CyberLink PowerDirector 11 Ultra review
A handful of welcome improvements isn’t enough to edge this video editor in front of the pack
Review Date: 17 Dec 2012
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
Price when reviewed: £58 (£70 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
For years PowerDirector was the fastest consumer video editor around. Its unrivalled real-time preview performance was a huge benefit when editing processor-intensive formats, such as 1080p AVC with effects and overlays. The competition has caught up, though, with Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 and Adobe Premiere Elements 11 both delivering similar levels of performance.
PowerDirector needs something special to re-establish itself, and the new features in version 11 are on the right track. There are improved colour-correction and ripple-editing options to compete with Sony’s editor. The updated PiP (picture-in-picture) Designer for animating visual elements brings the battle to Adobe’s door.
CyberLink’s determination to cover every conceivable base also sees the addition of a content-aware editing module to help home users zone in on the best bits of footage. It tries to fix shaky video and lighting problems, often with reasonable success, and identifies sections with faces, panning and zooming. Ultimately, though, it can’t tell you whether a section is boring or interesting. Version 11 also adds support for 4K resolutions for people shooting professional productions.
The new colour-correction functions bear a closer resemblance to the tools in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom than traditional video-editing software. Existing controls are joined by exposure, vibrancy, highlight healing and shadow controls, allowing for stronger colour correction without obliterating subtle colour variations. We still prefer Sony’s colour-correction effects for their flexibility and clinical precision, but this is a big improvement.
We encountered a bug where applying the Highlight Healing and Shadow processes caused the preview to lapse into slow motion and lose audio sync, most noticeably at high preview resolutions. This was one of numerous bugs we encountered when PowerDirector 11 was first launched. Most of them are now resolved, but this one persists.
The new ripple-editing functions could be better, too. They dictate what happens to objects on the timeline when others are inserted, deleted or changed in length. The standard behaviour among most consumer editors is to shuffle objects along to make space or fill gaps, but this isn’t always desirable, particularly when working across multiple tracks or when editing video in time with music.
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Finally legal to rip music from CDs - just don't break DRM
- Hot hardware video: Google Glass
- Microsoft to launch two new Windows Phones
- Amazon reveals why ebooks should cost less than $10
- Self-driving cars will be on UK roads in six months
- Lords: right to be forgotten is "unworkable"
- Apple slashes £100 off updated MacBook Pros with Retina
- Windows Phone gets first wearables app from Fitbit
- Motorola working on a Nexus 6 phablet
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- 13 computers that changed the world
- How to download YouTube videos to a PC or laptop: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
- Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive: what's the best cloud storage service of 2014?
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?