CyberLink came out swinging with its newest version of Director Suite 6. Released in September of 2017, Director Suite is made up of four programs that, over the years have progressed through many different versions. Included is PowerDirector 16 improved with 360 degree video editing, a video collage designer and intelligent color correction. For your photo editing needs, PhotoDirector 9 offers 360 degree photo editing and the ability to make photos with motion. Next is AudioDirector 8, a deeper audio editor than what is included in PowerDirector. Lastly, ColorDirector 6 is for applying LUTs, effects and looks to your footage.
Our first impressions of Director suite started off with its round-trip editing workflow support, connecting all four corners of the suite. We’re happy to see another brand outside of Adobe that executes in-program round-tripping well. We wouldn't say it’s as good as Adobe Dynamic Link, mostly because it’s not as fast and has fewer linked programs. We pulled video from PowerDirector into ColorDirector, tweaked the color, then went back to PowerDirector and the color updated automatically in the timeline. It was the same experience when working with audio between AudioDirector and PowerDirector. Because it feels the same going to work on color or audio, it’s more likely that you would go back and forth to get the perfect adjustments.
There are a bunch of really usable features added to PowerDirector in version 16. A great example of this is what they call Shadow Files. Shadow Files are nothing more than proxy files for proxy editing. PowerDirector will replace your original footage with lower resolution optimized media in order to use up as few resources as possible. This will give a user a better experience when using the software. The benefits from Shadow Files will depend on your system’s resources.
PowerDirector 16 offers not just improved support for 360 video, but more than one way to use it. Choose from creating a 2D video from your 360 video footage or track an object and create an auto pan/tilt video following your subject around the 360 capture. Another 2D production type is Little Planet. You’ve seen it before in 360 photos — where the subject is at the center of a wrap-around view of the environment. PowerDirector 16 allows you to create them simply and easily. Control the scale, rotation and angle of a Little Planet video and you can even fly in and out of the view. Lastly, you can adjust the quality of your 360 video with stabilization, denoise and brightness adjustment.
Color Match is another new feature offering the ability to create a color look for a video from a reference clip. Say you had some video from an interview you shot at sunset. The color is unique, and you want to continue this look to the rest of your video. Take that video clip, use color match and you now can apply that look to all of your other clips.
Lots of producers are now shooting in log to take advantage of the added dynamic range and color it allows. Grading log footage can be tricky. However, by applying a look-up table (LUT), you can expand the colors and dynamic range that is compressed in log shooting more easily. PowerDirector 16 gives you the ability to apply LUTs, so you can take advantage of log shooting without excessive work.
PowerDirector 16 gives you the ability to apply LUTs, so you can take advantage of log shooting without excessive work.
If you are a Panasonic Lumix GH5 shooter, then PowerDirector 16 offers even more value with support for 10-bit H.265 files, making the GH5 and PowerDirector 16 a nice, budget-friendly combo.
Get more title effects with drop shadows and the ability to apply text or picture in picture as an object in 360 video. PowerDirector 16 offers something they call HDR effect, and it’s just that — an effect, not true HDR. It's not good. Don’t use it. It’s nothing more than a glow with some sharpening and an increase in highlights.
The last two notable features of PowerDirector 16 are the video collage designer and audio ducking. If you need to make a simple collage of videos for a transition or open, they look pretty good. They do look a little canned, so don’t overuse them. The audio ducking feature works well. Make sure to adjust the sensitivity and the ducking level. And if the music going in and out of your cut seems too sudden, increase the fade in and out duration.
AudioDirector 8 is a good start for deeper work on your audio. There are some preloaded presets, though we didn’t find many of them helpful. It was easy to find a preset to make your subject sound like a duck, but not one for a vocal compressor. Now, it’s best to know how to adjust a compressor without a preset, but it’s much easier to adjust one from a preset than to start from scratch. There are some good audio fixing tools in AudioDirector, though they are not advanced tools, so they might leave you wanting more. When using the noise reduction tool, we were unable to remove the slight hum of an air conditioner without negatively affecting the sound of the subjects voice. This quality of noise reduction is better than nothing, but far from good.
ColorDirector offers a full color control panel for grading. You’ll find manual control for everything from temperature and tint to exposure and contrast. Change the clarity, vibrance and saturation. Plus individual RGB channel curves. If you want to do a drastic look to your video you can do that with a multitude of other color effects or the existing presets.
PhotoDirector 9 will help your take your 360 and 2D photos to another level. With 360 photo support PhotoDirector 9 gives the ability to make Little Planet photos and panoramas or add a small amount of movement to your photos to create a more dynamic photo.
There are many options in the production suite marketplace. Depending on the brand, there are options that you buy outright like with Director Suite 6 and others where you lease and pay monthly. Let’s look at products from Corel, MAGIX and Adobe for marketplace comparisons to Director Suite.
Corel Photo Video Bundle is 160 dollars. It includes VideoStudio Pro X10 and PaintShopPro 2018. This is the most affordable and limited offering we’re going to talk about. With VideoStudio Pro and PaintShopPro, you get two products that compete with the CyberLink offering, but overall, this offering is more basic and limited compared to the Director Suite. However, it is around half the price.
MAGIX Video Pro X costs 400 dollars. It’s not a suite of products, but a more robust editing program. VideoProX supports ProRes and AVC-Intra formats. It has adjustable proxy editing, lookup table application and secondary 3-way color correction. Get multicam editing and surround sound editing in both HD and UHD (H.264, H.265). At a hundred dollars more you get just Video Pro X, however it offers many of the features of the Director Suite in just one program.
Lastly is Adobe Creative Cloud for 50 dollars a month. That’s 600 dollars a year, double the cost of Director Suite and you only have access to it for a year. The caveat is that 50 dollars a month gets you 20 different apps from Premiere Pro to Audition to Photoshop and After Effects. The Creative Cloud fits users where a monthly cost is better than a capital expense. With the monthly cost, all updates are included, so as the program updates, so does your subscription. It’s not a good fit for those that don't need all of the extra apps, or those that a monthly cost does not fit in their budget, however.
Let’s Wrap It Up
CyberLink packs lots of punch for just 300 bucks. Although none of the programs are super advanced, they do offer most of the tools one would need to create a good production. We liked the 360 video support and how easy it it is to use. Being able to bounce back and forth from program to program is super nice. If you have the need for a round trip workflow, it’s a good fit. There is lots of value in CyberLink Director Suite 6, and it should be strongly considered if you are on a smaller budget.
- 360 video support
- Easy Little Planet videos
- Round-trip workflow
- Sub-par HDR effect
In Director Suite 6, CyberLink includes 4 programs that interlink in a round-trip workflow. With LUT support, 360 video capabilities along with color, audio and photo editing, there is something for everyone.
- Enthusiast filmmakers
- Home video shooters
- Social media enthusiasts
- Action sports enthusiasts
- Let's players
Minimum System Requirements:
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10, 8/8.1, 7 (64 bit OS recommended)
Processor (CPU): Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom II and above
Graphics Processor (GPU): Standard Video: 128 MB VGA VRAM or higher
360-video: DirectX 11 compatible
Memory: 2GB required (6GB or above recommended)
Hard Disk Space: 10GB
Burning Device: Burning drive is required for disc burning purpose
Sound Card: Windows compatible sound card is required
Internet Connection: required for initial software & file formats activation.
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768, 16-bit color or above
Language Support: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (European), Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean
Chris Monlux can’t make it through the day without charging his phone. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor.