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CyberLink PowerDirector review

Our CyberLink PowerDirector review looks at numerous new features added to this powerful video editing application.

CyberLink PowerDirector review
(Image: © CyberLink )

Our Verdict

CyberLink PowerDirector is one of the best prosumer video editing applications available, and it keeps getting better. The new keyframe and masking tools are great for creativity and efficiency.

For

  • Efficient interface
  • Useful new features
  • Now available on Mac
  • Fast performance

Against

  • Color tools lacking

For a while now, CyberLink PowerDirector has been among the best video editing software for prosumer users. On a similar level to Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle Studio, it enables video editing to a professional standard, while remaining more accessible and user-friendly than high-end software like Premiere Pro and Final Cut.

CyberLink is always adding new features. PowerDirector 19, released September 2020, sees masks, keyframes, and color matching all significantly improved. Plus, as of December 2020, it’s finally available for Mac as well as PC. In our CyberLink PowerDirector review, we’ll take a closer look at what this popular editing software is now able to do.

PowerDirector is available from CyberLink’s website (Image credit: CyberLink )

PowerDirector 19 includes a significant update to the mask designer. As well as using preset shapes, you can now draw your own masks, either using a brush or vertex points. Simply draw a shape onto the video and you can then apply effects within this shape, or cut it out and superimpose it onto a different layer. You can achieve lots of creative effects with this, such as cutting out a person and putting them in a different background.

Though it can be difficult to shape a mask perfectly, a feather option allows some leeway. And if you want to mask a moving subject, you can step through the clip and make adjustments. It’s also possible, in the Ultimate version of PowerDirector, to use masks with motion tracking.

CyberLink PowerDirector review

Adjust and curve vertices for precise masks (Image credit: CyberLink)

With its picture in picture editor, PowerDirector enables precise control over the animation of video elements. A further improvement to this system, as of PowerDirector 19, is that there are now two types of keyframes – linear and hold.

Linear keyframes work as they always have – set a certain parameter for your clip at two keyframes, and PowerDirector will automatically change the parameter at a steady rate between them. With a hold keyframe, the value stays the same until it reaches this keyframe, then jumps to the new value. This is really useful when you want an element to move instantly. Previously, you would have had to set two keyframes, a frame apart, rather than a single hold keyframe. 

Utilizing both types of keyframe, a remarkable range of animation effects is easily achievable. PowerDirector’s keyframing options surpass any other editing software of this level and are now better than ever.

CyberLink PowerDirector review

It’s easy to switch between keyframe types (Image credit: CyberLink )

To efficiently grade your clips, there’s a color adjustment tool with a number of sliders – hue, saturation, brightness, and so on. However, it would be nice to have a full set of color wheels, as some competitors such as Lightworks and Pinnacle Studio include.

One useful color tool, which has been improved in PowerDirector 19, is color match. You select two clips, and the application automatically adjusts the second to give it the same look as the first. This is a quick way of correcting your color, for example if you’ve shot the same scene with two cameras, and need them to look the same.

However, in particular skin tones, color match can struggle with making all elements consistent. Thankfully, the latest update now includes manual adjustment options. As well as for overall change, there are sliders for hue, saturation, and brightness. It’s still not perfect, but the added refinement enables you to match clips more precisely than the automation alone can.

CyberLink PowerDirector review

Use color matching to give two shots a consistent look (Image credit: CyberLink )

Animated sketches are a new addition to PowerDirector’s overlay objects. These fun little animations, such as arrows, checkboxes, and stars, look like they’re being hand drawn onto your video. 

After applying one to the timeline, you can then open the sketch designer. This doesn’t, as the name implies, let you design sketches from scratch, but does offer a lot of customization. You can change the color, thickness, duration, and ending effect.

Though a lot of editors won’t find much use for these, they can come in useful in many situations, such as tutorial videos or fun marketing films for social media. They’re an easy, effective way to add color and energy to a video.

CyberLink PowerDirector review

Animated sketches can draw attention to part of an image (Image credit: CyberLink)

PowerDirector is an incredibly versatile application. Its attractive and efficient interface makes it easy to start editing, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find it has an incredibly wide array of features. This only improves with every update, and PowerDirector 19 has some useful new tools, such as mask designing and hold keyframes. 

There are several pricing options. A trial version, PowerDirector Essentials, is free, though only includes basic features. PowerDirector Ultra costs $99.99 and includes most editing features. The advanced tools, such as using motion tracking and blending modes with masks, are restricted to PowerDirector Ultimate, which costs $139.99, and PowerDirector 365, a subscription plan which costs $69.99/year. 365 also includes access to a large library of stock video, audio, and stills.

It’s not the cheapest software – Filmora, Premiere Elements, and Pinnacle Studio are all slightly more affordable. Nor does it have the depth of the more high-end editing suites, with its color grading options particularly limited. But, PowerDirector is one of the best mid-level editing applications available, well suited to small or medium businesses, or home filmmaking enthusiasts. Plus, now that it’s available for Mac, there are many more potential users for whom it’s well worth considering.

macOS

  • Intel Core™ i-series or Apple M1
  • macOS v10.14 or later
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 MB of GPU VRAM
  • 7 GB of disk space
  • Internet connection and registration necessary for required software activation

Windows

  • Intel Core™ i-series or AMD Phenom II and above
  • Windows 7 or later
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 MB of GPU VRAM
  • 7 GB of disk space
  • Internet connection and registration necessary for required software activation

Read more:

The Verdict
9

out of 10

CyberLink PowerDirector review

CyberLink PowerDirector is one of the best prosumer video editing applications available, and it keeps getting better. The new keyframe and masking tools are great for creativity and efficiency.