Cyberlink continues to modernize the user interface. This time it’s even simpler, though it’s not quite as unintimidating as that of Adobe Premiere Elements. PowerDirector maintains the traditional source and preview split panels on the top, with your track timeline along the whole width of the bottom of the screen. The storyboard view in this new version finally gets some functionality instead of just being clip thumbnails you can drag around. You can now drag transitions between clips, apply effects, and add audio clips without switching to timeline view. I also like the new buttons at the top for showing just video, just photos, or just audio in the source panel.


Basic Video Editing
PowerDirector makes it easy to fix lighting and color and to stabilize your video. The stabilization tool gives you the ability to fix rotational camera shake. There’s also an enhanced-stabilization mode, which taxes your PC more. I am disappointed that the effect doesn’t let you know when it’s done, and preview playback occasionally halted, but the final result was excellent. The tool also lets you adjust the crop factor that stabilization introduces.

The trim tool allows precise control (down to the individual frame) with two sliders, and the multi-trim tool lets you mark several In and Out points on your clip—a useful tool for cutting out the chaff.

You use PowerDirector’s unique and intuitive selection cursor to split video and delete sections. Fix/Enhance options also include video denoise, audio denoise, and enhancements to punch up color and sharpness. You can independently adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, and white balance.

Assisted Movie Making
One of the best things to come to home video editors in recent years was pioneered by Apple with the Trailers feature of the Mac’s included iMovie app. Adobe recently added a similar tool, Premiere Elements’s Video Story feature. With either of these, you fill templates in with video and photo content that meets the needs of a spot in the production, such as Group shot, close-up, or Action shot. These are elaborated with transitions and background music that match your chosen theme. PowerDirector 14 adds a similar tool, Express Project, which you can enter directly from the program startup panel.

Express Project joins another similar tool, the Magic Movie Wizard, which takes you through five steps: importing source content, adjusting that content, previewing, and producing. You get four Styles to choose from, including Memory Field, Original, Fast Motion, and Slow Motion, but you can download 22 more from, Cyberlink’s Web resource site. Unlike the iMovie tool, PowerDirector requires you to add your own background music—there are no canned scores in the wizard or for Express Projects.

There are five Express Projects available for download, including Action, Extreme, Round the World, Adventure, Anniversary, and Love. An Express Project only requires two steps: Dragging an Opening, Middle, and Ending onto the timeline, and filling the resulting clip tracks with your media. It’s nowhere near as intuitive or clear as Apple iTunes’ Trailers feature or Adobe Premiere Elements’ Video Story feature. But it does offer guidance in crafting a digital movie, it is actually more customizable, and the results look pretty cool.

Action Camera Tools
PowerDirector can of course import and edit footage from GoPro cameras as well as from other action cameras from the likes of Sony, Kodak, and Ion. But new for version 14 is a dedicated Action Camera Center under the Tools menu item that appears when you select a clip. This offers things like camera-profile-based corrections for fisheye distortion, vignette, camera shake, and color. It also includes effects favored by action cam users, such as freeze-frame and time-shifts like slowdowns, speedups, and replays.

License: Fully Activated.

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