The different versions of PowerDirector come with a smaller or greater number of presets for the Theme Designer, which come as part of the content packs, with the Deluxe version not offering the Premium pack. The Deluxe version doesn't include the Multicam Designer, either, and a number of other new features too numerous to mention here, primarily because it is actually 32-bit only.
CyberLink has continued to tweak the underlying engine of PowerDirector. All of CyberLink's applications now have 64-bit versions, which bring some great benefits, such as 40 per cent faster H.264 video rendering. Another new 64-bit-only feature is Motion Blur for picture-in-picture and title effects. Although this is hardly a necessity yet, there's extended support for 4K video resolutions in all but the Deluxe version, too. We edited some 4K footage from a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition without an issue.
There are a number of welcome usability tweaks, too. You can now select a portion of the timeline to render out as a file, which is great for quick full-resolution previews. Another enhancement appears when you drag a clip over another clip, where your are presented with options as to whether you want to overwrite, trim, crossfade, or even speed up a clip to make it fit.
Since the previous version, PowerDirector hasn't been about what is new only in the main app, either. If you purchase the PowerDirector 12 Ultimate Suite or Director Suite 2, you also get ColorDirector and AudioDirector, both of which have seen significant new feature additions.
ColorDirector is now on version 2, and this adds a new faux HDR effect, alongside its existing powerful motion tracking and colour replacement toolset. You can also apply colour look-up tables (LUTs) created by third-party applications, such as DaVinci Resolve. There's a new 64-bit GPU-accelerated rendering engine underneath, too.
AudioDirector has reached its fourth incarnation. The headline new feature here is the Surround Sound Panner. This lets you take stereo audio and create 5.1 surround effects in the mix. On top of the powerful spectral analysis and healing abilities plus many other effects, AudioDirector 4 includes some pretty high-end sound abilities.
Existing PowerDirector users will find plenty to make the upgrade price worthwhile, although more in the core PowerDirector than the bundled ColorDirector and AudioDirector apps. The Suite versions are more expensive than the usual sub-£200 we expect for consumer-grade editing software, but PowerDirector is now a much more aspirational piece of software, and looks like a serious enthusiast contender alongside Adobe Premiere Elements 11, although Pinnacle Studio 16 is a worthy choice as well.
CyberLink PowerDirector 12 is now one of the most powerful consumer video editing applications on the market, particularly in Suite form with ColorDirector and AudioDirector included.