Audio editing abilities have been improved considerably by the addition of a dedicated WaveEditor. This is a separate audio editing app, which you can use independently, but it can also be called from within PowerDirector using the Edit Audio tab. It supports round tripping, so any changes you make will be saved back into your project. The WaveEditor includes tools like pitch shifting, equalisation and more powerful noise removal, although not using a noise sampling system. It also supports VST plugins, so you can extend its capabilities with any of these you have installed on your system.
The MagicStyle Movie wizard has a new feature, with the ability to create 3D scenes into which you can insert photos and videos. The wizard will then create an animation that moves between the photos, for example as if they were pictures in a gallery, although it still ends up with a simple slideshow at the end.
You can extend the options online, too. CyberLink launched the DirectorZone with the last version of PowerDirector, and this continues to grow. DirectorZone is a site where PowerDirector users can upload presets, assets, and even tutorials. CyberLink claims there are now over 100,000 items available for download on DirectorZone, which you can access directly from the app, grab content, and install it for immediate use in your projects.
The main additions at the output stage are support for Facebook, and greater hardware acceleration when encoding. The former is now becoming a common feature in video apps, which is unsurprising considering Facebook’s ranking as one of the most popular websites in the world. There's also support for burning BDXL discs, with capacities of 100 or 128GB.
For many years, PowerDirector has been closing the gap with the incumbents in consumer-grade desktop video editing, Adobe Premiere Elements and Corel VideoStudio. Although both of these still offer a little more control in key areas, the difference is nowhere near as great as it was.
With its more responsive interface and smoother previews, PowerDirector is actually a little easier to use than either of them for many everyday tasks. So whilst we still recommend Adobe Premiere Elements 9 for its sheer breadth of capabilities, by embracing native 64-bit code first, CyberLink PowerDirector has finally stolen a lead. Make sure you get the Ultra64 version, though, as the £20 saving of the Deluxe edition is clearly a false economy.