Maximum PC Staff Jun 24, 2008

CyberLink PowerDirector 6

At A Glance

Michael Corleone

Best program for VOB handling and subtitle support.

Mary Corleone

Awkward button placement.

PowerDirector 6’s powerful features are handcuffed by a mildly frustrating interface. Unfortunately, the app just won’t let you easily tweak things, which is strange because the product seems aimed at pleasing the button-mashers.

CyberLink embedded a simple process that allows users to upload rendered videos straight to YouTube, so you can tell who the company is marketing this product to. We easily uploaded a slide show we created using a wizard, though we did encounter some problems with this featurette.

In addition to one-click (well, three) uploads of your YouTube feature, PowerDirector 6 includes a host of pleasing video effects, but again, the clumsy interface forces you to hunt around for the proper controls. If you apply an effect directly to a video in the timeline, you can’t simply right-click on the track to remove it. You have to select the track, hit the Effect button, and uncheck all of the effects you don’t want to see.
It’s a minor quibble, but we struggled with the interface more than we expected to with a product that should be user-friendly. The updated slide-show wizard, in particular, annoyed us. If you autocreate a slide show but don’t like the result (for example, everyone’s head is cropped off), you can’t easily modify the slide show to fix the problem. The only thing you can do is keep applying different templates to see how they look—and that’s a multistep process. It’s almost as though CyberLink gets paid by the click.

But enough about the bad stuff. The software does include some pretty neat features, such as the PiP effect, which lets you easily move a still image or video across the screen. There’s no key-frame ability, but the method CyberLink uses to move, rotate, and resize objects in a video is probably easier for newbies to understand. And honestly, do you really need to key-frame the thought bubble over someone’s head in your Blind Date spoof video? It’s also worth noting that the subtitle engine can import .SRT subtitle files.

Unfortunately, subtitles can’t simply be turned on or off; they’re rendered directly into the video.
HDV editing is now included as well. We captured video from a Canon HV10 HDV camcorder in PowerDirector 6 with no hitches. Although one of the primary scene-detection methods did not work for us, post-capture scene detection effectively diced up our video for us. That’s certainly better than Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0, which doesn’t preview HDV video capture or have any post-capture scene detection. Likewise, Pinnacle’s Studio 10.7 requires that you activate scene detection. It doesn’t cost anything, but we shouldn’t be subjected to the hassle. One of PowerDirector 6’s weaknesses is how it exports HDV video. You can create an AVI file at high res or output it back to tape, but that’s it. There’s no Blu-ray or HD DVD disc support nor a way to master the disc so that it will play on an HD DVD deck using a standard single- or dual-layer DVD encoded at a higher resolution.

PowerDirector 6 does excel in VOB editing of commercial discs. While Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 is unreliable in its handling of commercial VOB files and Pinnacle Studio 10.7 has issues, PowerDirector 6 easily imported a VOB file ripped from a commercial disc. That’s of great value if you want to recut The Godfather: Part III to remove all of Sophia Coppola’s scenes.

Whether PowerDirector 6 is for you depends on how far you want to go. If you want a quick-hit editor, it has more than enough to keep you happy. If you expect to get a little more medieval with your edits, you’d be better served by Pinnacle Studio 10.6.


CyberLink PowerDirector 6

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