Review: CyberLink PowerDirector 12

Version 12 adds faster processing, Haswell support, and a new MultiCam Designer.

PowerDirector 12 now supports multicam editing and improved render times by taking advantage of Intel's latest Core processors, code named "Haswell." PowerDirector claims that version 12 encodes H.264 videos 40 percent faster than previous releases.Though CyberLink also adds that version 12 supports 4K editing, we weren't able to test this feature.

For those new to the Director production series, PowerDirector, along with ColorDirector and AudioDirector, are full production suites for editing movies, touching up scene effects, and mastering soundtracks. Though they originally appealed to casual, consumer-level productions, CyberLink has gone to great lengths to court the enthusiast crowd with some improved tools for more serious productions.

ShakyCam reduction and MultiCam editing are the latest additions to PowerDirector's tools. The Shaky Cam tool essentially works by slightly zooming in on a scene and attempts to reduce shakes by counter-rotating or panning each frame. It works, overall, but won't perform any miracles for videos taken during an earthquake. MultiCam also intelligently syncs up your videos via audio spikes and allows you to quickly cut in and out of each scene just by clicking on the respective footage. It works extremely well and automatically chops up your new cut for you, automatically, on the timeline.

The Ultimate Suite combines ColorDirector and AudioDirector to create a more seamlessly functional editing studio that lets you switch between each editor. This, in turn, makes things like color grading and audio edits much more convenient since post-production flows will now be centered around one suite. However, users are also given the option to purchase each Director program, separately.

There are a couple presets included with PowerDirector with some more cheesy names like "Magic Tools" and "Magic Music" to help casual users get comfortable with the suite. But beyond that, the overall application is tailored for pro-level applications while balancing familiar work streams from other CyberLink products like PhotoDirector.

For the casual editor, PowerDirector by itself should suffice for most home movie projects. However, if you're going for professional-grade quality, then at the $300 price range, there's a lot more to consider. Other competitors may still be pricier but they also leverage specialized support for GPUs to do the heavy lifting, in addition to a great workflow.

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