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Peter's Web and Video Tools

Archived Issues > Summer 2015

In this issue Peter looks at CyberLink PowerDirector and its Suite of tools.

If you want to see what this can do it is the tool we use to produce all our videos for FascinatingTech.

 Cyberlink PowerDirector Ultimate13 Review

PowerDirector 13 is the latest version of this well established video editing software adding among other features additional templates, effects and support for new formats. While the programme has all the features that an experienced user would expect it also has wizards that simplify the process for those just starting out on the video editing journey. The start-up screen gives a choice between the Full Editor, the Easy Editor or the Slide Show Creator as well as allowing the aspect ratio for the project to be set.

Start the slide show wizard and you will be asked to import the images to be used, then on the next screen pick a style from the included templates and choose your background music. Finally choose your preferences as to the order of the images and as to how the music should fit with the slide show. The preview screen allows the final result   to be viewed and you then have the option to return to the previous screen and make adjustments or to customise the template. Moving on to the Production screen allows the slide show to be output in a variety of formats.

The Easy Editor aims to allow the less experienced user to create stunning videos from a mixture of photographs and video clips by the use of the supplied range of templates with more being available to download. The process starts by selecting the media to be included in the production followed by selecting a template from the style screen. The following adjustment screen allows the selection of background music, the balance between music and video and the length of the production. The settings screen uses a set of sliders to set the criteria used by the magic movie style to cut the movie. 

After viewing your movie on the preview screen you have the option of returning to the previous screen and modifying the criteria settings, music, etc.  or even to choose a different template. There is also an option to edit the template in the theme designer. When you are happy with the final result you can move on to the production screen and choose the output option.  The video can be output to a file, a device or uploaded to the internet, alternatively you can create and burn to disc complete with menus. The final option is to transfer the production to the full editor for further modification.

The full editor has the three screen layout common in products of this type and all the video editing options you could hope for including special effects, PiP objects, particle effects (smoke, Snow etc.), title effects, transitions, audio mixing and voice over recording. I cannot claim to have tried every possible option but I can say that all those I used from cutting and trimming videos to transition  and PiP effects were easy to use and worked well. Extensive help is available on line including video tutorials and an online community.

In conclusion the software worked well, the slideshow and Easy editor were easy to use and produced acceptable results. Occasionally the result was not quite as expected but it was a simple matter to re-adjust the settings to create the desired effect. Production of the final video was a matter of choosing the required settings and then exporting to the selected device. I created videos to export to a windows phone and was pleased with the results.

Power Director comes in various versions with different features, the version tested was the Ultimate Suite which as well as PowerDirector 13 includes AudioDirector 5 and ColorDirector 3. The Cyberlink website has a version comparison table which allows you to see the full specifications making it easy to select the version with the features that you require.

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