CyberLink PowerDirector 9 Review
CyberLink recently launched their latest and greatest iteration of the award winning Power Director video editing software. This release is the Power Director 9 – Ultra 64.
As their flagship, Power Director 9 Ultra 64 is under a lot of scrutiny. This is coupled with the pressure of delivering A-Class functionality much like the more expensive solutions but at a much more affordable price point of US$99.95.
PowerDirector 9 Ultra 64 also delivers a true 64-bit pathway for video editing. They also go the extra mile to ensure that GPU acceleration is fully functional on both Nvidia and AMD hardware. This dramatically speeds up rendering time versus using just the CPU. However, there is a new instruction set on the Intel second generation Core processors (Sandy Bridge) that allow significant speed ups. It is called the Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX).
The user interface is very intuitive and is much like what a beginner would hope to see. The more experienced folk will also welcome its streamlined layout. Not at all overwhelming, the design is straightforward and you can jump in right away and start creating.
The four main sections (Capture, Edit, Produce and Create Disc) are conveniently put in tabs at the top left for easy access. When you start a new project, you are automatically taken to the Edit screen, where a few default pictures and a video clip are laid out for you.
When the Capture tab is clicked, it automatically does a scan for connected devices that could be used to capture images, sounds or video. The icons are then illuminated based on which devices were found in the scan. Compatible hardware include DV Camcorder, HDV Camcorder, TV Signal, Digital TV Signal, Webcam or Microphone. You may also capture from a CD or even a DVD Camcorder or an AVCHD Camcorder.
There is literally a wealth of options with which to capture content directly into the program. Not to mention that for editing, you can choose files that have already been saved on a wide variety of storage media.
The Edit screen is where most of the magic of creation happens. Along the vertical left of the interface, you have all the different ‘rooms’ in which to create your masterpiece. They are as follows: Media, Effects, PiP Objects, Particle, Title, Transition, Audio Mixing, Voice-Over Recording, Chapter and Subtitle rooms.
A comfortable workspace all around is refreshing. I have used a few other video editing solutions and in a few cases, everything was all jumbled up or as they put it, compact. I had none of these problems working with Power Director 9.
My only complaint is that the layering order is totally backwards. If I add a few clips to the project, the last one will be at the top layer of the preview (at the front) and the first one would be last (at the back). This is something I hope gets fixed in a patch or update.
The Produce tab is where you go to let Power Director do all its speed work. All a user has to do is to select the output file type, file name and location and press Start. Each of the major file types are shown as big, easy-to-read buttons at the top left. Each type then contains presets that you can choose from to further fine tune your rendering experience.
GPU acceleration is fully integrated and does make a profound difference in how fast the rendering job takes place. So whether you are an Nvidia or an AMD user, you are sure to benefit from this feature.
Another cool and practical feature is that you can also log in to YouTube and Facebook from within Power Director 9 to render and then upload automatically. Great feature!
The Create Disc tab is pretty straight forward and allows you to do things your way. You can personalize your discs in many ways, including the menus and chapters, the overall artistic design and of course the type of disc. Video CDs and DVDs as well as Blu-ray Discs are all at your disposal.
CyberLink has done good work on this wonderful software. Power Director 9 fits any user well based on its competitive price, full-featured functionality and ease of use.
- Native 64-bit support
- GPU acceleration support
- Great user interface
- Beginner friendly
- Powerful enough for professional use
- Automatic render and upload to YouTube and Facebook
- DirectorZone offers a lot of bonus content
- Timeline is layered backwards
- Tutorial videos are online instead of built in
Without hesitation I fully recommend Power Director 9. The few drawbacks I mentioned are not at all deal breakers and the product still offers a great value to any consumer. Great product and well done CyberLink.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for another CyberLink software review coming soon where I will give you a quick tour of MediaEspresso.
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