CyberLink PowerDirector 4 review
CyberLink is best known for its PowerDVD video player software, but the company also produces a range of home-theatre PC, DVD-authoring and video-editing apps. PowerDirector sits atop the latter category, and version 4 adds a selection of features to make editing easy.
At the capture stage, the only innovation is manual batch capture from DV devices, allowing you to create clip lists. PowerDirector can also detect scenes automatically, either after capture using changing video frames or during capture using timecode breaks. It’s also one of the few apps to directly support video editing from JVC’s Everio camcorders.
During editing, effects are added to their own effects track, so just one effect is allowed at a time. However, it’s possible to colour correct a clip at the same time, change its duration and trim it down. Also new are Multi Trim and Trim, allowing you to position in and out points plus cut multiple bits out of a single clip to create multiple virtual clips. PowerDirector also sports a picture-in-picture track, which can’t be keyframed but offers borders, drop shadows and limited animation of entrance and exit. It supports chroma keying too.
New to this version are the Magic tools. Magic Music is SmartSound QuickTracks, a tool for quickly adding soundtracks cut to the length of your video, but it’s so ubiquitous now it’s almost given away with breakfast cereal. Magic Cut automatically selects portions from a clip according to some simple variables, and Magic Clean is an automatic colour-correction and audio noise-reduction tool. Magic Motion applies only to still images, and automatically creates pan and zoom effects to give your photos a bit of life.
PowerDirector has plenty of grand-sounding technologies under the bonnet. CyberLink is most proud of Smart Video Rendering Technology (SVRT2), which selectively renders only video that has effects applied to speed up output. But it isn’t new to this version and has been sported by most mainstream video-editing software for years.
DVD authoring is one of PowerDirector’s strongest points, with a well-integrated toolset. You can now set chapters for your DVD on the editing timeline and burn dual-layer discs. The Express version of PowerProducer 3 is also included for standalone video disc creation.
PowerDirector 4 is certainly easy to use, with a clean interface. However, it’s left standing by Ulead VideoStudio 9. Considering the latter costs a lot less, we recommend you buy the Ulead software instead.