors when you add a clip to the second track of the timeline it will override any existing clip on track one.
In other words track one is always on the bottom and any other tracks sit on top of that one.
Other editors reverse this concept so that the clip on track one always shows as being on top.
There is no right or wrong way as far as this idea goes it’s just that they are different.
So if you are switching to PowerDirector 18 from another editor you can now have PowerDirector switch from top down or bottom up as far as track seniority goes.
Improved Title Designer
They have added a bunch of new effects and features to the Title Designer module including the ability to add and position particle effects to titles.
Which PowerDirector 18 Version?
PowerDirector 18 is offered by CyberLink at 3 separate levels on both a perpetual licence model or as an annual subscription.
For reasons I don’t really understand a lot of people seem to get confused about the whole Lifetime Licence versus Subscription thing.
So let’s address that potential elephant in the room first right off the bat.
1. Lifetime Licence:
- One time payment with the offer to upgrade 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 Licence.
- Annual payment 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 third party plugins, effects and other resources such as background music and audio clips.
At the top of the heap PowerDirector comes as part of an overall specialist package called Director Suite which is aimed at the serious enthusiast through to the professional level.
Director Suite 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 Review
Ultra, Ultimate and 356
Ultra and Ultimate are the standalone versions of PowerDirector 18 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 from NewBlue and ProDAD.
The Ultimate (Lifetime Licence) 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 NewBlue, Boris and ProDAD add-ons.
The PowerDirector Ultra is only offered as a Lifetime licence 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.
In part two of the review I will go over the existing features, functionality and performance of the program.
Next Page: CyberLink PowerDirector 18 Review Part 2