PROS / This program helps users learn the basics of video editing without sacrificing the needs of more advanced users.
CONS / There is no Mac version of this software. Apple customers would be well served by having an alternative to iMovie.
VERDICT / PowerDirector 14 Deluxe is an ideal program for beginners and casual users who want the power of a full-featured editor with the ease of an entry-level program.
A simplified yet versatile video editing experience is the foundation of CyberLink’s PowerDirector 14 Deluxe. It topped our evaluation of the best video editing software because it strikes the delicate balance between delivering powerful video editing tools and creating an interface that caters to both casual and advanced users. And it does so by including fully functional professional tools accessible to editors of any skill level. Which is why it earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
The Full Feature Editor consists of the classic timeline and storyboard editing modes which provide all the granular control more advanced users need to achieve the results they want. It also has easy-to-use Express Projects that walks those new to editing through a series of preprogrammed video templates, which helps newer users learn how to use the Full Feature Editor to its fullest potential.
PowerDirector isn't just video editing software. It's a miniature post-production studio that handles everything from when the film comes off your camera to the moment your finished video is published online or burned onto a disc. This program gives you a lot of options to share your videos on social networks and video-sharing sites, and even export them specifically for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
This is the entry-level program in the PowerDirector line, which makes it great for beginners, casual users and hobbyists. If you advance beyond that point or want even more advanced features, like content-aware editing and an action cam center, you can upgrade to the Ultra and Ultimate versions of the software.
There are two main ways to edit your video projects using PowerDirector. You can choose the Full Feature Editor or Express Project. When you choose Express Project, you'll find a library of preprogrammed video templates to choose from. PowerDirector walks you through sorting your footage, choosing the best shots for your video and letting you experiment where footage is placed in the template. This is 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. And, second, it does so in a way that teaches the user to use the tools in the Full Feature Editor, making the jump that much easier.
The Full Feature Editor is where you find all the tools an editor needs to transform the footage on their cameras to finished videos. The classic timeline/storyboard workflow offers you the ability to build your video project in broad strokes using storyboard, or you can control every aspect of the video using the tools available in timeline mode. And you're not restricted to editing in only one mode. PowerDirector makes it very easy to use timeline and storyboard in tandem, further educating the newer user without compromising the power of the tools they're using.
As for the tools themselves, this video editor has everything we look for in consumer-level video editing software. The ability to trim clips, arrange footage on the timeline, manipulate the picture, add effects, and insert transitions are all present, excellent, and are easily used once they're understood. There's a library of over 500 effects and transitions for you to choose from.
Advanced options include the ability to stabilize shaky video footage, sync audio and video captured on separate devices, and design advanced titles for your video project. Nearly every tool that professional video editors use to make movies and TV shows is present in PowerDirector.
Even at the entry level, 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 it, but you could.
Ease of Use
The great thing about this video editing software is that it can be used by anyone, regardless of either their computer skills in general or video editing skills in particular. If someone can install and launch the program, all they need to do is follow the learning path created by Cyberlink in the form of Express Projects. And more advanced users can bypass the training wheels and find the tools they're already familiar with are present, powerful, and intuitive.
Editing is only part of the story with PowerDirector. Once your video is finished, you need to get it in front of an audience. This could be your friends and family through social media, sharing your video with the whole world using video-sharing sites like YouTube, or burning a disc that you can give to whomever you wish. PowerDirector has robust solutions for all of these situations.
The most basic way to produce a finished project is to export it as a video file. You can then use this file as a master copy of your video and keep it for archiving purposes. But you can also manually upload that file to various internet sites where it can be seen and shared. However, you can skip that step by uploading your finished project directly to YouTube, Facebook, Dailymotion and other sharing sites from within the program's interface. It allows you to input all the necessary information, metadata, descriptions and keywords needed to optimize your video so as many people see it as possible.
There are times that you won't want to share your video with the entire world. Burning a disc of your video is an excellent way to finish and personalize your creation. PowerDirector comes with several menu-creation templates, but it also allows you to build custom menus of your own. You also have the ability to add chapters to your videos and features such as subtitles for the hearing impaired. You can create a disc for any purpose, whether it be as a gift for family, a screener for an independent film or a professional presentation for colleagues; PowerDirector allows you to make a disc to suit your individual needs.
Help & Support
As easy as CyberLink makes this product, there will be times that you need help. To that end, the company established DirectorZone, a community of videographers, filmmakers and aspiring editors. This allows aspiring users to connect with, collaborate and learn from other video-makers. DirectorZone is the perfect resource for editors of all skill levels.
CyberLink also offers a full array of support options. You can get your questions answered by posting in one of their forums, submitting an email support ticket or watching their free tutorials on their website or YouTube channel.
PowerDirector 14 Deluxe topped our review of the best video editing software because it's easy 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 easily. This program is designed to help you learn video editing without compromising the power of the tools it offers.