To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Cyberlink PowerDirector 10 Ultra review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £49
inc VAT

Some great new features including the best 3D editing to date, but Cyberlink needs to address some basic problems to take PowerDirector to the next level


It’s now possible to create hand-drawn graphics, which play back each brush stroke as an animation. There’s a choice of six brush types but the drawing tools are a little crude and it’s not possible to pause the animation at the end. Exporting a snapshot as a PNG file and dropping it onto the timeline after the animation provided a workaround.

PowerDirector Painting
PowerDirector isn’t short of extras to pack into your videos; now it lets you create animated drawings too

Videos and photos can now be skewed to give them a sense of perspective simply by dragging handles in the preview window. Clicking Keyframe allows these skews to be animated. It’s a shame that the multi-track keyframe lanes introduced in version 9 aren’t used here, though. Skew keyframes get jumbled up with position and opacity keyframes, making them tricky to manipulate separately.

Other new features include time-lapse videos from a series of photos, audio normalising for balancing the volume of different audio elements and support for third-party effects, as demonstrated by 10 new effects from NewBlue. Overall, it’s an impressive update, although existing users might baulk at the £50 upgrade price.

PowerDirector still has a few problems that we’ve commented on in previous reviews. Ripple editing options dictate whether clips move along to make room or close gaps when earlier clips are edited – except in PowerDirector, there aren’t proper ripple editing options. There’s a Remove and Leave Gap command in the right click menu, but this it’s unavailable for picture-in-picture objects. After adding two animated drawings to the timeline, we were unable to delete the first one without being forced to shift the timing of the second one. For videos, ripple editing is always applied when a clip is truncated, but objects on other tracks aren’t rippled too. PowerDirector’s 100 tracks and superb preview performance lend themselves to complex video collages, but it’s extremely tricky to keep everything in sync.

We also found that the timeline controls and pop-up editors were sometimes slow to respond to our input. It’s crazy that the software can decode 10 simultaneous AVCHD streams on our test PC – a total of half a billion pixels per second – but took around three seconds for a small pop-up window to appear.

It’s for these reasons that Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum remains our favourite sub-£100 editor, although its superior colour correction plays a part too. PowerDirector is a compelling alternative, though, with more in the way of home-oriented extras and better handling of HD video on slower PCs.

Pages: 1 2


Price £49
Rating ****

Read more