On this page you will find my CyberLink PowerDirector 19 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 19, 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 19 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 19 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!
Also the branding on the second video is for PowerDirector 365 which is the subscription version of PowerDirector 19 and is the same basic software.
New and or Improved Main Features
There are no strictly “new” features in this version of PowerDirector.
All the new stuff is either an enhancement or an extension to existing features.
For many versions now PowerDirector has not really had dedicated tracks on the timeline to handle video, audio, effects etc.
However the names of these tracks has remained which is a bit of an unnecessary complication of the interface.
In this new version tracks are now just tracks, no video or audio or effects or image or whatever… just tracks.
The existing motion tracker has always been very good so to those existing features they have added the ability to adjust text elements within that module.
On top of that you can now import images or video into the Motion Tracking module directly and work on them directly.
Previously you would have had to exit motion tracker, go into Picture-in-Picture module make you adjustments there then import it all back into the Motion Tracker.
Motion Graphics in Titles
All graphic elements (not just text) can be given motion attributes to enhance titles with 44 existing motion graphics presets pre-loaded.
Each of those pre-existing elements can be fully adjusted with regards to all parts of those elements to give you complete control over the final look.
Those adjustments can then be saved as presets themselves for later use.
Previously the Color Match was an automated feature that allowed you to add two clips to the module and designate one as the reference clip and the other as the target clip.
The software would then match the color profile of the target clip to the reference clip to achieve normally, a pretty good match.
The only available adjustment was a kind of “intensity” slider to try to get a better match.
In this version they have retained the slider function but now you can also individually adjust Hue, Saturation and Brightness to get an even closer match.
This was always a pretty good tool but with these extra settings it is now very good.
Mask Designer Vertex Selection Mask
PD has had a pretty good mask design module in place for a few versions now which has come with a wide variety of pre-designed masks you can use.
To create your own masks you have either had to adjust the existing ones and hope you can get one to work or go to a third party program and import the results.
In PowerDirector 19 they have added the ability to draw your own masks on the image or video you are working on.
From within the mask designer you just click on the screen to add “Nodes” around the object you want to mask out or in.
Once you have your basic mask you can then magnify the image or video and adjust the nodes to create a perfect mask by either adding more nodes or moving existing ones.
In the case of video you can then quickly “step” through the timeline and make adjustments to the mask in case your subject or object moves within the frame.
Here’s a video demonstration of the Vertex tool in action as part of the Masking Module.
You can skip to about the 00:43 sec mark to see it.
Linear / Hold Keyframes
OK this one is hard to explain but I will give it a try because it really is a great feature.
As is stands with nearly every video editing software out there, keyframes work in a certain way and are usually used to incrementally change things over time.
They can be used many, many ways to adjust color values, positions, opacity, this list goes on and on.
They always work pretty much the same way which is best described a linear.
Let’s say at the beginning of a clip the value of a certain parameter is 0 and two seconds later at the first keyframe the value is 10.
What happens is that the value from the first point (0) begins to change at a steady rate until it hits that first keyframe by which time the value is 10.
So at the one second mark the value would be 5.
In other words the value constantly moves over time depending on the beginning and end keyframes.
The downside of that is that in order to get a value to change instantly you have have to keep entering secondary keyframes to stop that linear behavior.
In PD 19 they have handled that shortcoming by adding a second type of keyframe called a “Hold” keyframe.
In our example above if the value at the start is 0 and the first keyframe value is 10 then there will be no change until that keyframe is reached at which point the value immediately goes to 10.
Which PowerDirector 19 Version?
PowerDirector 19 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, background music and audio clips.
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 19 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 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 NewBlue, Boris and 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.
In part two of the review I will go over the existing features, functionality and performance of the program.
Next Page: CyberLink PowerDirector 19 Review Part 2