PowerDirector 18 Review: A Decent Video Editing Software for Beginners with Gentle Learning Curve

The latest version of the popular video editing software from CyberLink, the PowerDirector 18, has arrived. It comes with various enhancements that include new features, tools, and effects, and the support for social media square video format. Besides launching PowerDirector 18, CyberLink has also released PhotoDirector 11, which is its photo editing software, just like Adobe has Photoshop. Let’s take a look at the features of PowerDirector 18 and see how it ranks up against the competition.

PowerDirector 18 UI Design

The first thing that users notice when they run PowerDirector 18 is a bunch of random stock photos and videos in its media tray also called the media library. It is quite a nuisance and has no particular use. CyberLink hopefully gets rid of this the next time, even though it has been present for years now.

The default UI layout is clean and divided into three sections. The upper part of the screen has a media tray on the left with a preview window on the right. A timeline occupies the space below these two windows. A toolbar is located on the left of the screen with a menu bar on the top. The layout is fairly standard and is easy to navigate.

CyberLink has not made any significant changes here. However, you can now undock the media library and timeline across three different monitors. If you have a three monitor setup, one of your monitors can display the media library, the second monitor can display the preview area, and the third monitor can display the timeline. It provides you with more workspace for added convenience.

PowerDirector 18 Features – What’s New?

PowerDirector 18 comes with a bunch of features that were not present in the previous versions.

Transition Effects – There are new transition effects that you can apply to your projects. The transition effects are nice and smooth except for a few odds ones such as the mosaic effect. You can add them to give your videos a professional outlook. You can purchase additional professional effects as well.

One of the biggest issues with these effects is that there is no way to find out what each of them does without applying them. While veteran users won’t be affected by this, new users may be a bit confused. It would have been nice if holding the mouse cursor over the effect gave a preview regarding the effect instead of displaying a static thumbnail.

Shape Designer – PowerDirector 18 has a new Shape Designer tool that supports vector-based dialogue boxes, arrows, and bubbles. There are a few particle effects and title effects for animating your text. They can be handy for creating videos, especially for the people who include a lot of text in their videos. Despite being a new feature, these graphics are not well-polished and are something we might have seen in the era of Windows XP. Professionals will not be impressed by them at all. CyberLink will hopefully release new graphics that look better with a future update.

Video Editing – When it comes to video editing, PowerDirector 18 has hits and misses.

CyberLink has added support for 1:1 videos for Instagram and Facebook. It will be beneficial for the editors who create videos for social media platforms. It has added audio scrubbing as well which saves both time and effort when editing audio track of videos. Video editors who create or modify videos with an audio narration will find this feature handy.

CyberLink has also made the timeline reversible, a feature that should have been present in the first place, but better late than never. Almost all other video editors already support reversible timeline tracks. 

Another thing that was being demanded by the users of PowerDirector was support for 4K video editing, and it is finally here. The software now allows users to edit 4K videos. CyberLink has been a few months late to the 4K party but has arrived nonetheless. It is a necessity nowadays considering that a majority of cameras now support 4K recording. Content creators prefer to record their videos in 4K and want a video editor that can edit their high-resolution videos.

There is an annoying thing when editing videos with PowerDirector 18. If you want to change the start and end positions, it is easy. However, when you want to add additional starting positions for your video, you have to select corresponding end positions as well before you can edit the starting position. It can be irritating as you may want to select only a starting position first before you finalize the end position.

PowerDirector 18 also has advanced motion tracking now that allows frame-by-frame tracking of objects. Its implementation is not perfect yet and requires refinement as sometimes the software can’t track objects in videos properly. It is a bit disappointing as some of the free video editors have better tracking implementation. Hopefully, CyberLink will improve upon this feature with future updates.

People who own a Canon EOS R camera will find PowerDirector 18 to be useless as it doesn’t support RAW3 video format. You won’t be able to edit videos in the RAW3 (.CR3) format as it is Canon’s proprietary standard. You will have to convert the videos to a supported format using another software. There are a few programs available in the market that support RAW3 but not PowerDirector 18. 

A nuisance that the users upgrading to PowerDirector 18 may encounter is that all of their settings will be reverted to default. It is not a deal-breaker, but having a way of retaining all your settings would have been nice.

Ease Of Use

A major reason for the popularity of the PowerDirector video editor is its ease of use. It has a gentle learning curve, and most new users will get the hang of it in no time. The User Interface is easy to comprehend. It doesn’t have as many advanced options as a few other video editors, which makes PowerDirector 18 ideal for newbies. People who are new to video editing don’t need these advanced features. The simpler is a video editing software, the less overwhelming it will be for beginners. However, advanced users may find PowerDirector 18 lacking in comparison to some of the competitors.

Is It Worth The Price?

Let us take a look at the main advantages and disadvantages of PowerDirector 18 before we conclude its worthiness.

Pros

· It is one of the easiest software for beginners.

· It finally supports 4K video editing.

· It comes with additional features such as audio scrubbing and tracking.

· It allows the creation of 1:1 square format videos.

· It has now added a vector-based shape designer.

Cons

· It doesn’t support Canon’s RAW3 (.CR3) video format.

· Motion Tracking doesn’t work as well as competitors.

· Some advanced features found in even free video editors are missing from PowerDirector 18.

· It reverts all settings to default when upgrading.

PowerDirector 18 will be suitable for the people who already use an older version of the software for video editing and want the new features especially 4K editing. If you are satisfied with the current version of your PowerDirector and don’t need the new features, then there is no point in upgrading. Newbies who are learning video editing will find PowerDirector 18 easy to use and understand.

An advantage of the PowerDirector 18 is that you can either purchase it outright or opt for a subscription. The latter makes it easier on the pocket as you don’t have to pay a large amount of money upfront. However, if you want to, you can buy it.

It gives people the flexibility to try PowerDirector 18 for a couple of months and then buy it or continue their subscription if they like it. They can unsubscribe if they don’t find it suitable for their requirements. CyberLink also offers a free trial, and you can consider it before buying the software.

PowerDirector 18: https://www.cyberlink.com/products/powerdirector-video-editing-software-ultimate/

Here are a few alternatives to PowerDirector 18 that may suit users with varying requirements.

The Alternatives To PowerDirector 18

Adobe Premiere When it comes to video editing software, Adobe Premiere is a top choice. The software has a comprehensive set of features that will satisfy the needs of professionals. However, it comes at a premium and may be too expensive for casual users.

DaVinci Resolve DaVinci Resolve has become a well-established video editing software today. Blackmagic Design has been gradually adding new features to its product over the years and its software has become a serious contender to Adobe Premiere.

On1 Video On1 Video Editor is another great option for newbies. It is easy to learn and comes packed with features that will be suitable for casual and professional video creators alike. It also supports video editing for the RAW3 format.

Sony Vegas Pro Sony Vegas Pro video editor from Magix is another popular product. It has a wide range of features catering to professionals and people who require advanced video editing options.

OpenShot OpenShot is a free-to-use video editor for the buyers who don’t want to spend money. It comes with all the basic features for beginners and the people who create videos casually.

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