This OEM version of PowerDirector Express was easy to work with for a neophyte such as me but ultimately would be rather limited.
Subsequently I acquired the full version of PowerDirector v6 and checked it out.
Here are my initial findings.
PowerDirector v6 is part of a slew of video products that Cyberlink brings out. PowerProducer v4 is another one vital to being able to produce high-definition home movies or a slideshow on disk. And we cannot go past PowerDVD which is probably the most widespread CyberLink application, currently in its latest edition, the Suite 6 Ultra, and billed as being the ultimate in high-definition playback solutions. Very recently CyberLink also unleashed YouCam and Power2Go v6 -- the first application will add dynamic effects for video chats and WebCams whereas Power2Go is touted as all-media disk burning software, particularly for Blu-ray and HD disks. You can check out some of the highlights of these programs below.
Initially I was a bit confused about which software I needed and what the various programmes from CyberLink would do. Is there any overlap in the programs? Or do you need all of them?
I am aware that CyberLink is not the only video editing program around. You may have come across Ulead, or Adobe with similar capabilities. The purpose of this article is not to compare them but just give an impression of how easy the CyberLink program is to deal with for someone who is just starting out in video.
First of all, video editing software is essential if you want to produce movies that are pleasing to watch rather than raw footage. I was quite enthralled with the first results that the bundled software produced. This limited edition of PowerDirector enabled me to put all be sequences that I had shot in the right timeline, edit the clips to just what I wanted to be shown and add a soundtrack to the movie. Jazz it up with a title and an intro and you're done! One of the remarkable aspects of this program is that it contains a number of wizards or magic functions. One of them was to minimise the shake of the camera. I have a fairly steady hand but this footage was taken from an aircraft and there is inherently always turbulence and aircraft vibrations to deal with. Couple that with the anti-shake functions in the camera and the result was quite watchable.
For my next experiment I shot some 10 minutes of raw footage around my property in the early morning light when mist was hanging in the valley. I subsequently grabbed an album of my son's instrumental compositions and told the program to work its magic to produce a DVD for me. I was quite surprised that the outcome was not as bad or unpredictable as I had anticipated. The program had chopped up a logical sequence where I filmed a creek in stages and interspersed it in the movie in various places, probably to suit the mood of the music. It did that remarkably well but I certainly would like to have more control over how it is all put together and this is what this program is all about. You can have it either way.
Let's run through the main features of PowerDirector.
The main goal for PowerDirector is to transform a normally ordinary home movie into a very presentable movie, not necessarily a cinematic experience a la Spielberg but with the advanced editing and magic enhancement tools you will be able to quickly improve the video quality and end result. PowerDirector supports also high-definition camcorders and can publish your creation directly to YouTube or Blu-ray and HD disks as well as the standard DVDs of course.
In version 6 you will find an all new DVD Template Designer, an Animated PiP Designer and many other new or improved functions. See the full list below.
The Slideshow Wizard is particularly appealing if you want to work with photos. I just received a very powerful New Year's message from my brother-in-law, who is somewhat of a video genius. This time he used a slideshow with moving effects, produced on his MacBook. PowerDirector can do very similar tricks and, if not overdone, will create a very powerful experience with the right sort of background music.
New Tools and Templates
* DVD Template Designer - 29 new designs, moveable buttons, text and color tools let you create stylish menus for your movie DVDs.
* Slideshow Wizard - New styles for presenting photos let you turn a folder of image files into a dynamic slideshow in minutes.
* Animated PiP Designer - New alpha-blended objects and a motion path generator create dramatic PiP effects to enhance your video content.
* Video Subtitle Room - Easily inserted directly on the screen or imported as text, new video subtitles offer an easy way to caption scenes and describe video content.
Edit videos automatically, fix images and audio
* Magic Movie Wizard - Great for beginners, convenient for experts, the automated step-by-step approach quickly guides you through movie production.
* Improved Magic Style - New animation elements and refreshed themes let you automatically edit your movie, add effects, and insert a title and credits using a handy timeline. Add or remove any part of the timeline after creating it.
* Improved Magic Fix - Enhanced precision ensures that shaky videos are stabilized with greater accuracy, photos are sharpened.
* Improved Magic Clean - New back light correction and white balance improve hard-to-fix mistakes often caused by poor lighting conditions.
Personalize videos with humor and style
* PowerDirector 6 includes over 300 effects, transitions, titles, and styles, making it super easy to create fun home movies. Cool transitions and effects - Huge library of transitions and effects turns video clips and photos into an alluring storyline.
* Dialog Balloons - Drag-and-drop templates let you add unspoken thoughts and highlight sections of conversation for humorous results.
* Title templates - Multiple layers, animated text, and a choice of font and color, create professional opening titles, stylish chapter names, and closing credits.
* Audio track for PiPs - Heighten the impact of moving PiP objects with accompanying sounds.
Publish videos online or take them on the go
* Share files. Publish directly to YouTube - Get seen by millions of viewers by outputting your file directly to YouTube.
* Store files online via Media Max powered by Streamload.com - 25 MB of free online storage provides access to your files via the internet.
* Write back to HDV tape - Storage on your HDV tape lets you use your camcorder as your playback device.
* Burn to DVD - Built-in disc authoring creates DVDs for playback on a home player or PC.
* Output as a file for iPod or PSP - Produce movies that you can watch everywhere.
Highlights of the Other Programs
CyberLink DVD Suite 6 Ultra, The Ultimate High-Def Playback and Creativity Suite
• Enjoy 10 powerful applications in the one sleek package
• Watch high-definition Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD movies
• Create high-definition videos quickly with Magic Editing Tools
• Produce videos to Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs with high-def menus
• Backup and burn data securely to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and HD DVDs
CyberLink YouCam, Add Dynamic Effects for Video Chats and Webcams
• Add fun to online video chats with emotion effects
• Apply effects instantly while capturing videos and photos
• Upload your entertaining clips directly to YouTube
• Email your photos and videos instantly to friends
• Download additional effects for free from DirectorZone
CyberLink Power2Go 6, The All-Media Disc Burning Software
• Burn data onto Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs
• Create video and photo DVDs, burn audio CDs, and rip MP3s
• Search and locate files instantly using file names or tags
• Secure discs with encryption and password protection
• Drag-and-drop files to burn via the Power2Go sidebar gadget
To kick off the new year, DVD Suite 6 Pro has arrived for you to enjoy, playback, edit, produce and burn DVDs.
They have bundled 10 of CyberLink's software apps in 1 huge suite for everything DVD.
Valued at $374.55 if bought separately, it's now available at a sweet low price. Check them out today!