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Cyberlink Director Suite 3 review: Improved editing tools, codec support, more

Jon L. Jacobi | Sept. 25, 2014
The latest version of Cyberlink's flagship video/photo/audio creative bundle, Director Suite 3, adds more granular editing of titles and transitions, sports numerous improvements and tweaks, and now supports the latest video formats: H.265/HEVC and XAVC-S. If not quite as powerful, it's a more affordable and compelling competitor to Adobe's Creative Cloud.

Another improvement to the video editor is the ability to sync up to 100 different cameras in MultiCam view so you can create the video wall to end all video walls. Other notable, albeit existing, features include motion tracking and motion FX, HDR enhancement, 3D support, and production to disk or any sort of optical media. There's also content-aware editing which shows you in a layout where there's speech, audio, shaky video, faces, etc. which can substantially quicken the editing process.

On the other hand, it's getting to the point where to be a truly efficient production tool, PowerDirector needs inline color and audio editing. While the programs in the suite communicate and seamlessly transport data back and forth, it's still a time consuming process to export data, open another program, import the data, re-export the edited results, then reopen them in the originating program. The lag disrupts the creative process. Here's hoping there's single CreativeDirector program that marries all the editors in the offing.

Also, with the ever increasing number of features, PowerDirector's tiny monochromatic icons and lengthy context menus can be daunting for new users, and inefficient even for those that know the program. The learning curve is steep. To be fair, PowerDirector is no worse in this regard than most of the competition.

Cyberlink has largely transitioned to a per annum revenue model, though you may also buy the standalone version of the suite for $299. The yearly fee is $99.95, and you can "rent" the suite for three months for $49.95. All versions include 20GB of online storage for the subscription length, or a year for the standalone. To be clear, these are simply the applications installed on your hard drive that check in online once in a while to make sure you're paid up. It's not a Web-app collection that you utilize via a browser. Also note that the individual applications are all available separately.

Director Suite 3 as a standalone upgrade is a pick'em based on need for existing owners. If you're a new customer, you won't find this kind of creative power elsewhere for anywhere near the price. If you're a subscriber, it's all free, and it's all good.


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