CyberLink PowerDirector 11 ColorDirector
ColorDirector is the first of the two rather surprising new additions to the PowerDirector arsenal. Although it can be used on its own, and purchased for £99.99, it's most powerful when used in tandem with PowerDirector. Accessing ColorDirector from within PowerDirector entails choosing the Fix/Enhance button just above the timeline and then selecting the ColorDirector button. This loads the clip into ColorDirector, where you can make the adjustments you want. The Back button then returns you to PowerDirector, where your adjustments will be immediately reflected. Reload ColorDirector with the same procedure, and you can make more tweaks to your settings.
Once you have a clip loaded into ColorDirector, a huge range of colour adjustments become available. These include very sophisticated colour correction, such as one-click white balance. Tone can be adjusted, with separate controls for five levels of brightness, as well as overall exposure and contrast. There are sliders for clarity, vibrancy and saturation. Hue, saturation and lightness can be adjusted for eight different colour ranges, and one can be replaced wholesale with another, although this can cause some unwanted effects when applied globally, changing areas you might want left alone, despite the tolerance slider.
There are also Magic Bullet-style colourisation presets to give your footage the look of specific film types or old video broadcasts. You can create your own presets, and there's a direct conduit to CyberLink's increasingly popular Director Zone, so you can download the presets of others, or upload your own. These changes are all non-destructive, even when transferred back into PowerDirector. There's a keyframe timeline which can be exposed, providing the option to vary pretty much every parameter as the clip progresses. There are even moderate trimming and splicing tools, so you can confine your work to a small section of a clip. Automatic scene detection is available, to pull out multiple clips from one video file.
ColorDirector's particular power can be found in its masking abilities, however. You can select a region by defining points around it and adjust only the area inside or outside that, although the points have no Bezier controls, so vertices will be very angular. Gradient masks can be applied, too, which can be used for a variety of tasks, such as enhancing a dull sky with a bit more variation, or creating a quasi-tilt shift effect. All the same adjustment parameters are available as can be used when making global adjustments.
Perhaps the most surprising feature of ColorDirector is its ability to track the motion of an area of colour and replace this area with another colour as it moves. Similar tools to the impressive smart selection brush found in PhotoDirector 4 can be used to highlight an area to track, and ColorDirector will then go through the clip frame-by-frame and track this area. You can then adjust the settings just for this area, for example to change the colour of a shirt, or invert it, for example to make everything but the shirt black and white. We found the tracked area needs to be continuous and not hugely varying in shape or size, but otherwise the results were pretty impressive, and not like anything we have seen outside of Adobe After Effects, which costs around ten times the price.