Cyberlink – Power Director 10
Review By: LAG
Having used Adobe Premiere 6.5 for many years, and dabbling with Windows Movie Maker and Pinnacle Studio 8, I decided to see what’s currently available in Windows consumer/enthusiast grade video editors with the latest technology and HD capability … at a low to mid range price point. This review pertains to CybeLink’s PowerDirector 10 (PD 10), a very popular editor that fits my requirements. It has a reputation for being robust and well as fast.
My Windows XP Pro system is a few years old and includes a 3.0ghz Pentium 4 CPU with hyper-threading, 1.5 gb of RAM and a 160gb hard drive. I recently beefed up my video card to a PCI-E ATI Radeon HD 4550 with 1gb of memory. PD 10′s system requirements vary dependent upon what formats and resolutions are to be worked with. My configuration is mainly suitable for high quality editing of AVI, WMV, MPEG-4 and QuickTime files. For more intense editing, such as true HD and even 3D, a much more robustly configured system in required, with multi-core CPUs.
Installing PD 10 takes 20 to 30 minutes, with the resulting files totaling 600 to 800 mb. The installation is predominantly unattended and goes without incident.
Upon launching the program, a very well organized and professional looking graphical interface is presented. While generally intuitive, and similar to the way most video editors appear and work (timelines, etc.) there are functions and activation elements that need explanation, which is provided by a pretty sophisticated Help menu, available via a tool bar drop down. Users are also encouraged to join CyberLink’s Director Zone, which is a shared space to collaborate with and learn from other users. I did find that I wanted a full instruction manual to understand the obscure and more complex PD 10 functions, and I did have some trouble finding it. I finally did locate the 226 page user manual on the CyberLink web site and it is very comprehensive. I had downloaded PD 10, so perhaps those buying the CD version have the documentation present.
Editing a 2.9gb mpg file that was previously captured from a professional grade Canon GL1 camera was my first project. The capture was high quality, although not HD since this is an SD mini-DV tape format camera. PD 10 loaded the file quickly and I was able to move it to the time-line without issue. The time-line facilitates up to 100 video and audio tracks, far beyond what the typical user will ever need.
At this point, 2 items of concern emerged. First, when, immediately after load, attempting to manipulate the file on the time-line the program froze for 30 to 45 seconds, and making any selection within it was without response. Other choices and functions within XP worked fine as this was occurring. Several times, PD 10 errored out, present a dialog indicating that an error had occurred and that the application was closing. This may be the fault of my barely sufficient system configuration, so I wouldn’t attribute this to the program. I did find that if I left the program alone during the freeze period it did emerge from it and functioned properly after. The second item has to do with the thumbnail images displayed within the timeline. While useful in identifying where you are at within the content represented on the timeline, it seems that when editing large files the display of the these images slows the system down and causes movement of the timeline to occasionally lag. Other programs allow the toggling of the thumbnail display, but I couldn’t find that control within PD 10.
Editing itself was quite easy and intuitive, with many features available including a wide range of transitions and special effects. An audio editor allows for adjustment of volume as well as trimming, fading, etc. While audio level normalization is hyped as an important PD 10 feature, I wasn’t successful in getting it to work. The normalization button would not respond. While I didn’t check the Director Zone for guidance on using this feature, I did search the user manual without success. Manually applied volume adjustments resulted very good audio quality and had enough range so that low volume content could be boosted to an acceptable level. Background music choices are available within the program, and multiple genre’s of music are accessible although many have associated costs. PD 10 can also generate background and themed music, however I did not test this function.
Video titling is well handled by PD 10. Several title frames are included and customizing them as needed is done with only a few steps. An editor for creating custom titles in included. A large assortment of titles and effects is offered in the Director Zone, generally without cost.
Outputting the edited project is where PD 10 shines in terms of available formats and speed. AVI, WMV, several MPEG formats, H.264-AVC, and QuickTime as well as several audio outputs are offered. Each has numerous parameters that can be selected inducing resolution, audio and video quality, rendering types and engines, Dolby utilization, etc. Also, a smart rendering technology called SVRT is available for certain formats. It reduces rendering time while maintaining picture quality and is truly amazing. Rendering jobs that would otherwise take hours, is reduced to a fraction of that time. Watching the rendering process proceed using SVRT is almost startling, and the output quality is very good.
PD 10 can burn DVD disks in standard, Blu-Ray and AVCHD formats. A menu tool allows for the creation of DVD menus and offers considerable design flexibility. Fully created menu templates area available for download at the Director Zone.
Also, be aware that PD 10 can edit and produce 3D videos and can output 3D content to DVD. Also, PD 10 facilitates capturing from external devices, although the video we edited with the program had been already captured.
In conclusion, PD 10 is an amazing, impressive product and is loaded with terrific functions and features. The documentation could probably be better, as well as easier to locate.
Considering that this video editor typically sells for way under $100 it’s pretty amazing and has earned one Damn Good Review!
Visit Cyberlink to learn more or to purchase PowerDirector 10 online.
From The Publisher
With a revamped TrueVelocity rendering engine that’s faster than ever, along with the richest end-to-end 3D editing suite available, PowerDirector 10 is redefining digital video editing. Join over 2,000,000 users and experience first-hand the award-winning performance and professional-quality features PowerDirector has to offer. Designed with new technologies, PowerDirector is packed with powerful editing tools to support End-to-end 3D editing, HD video editing, magic tools to enhance video quality, thousands of customizable effects, 100 media tracks and a user interface that is designed for getting videos done fast and easy.
What’s new in this version:
- Revamped TrueVelocity 2 rendering engine
- Create 3D movies with end-to-end 3D video editing features
- Unleash your creativity with tons of pro-quality tools
- Create, share & learn with DirectorZone’s 2,000,000+ members
- Find the perfect effect from over 200,000 free downloads