Cyberlink PowerDirector 11
Supports Standard and High Def Video Formats and 4:3 and 16:9
Loads Quickly and Performs Smoothly
Supports User Experience Levels from Beginner to Pro
Documentation Could Be Better
Music Options are Versatile, But Confusing
Having reviewed CyberLink PowerDirector 10 a while back, I was anxious to get my hands of PowerDirector 11 to check out the new features and improvements. While the user interface (GUI) of PowerDirector 11 resembles that of its predecessor, there’s a lot of value packed into the new version that will impress the video enthusiast. CyberLink’s continuing development of this product places it into the category of ‘near-professional’, with the latest tools and functions mirroring those in use by professional editors. A price-point typically less than $100 is icing on the cake.
Launching PowerDirector 11 (PD11) immediately conveys that CyberLink has addressed both the requirements of the casual video enthusiast as well as the power user type. The initial screen presents the choice of full feature, pro-type or easy, WYSIWIG-like editing, as well as the cool capability to create pro-looking slideshows. Full Feature puts precise tools and controls into the editor’s hand, while the Easy Editor handholds the user through the editing process and uses its built-in logic to make the best editing decisions automatically. BTW – The start-up launch of the multi-choice screen is easily disabled via checkbox for those who want to directly access the full feature editor.
To be upfront, I’m reviewing this product using a dual-core processor machine running Windows XP, with 4gb of RAM and a fast 1gb video card. Available disk space is about 1gb. Note that CyberLink PD11 performs respectably with this configuration, although it can take advantage of high power systems touting multiple processors and heavy duty graphics capabilities.
Starting PD11 is pretty responsive, with a nifty product screen displaying a few seconds after launch and the full application screen available soon afterwards.
The editing dashboard is clean and intuitive, resembling that presented in PD10. Importing raw multi-format video files is easy, with a thumbnail view rapidly appearing and which is ready to be dragged to the timeline. Multipurpose sections of the timeline are available, with a variety of functions being available for each.
Working with videos on the timeline reveals a performance improvement over previous versions of PowerDirector. Using this somewhat dated computer, sliding and magnifying the timeline … as well as apply various operations to video clips … is responsive and smooth. A freeze and halt of interaction with the program, which we noticed occasionally with PD10, seems to have been solved in PD11.
Previewing effects and edits is quick and improves editing time, and allows for sampling effects before applying them. The CyberLink Director Zone sharing web site is very useful, with loads of effects, audio and clips being available for sharing and use in videos.
Magic Music, a function that lets you create music tracks, is interesting however its use is confusing and could be better documented. Music selections include free and chargeable items, and determining which you are accessing isn’t straightforward. The music selections can be easily applied to the timeline and have professional sound quality.
Processing and rendering of completed video projects is quick, with output speed for a wide range of standard and HD formats being quite fast. Fast video rendering technology is also employed, and the processing speed is amazing, as evidenced by a quick moving progress bar, and yields excellent output results.
PD11 handles and provides output in a multitude of popular formats including the high definition H.264 AVC and MKV formats. 3D video processing and creation is built-in, as is support of Ultra High Definition (4K). Outputting to mobile device formats is available as well.
Disk creation capabilities are another strong point of PD11. Output to standard and high def DVDs, as well as to high def Blu-Ray media is included, and as is typical with this product … settings and options are selectable and customizable with a wide array of available choices.
Something also worthwhile to mention is that CyberLink appears to be continually improving the product. Often upon launch a prompt advises that an update is available that enhances a function or adds additional features, and obtaining it is as simple as several clicks from with the program.
I produced several videos of varying lengths and qualities using PD11 and found the program to be quite quick to learn and relatively easy to experiment with. Transitions and effects look professional, and adjustments to video and audio content are effective and satisfactory. Overall, the composed video projects look great and have to be considered near pro if not actually at a pro level. This product deserves to be tried, with the likely result being a purchase of it.