CyberLink PowerDirector 19 review

CyberLink PowerDirector is a good, if expensive, video editor for both beginners and advanced users.

CyberLink PowerDirector 19 Review
(Image: © Cyberlink)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

With the power of a full-featured editor and the ease of an entry-level program, PowerDirector is an ideal program for beginners and casual users.


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    Easy to use

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    Very scaleable

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    So many features


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    Expensive if you buy outside sales

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CyberLink PowerDirector 19 is the software that manages to bridge that gap between pro level video editing programs and consumer-friendly kit. This is the place to go if you want to be a step ahead of the other pro grade competition when it comes to adopting the latest technologies.

The new system, which is subscription based with digital updates, helps to keep this cutting edge all the time. This subscription model is called CyberLink PowerDirector 365. But the last major release was CyberLink PowerDirector 19, which this review covers.

Major updates here include an enhanced timeline view in its Full Feature Editor, and extra capabilities added to the Storyboard layout and Auto mode. The latter is especially good, creating a video for you out of a few media inputs in just a few minutes. 

The Full Feature Editor might be more familiar to anyone who's used a video editing app before, while Storyboard mode sits halfway in between. 

PowerDirector stands high on our list of the best video editing software because it's easy to use, yet contains powerful tools and features anyone working with video will appreciate.

The Full Feature Editor contains simplified versions of nearly all the tools available in professional editing programs. For example, you have access to an audio mixer that lets you fine-tune your sound, the chroma key that allows you to create green-screen effects, and a surround-sound configurator that optimizes your video for home entertainment systems and even movie theaters. 

These tools and others allow you to make the same type of videos as Hollywood professionals. PowerDirector is a great program not only for creating great videos, but also for learning non-linear editing in case you decide to upgrade to professional video editing programs. However, because it's expensive, you might want to consider trying DaVinci Resolve, which is free if not quite as simple to use.

Auto Mode launches the Magic Movie Wizard to help you create a finished video in just a few minutes. All you have to do is load the clips you want in the video, select the style of video and pick your background music. The program then analyzes your footage with its Magic Style algorithms to pick out the best shots in your footage and arrange them into a finished project. When you preview this generated video, you have the option to do some fine-tuning in the Full Feature Editor.

CyberLink PowerDirector 19

(Image credit: Cyberlink)

Within the timeline editor, you can access the Express Projects module. It offers a library of pre-programmed video templates to choose from. PowerDirector walks you through sorting your footage, choosing the best shots for your video and letting you experiment with where to place footage in the template. However, it may be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. To access this feature, click on the puzzle-piece icon at the top of your media bin and select Express Projects.

Express Projects are important for two reasons: First, it allows beginner and novice users the opportunity to complete a project without being intimidated by the complexity of the software; second, it does so in a way that teaches you to use the tools in the Full Feature Editor, making the jump that much easier.

All the other tools you would expect from consumer-level video editing software are present. You can add titles, closed captions and other text to your video project with a few simple clicks. The chroma key (green-screen) works flawlessly. You also get a video stabilizer that smooths out shaky video, as well as a library of over 500 effects and transitions for you to choose from.

We love the new sketch overlays in PowerDirector 19, as they cut out a significant amount of work if you're creating tutorial videos, or anything that needs on-screen illustration. You get loads of templated animations, so most effects are covered, and you can - of course - change the colors. The Motion Graphic Titles have been improved this year too, so you can make videos look both more professional and more fun much easier - it really cuts down on custom graphic work.

PowerDirector Ultimate 19 features CyberLink’s True Theater Color technology, which analyzes the color of your footage and enhances aspects like hue, saturation and brightness. It's a great way to get Hollywood-style color treatment on your video project. You get more than enough tools to create a video that looks like it could have been made in a movie studio. You may never edit a full-length feature film with this software, but you likely could.

CyberLink PowerDirector 19

(Image credit: Cyberlink)

While PowerDirector has great tools that help newbies learn the ropes of video editing software, it also has powerful advanced tools to take your videos to the next level. PowerDirector 19 is capable of importing, editing ultra-HD 4K video resolution, even in 360 video, which isn't a new feature, but definitely worth knowing. Additionally, this video editor features an integrated action cam center that eliminates the need to edit footage captured with cameras in a separate application and importing them into PowerDirector.

PowerDirector includes a module that allows you to manipulate 360-degree video. This tool can set anchor points, pan and zoom through your footage, add effects, and stabilize shaky recordings. You can even add 360-degree titles that match your footage perfectly, rather than trying to warp a regular title to fit. And with the view designer, you can convert 360-degree videos to work with conventional projects.

Another great advanced tool found in PowerDirector is the multi-cam module. This allows you to import footage of an event taken from multiple sources, sync them up and then switch between angles easily. The result is a seamless single video that has the look and feel of a professionally produced piece. This is especially useful for events that have been recorded on several smartphones.

If you're signed up to PowerDirector 365, or any of the monthly subscription models, you'll get access to a vast Shutterstock library of stock images. This is very handy if you're looking to illustrate something you don't have footage of, or you want to perform a background swap relatively quickly. Combine with the enhanced mask designer, which is fairly precise, and you can get seriously creative with your sequences.

CyberLink PowerDirector 19

(Image credit: Cyberlink)

The motion tracking tool is great for advanced editors who want to give their videos a special look. It allows you to isolate a moving object, person or other element and then apply effects that will follow them through the video. This is good for situations such as when you want to brighten up the colors on a person but keep the background the way it is, or even change it to black and white.

One of the newer tools found in the PowerDirector series (introduced in 18) is the ability to make nested sequences. This means that you can create a sequence and save it as a single clip in your media bin. You can quickly access commonly used elements. For example, if you’re making a series of videos that have the same intro or outro, you can save it as a nested sequence and easily drop it on the timeline. This is superior to exporting a sequence as single clip because you’ll have the option to expand the sequence and make edits unique to each project. PowerDirector 19 also features a bunch of performance and user enhancements, to make life a little easier, like volume meter display, larger thumbnails, and an improved title designer.

PowerDirector helps you enhance your footage with Intelligent Color Correction. This allows you to quickly and easily match color settings across your entire project, which unifies the look and feel of your video and eliminates a lot of guesswork. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s a real bonus for video editing software at the consumer level.

PowerDirector 19 is a good choice for video editing software because it's easy and enjoyable to use for beginners, causal users and seasoned editors alike. It provides all the tools you need to transform the footage on your camera into a polished video you can share with family and friends. This program helps you learn video editing without compromising the power of the tools it offers. While it doesn't offer the same tutorials as rivals, and it is more expensive than some, it's a good all-round option whatever your skill level. 

The latest comes with incremental changes, rather than genuine steps-forward, so you should consider carefully whether you choose to upgrade or not, if you're a single-licence user. If you subscribe to PowerDirector 365, the upgrade is automatic, so all you need to do is download it. For newcomers, too, it's a very good choice.

What's more, the most recent update adds a Mac version, something we've been requesting for years, so now you can buy PowerDirector on Apple devices, which is a great thing indeed.

Ian has been a journalist for 20 years. He's written for magazines and websites on subjects such as video games, technology, PC hardware, popular (and unpopular) science, gardening and astronomy. In his spare time he has a pet tortoise and grows his own vegetables. He also has a passion for cameras and photography, and has written for TTR on these subjects.