CyberLink PowerDirector 5

CyberLink PowerDirector 5
April 30, 2006

CyberLink is a software company whose focus is on integrating all the contemporary aspects of your digital environment at home. Their desire is to make your digital lifestyle easier to operate but yet have as much functionality as possible and the flexability of custom creations. Cyberlink's mission is to bring many of the professional tools common to more expensive applications, in a concise, time-saving, affordable package for the home user.

CyberLink PowerDirector 5

PowerDirector 5 is just what the name implies. You have the power to create, edit, and produce your own movies and burn them on DVD. Additionally, PowerDirector 5 is an image editor which has quite a few filters and options for the average photographer. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to PowerDirector 5.

You can also capture audio and video from a variety of sources and formats.

CyberLink PowerDirector 5 - Audio capture feature

A very large range of audio extraction quality settings is available. Anywhere between 8KHz 8-bit mono to 48KHz 16-bit stereo is at your discretion. As for video capture, QuickTime, WMV, AVI, analog video, are just among the many formats you can choose.

What I like about PD5 is that there are clear and large icons displayed, informing you of what kind of file you're looking at. This makes for a non-confusing layout of many different files which eventually can be joined into one DVD/CD project.

CyberLink PowerDirector 5 - Adding images, video, and audio to a creation


Let's take a look at some of the major features of CyberLink PowerDirector 5:

  • New Magic Tools: Magic Style and Magic Fix
  • Enhanced CyberLink RichVideo technology, featuring Smart Captions
  • Improvements to existing Magic Tools (Magic Cut, Magic Clean, Magic Motion, and Magic Music)
  • Support for High-Definition video
  • Support for 16:9 aspect ratio video content
  • Optional support for MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-4 SP
  • Faster previewing of clips with a new "draft-quality" and the ability to disable specific timeline tracks while previewing others
  • Upgraded Title Designer featuring multiple text layers
  • CyberLink Virtual Speaker settings for DVD audio
Using PhotoNow!

PhotoNow! was one of my favorite sub-applications within PowerDirector 5.

CyberLink PowerDirector 5 - PhotoNow!

CyberLink PowerDirector 5 - PhotoNow's New vs. Original Feature

A Few Issues

I did experience a few issues and below is a screen capture of them. The first issue is an annoying "Get Holiday Packs" which is permanently in the upper left-hand side of the thumbnail viewing areas for various media formats. I tried to right-click and delete like I could do with other files but the option is disabled and doing so takes me to Cyberlink's website to purchase Holiday Packs. I would expect this in a trial version but not a registered version.

CyberLink PowerDirector 5 - A Few Issues

Another issue which was irritating was the incompatibility with the Windows Taskbar. PowerDirector 5 seems to display everything just fine when the taskbar is at the normal one-level height, but if you raise the taskbar to two or three levels, the lower part of the program is cutoff and there's no way to get to it. For those with 1600x1200 displays (such as myself), it is fairly common to have two or three level height taskbars in order to control all the windows being open.


  • An all-in-one application for a variety of media interests
  • Includes several most commonly used filters for photographers and video enthusiasts
  • PhotoNow! is a very easy sub-app for photographers
  • Magic Clean did a great job improving video clips
  • Large range of audio capture functionality and options
  • Large icons which convey the types of files in your project
  • Simple but yet very dynamic GUI
  • Pleasant but vibrant colors of buttons and tools for a nice user experience
  • Video Stabilizer option
  • $89.95
  • Runtime Error when accessing a CD/DVD drive for media files--in my case, it was JPEG images
  • Adjusting the size of PowerDirector 5's window does not re-size the overall contents within the window
  • Annoying "Get Holiday Packs" which appear to be permanently positioned within the working area. I tried to delete this but it's made to automatically go to Cyberlink's website to order a Holiday Pack when you right-click!
  • If you have your Window's Taskbar larger than one bar, PowerDirector 5's app window will be cut-off on the bottom for every increase in height you make the taskbar.
  • At least an Intel 2.0GHz processor with 512MB RAM or AMD equivalent
PowerDirector 5 is certainly powerful and covers a wide range of multimedia applications for the average and above-average user who is looking for a single application to meet the needs of photography, video creation, and video editing. But it's also great for audio extraction as well. There are so many options available to the user, this review merely touches on some of the major aspects.


I do like PowerDirector 5, but it does need a more powerful computer than what CyberLink recommends. I personally suggest at least an Intel 2.0GHz system, preferably a P4 system with HyperThreading. I was able to run PowerDirector 5 on a dual-processor PIII 1GHz system with 768MB of RAM, but it still chugged along when importing media files. Best advice? Load up your PC on RAM. PowerDirector 5 did have some issues as noted above. I'm hoping these can be fixed in the next version or even next upgrade.

I had a great experience with the PhotoNow! sub-app within PowerDirector 5. It's very simple to use and you can see your original image and post-image modifications side-by-side, quickly touch-up images with some handy filters, just to name a few stand-out features.

If you're on the hunt for a sub-$100 application which can cater to your audio and video creativity, I would certainly give PowerDirector 5 a few moments of your time to try out.

A Trial Version of PowerDirector 5 can be downloaded on Cyberlink's PowerDirector 5 Trial page.