Post Production

PowerDirector 15: 360-degree and vertical video editing

End-to-end 360 video editing is one of the new features in PowerDirector 15, the newest version of Cyberlink’s NLE, launched this month. But there is more, especially if you get the whole Director Suite.

PowerDirector 15: 360-degree and vertical video editing

One year after the launch of PowerDirector 14, presented as “extreme editing”, Cyberlink takes the program a step further, with options like True-to-Life Color Enhancement and tools to create immersive 360-degree videos.  There is also a new mode: Vertical Video Editing.

For some time now, whenever Cyberlink announces a new version of its NLE,  PowerDirector,  it is not just presenting the program, but a whole suite with components that are usually updated at about the same time. It is not different now. One year ago, with PowerDirector 14, the whole Cyberlink’s Director series was updated with AudioDirector 6, ColorDirector 4 and PhotoDirector 7. Now, with PowerDirector 15 we get ColorDirector 5, AudioDirector 7, PhotoDirector 8 and ActionDirector 2.

ActionDirector 2, which is the absolute new element of the whole Suite users can optionally buy, was introduced, as ActionDirector, in May 2016, as a new product in Cyberlink’s family. It is a video editing software specifically aimed at the needs of a booming action camera market. The brand new movie making software is designed to take the hassle and complexity out of editing action footage through an innovative approach that streamlines the video creation process.

Cyberlink feels that there is a ”large and swiftly growing segment of action camera owners capturing vast amounts of video footage that then remains unedited and unshared due to complicated existing software. ActionDirector provides a solution to easily and quickly turn raw footage into action-packed highlight reels, which can then be shared directly to social media channels.”

PowerDirector 15: 360-degree and vertical video editing

The introduction of features that aim to satisfy the needs of the market is nothing new to Cyberlink and that explains the appearance of ActionDirector and now, in PowerDirector 15, the True360 technology, which provides users with the necessary tools to create immersive 360-degree videos.

True360 technology enables editors to apply a full range of movie making tools to 360 footage including titles, transitions and animated particle effects, and adds powerful features to create dynamic conventional videos from 360 clips using the True360 View Designer.

PowerDirector 15: 360-degree and vertical video editing

“The rollout of 360 and VR technologies is accelerating and is quickly becoming an industry-changing phenomenon. With multiple brands introducing affordable 360-degree cameras and accessories, as well as the strong push of platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Google, VR video will soon surpass gaming. We think user generated content will be the strongest driver of VR and 360 technologies,” said Dr. Jau Huang, CEO of CyberLink. “Our goal with PowerDirector 15, and with the entire Director Series video editing software, is to provide consumers with simple yet powerful tools to capture memories and tell stories using the power of 360-degree videos.”

The 360 market is one important element for this edition of PowerDirector 15. The program offers not only end-to-end 360 video editing with True360 technology – trim, add titles, effects and transitions -, it also gives users the possibility to convert 360 videos to standard video. In fact, the True360 View Designer enables users to dynamically pan between different FOVs in 360 footage, then output the composite result as a standard (non-360) video file.

This is an interesting feature to have, even if you may not use it all the time. If you work regularly with with 360 videos, it may also be a good option to acquire the new ColorDirector 5, which introduces color grading for 360-degree videos. The software allows users to apply global color grades to entire 360 scenes or use ColorDirector’s automatic tracking tools to isolate and enhance the color of moving objects, skies and landscapes.

True-to-Life Color Enhancement, which automatically analyzes footage and applies smart optimizations to give videos a rich, cinematic appearance, is also a feature of this version, which continus to claim unmatched video editing performance thanks to a new TrueVelocity 6, which uses 64-bit power and patented SVRT technology to reduce latency and improve overall system efficiency for smooth, fast handling of HD footage.

PowerDirector 15 also includes customizable design tool, with a brand new Mask Designer that fuses video clips with selective transparencies to create impressive titles and special effects, Video Blending, enabling users to merge video clips on different timelines to create a huge array of eye-catching effects, and a series of premium effects and templates, a cutting-edge collection of video effects from leading plugin makers NewBlue and proDAD.

One new feature that will surely divide opinions is the Vertical Video Editing, announced as an “Innovative new design mode for optimizing video shot in portrait orientation on mobile phones. Effectively removes letterboxing” Serious editors will probably never pau attention to this but the option is present in PowerDirector 15, and probably is a first in terms of NLE’s. I must say I was surprised first but the feature may be more interesting that most people think. More about this soon!

This introductory text of PowerDirector 15 reflects mostly on the NLE itself, which I am testing, along with the recent Vegas Pro, from Magix. I don’t feel I need to compare both programs, they are probably designed to different public. I am more familiar with PowerDirector, as I’ve used it for quite some time now, so I am familiar with the interface, while I am still discovering where everything is in Vegas Pro.

PowerDirector 15: 360-degree and vertical video editing

As I mention above, I am trying PowerDirector 15 Ultra, and not the whole suite, which includes ColorDirector 5, AudioDirector 7 and ActionDirector 2 and PhotoDirector 8. For those who may want to know more about those programs, here are some notes provided by Cyberlink:

ColorDirector 5 — Color Grading

  • 360 Video Color Grading — Applies motion tracking to accurately color grade objects moving thorough 360-degrees.
  • Round-Trip 360 Editing — Together with PowerDirector, users can seamlessly round-trip their video projects for efficient editing, color grading and rendering.
  • Color Splash — Draws the eye in videos by turning footage black and white, while keeping selected areas in color.

AudioDirector 7 — Audio Editing

  • Native 64-bit Support — Accelerates previewing and production, utilizing the full potential of system memory.
  • 4K Video Rendering — Even more support for the industry’s premier solution for editing video soundtracks.
  • Intuitive Pitch Bending — Powerful new tool creates stand-out sound effects and artistic flourishes in audio.

ActionDirector 2 — Action Cam Editing

  • 360-Degree Video Editing — End-to-end 360 video editing with True360 technology: trim, add titles, effects and transitions.
  • Upload 360 Video Online — Output to YouTube and Facebook directly from within ActionDirector.
  • Stop-Motion Creator — Apply the popular effect to normal footage to create time lapse-like images.

PhotoDirector 8 —Photo Editing & Design

  • Capture Stills from Video — Video-to-Photo uses precise capture technology to isolate and grab frames from hi-resolution video.
  • Video-to-Photo Panorama — Selects multiple stills from video to stitch together to create a seamless panoramic image.
  • Video-to-Photo Multi-Exposure — Captures a sequence of stills from video and merges them to form a single image showcasing the movement of the subject.
  • Video-to-Photo Face Swap — Instantly creates a single, perfect photo from videos of groups, allowing users to select the best face example for each group member.

The complete Director Suite 5, which includes PowerDirector 15, PhotoDirector 8, AudioDirector 7, ColorDirector 5, over $1000 worth of premium content, and 50GB of space on CyberLink Cloud for 1 year, costs at the moment $299.99. It should be noted, though, that Cyberlink has multiple campaigns running one after the other, and that prices change. It is also possible to buy different packages, from the PowerDirector 15 Ultimate Suite ($249.99), which includes AudioDirector 7, ColorDirector 5, over $1000 worth of premium content, and 50GB of space on CyberLink Cloud for 1 year, to the the     PowerDirector 15 Deluxe ($69.99).

The products are available online at the CyberLink Store and in selected retail outlets worldwide in the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese and Korean.

If you already own PowerDirector 14 and do not create 360-degree videos, this upgrade may not be the most important thing to have, but for those that create both 360 and vertical videos, this may be a solution to investigate, either the whole Director Suite or one of the packages available, down to the bare program that the PowerDirector 15 Deluxe name represents. Newcomers to the world of Non-Linear Editors looking for a solution that is very much “drag&drop”, has a friendly interface and multiple options that will suffice for many users would not be wrong to try the program. There is a demo available to download. Give it a try.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…