In September 2017, Cyberlink launched PowerDirector 16 with many new features for 360 video editing, including image stabilization and object tracking. 12/29/17 update: I tested the stabilization to see how well it could stabilize a 360 video and how it compares to gyro-based stabilization. Check out the results of my test below.
Previous versions of PowerDirector had 360 video editing but lacked some features such as 360 titles. Now Cyberlink’s PowerDirector 16 has several powerful new features for 360 video editing that put it ahead of its competitors for 360 video editing.
360 Image Stabilization. Image stabilization for 360 means that the horizon of your 360 will remain level, as if it were on a gimbal. This is a critical feature that until now has only been available in professional 360 video editing software such as Mettle. It was also quite complicated to use. PowerDirector makes this very useful feature available for the first time in an affordable 360 video editor for consumers, and it is very easy to use:
I tested PowerDirector 16’s stabilization with the Insta360 ONE. As a preliminary matter, I found it extremely easy to use the stabilization feature. You simply click on the video, click on the enhance menu, check the box for video stabilization. If you’re using a 360 video, it automatically applies 360 stabilization instead of the non-360 EIS.
I conducted three tests, using the maximum setting of 120 for stabilization:
Test #1: Unstabilized video vs. PD16 stabilization
Test #2: Insta360 ONE gyro-based stabilization vs. PD16 stabilization.
Test #3: Insta360 ONE gyro-based stabilization vs. Both gyro-based stabilization and PD16 stabilization
Here are the test results:
Here are my observations:
Test #1: Unstabilized video vs. PD16 stabilization: PD16’s stabilization was a huge improvement. What’s more there was no blurring in the stabilized video (whereas in some stabilized 360 cameras, such as the Insta360 Nano, the video gets blurred when stabilization is active).
Test #2: Insta360 ONE gyro-based stabilization vs. PD16 stabilization: To my eyes, the PD16’s stabilization had comparable performance to the Insta360 ONE’s gyro-based stabilization. One important difference is that the ONE’s gyro-based stabilization is locked to a single compass direction. With PD16’s stabilization, the camera followed the shooter’s point of view. This could be useful for situations such as when driving (if you want the 360 video to face the direction the car is traveling), which could give reason to use PD16’s stabilization even if your camera already has gyro–based stabilization.
Test #3: Insta360 ONE gyro-based stabilization vs. Both gyro-based stabilization and PD16 stabilization: In my opinion, adding PD16 stabilization to gyro-stabilized 360 video did not result in a meaningful improvement. In some parts of the video, it looked better, while in other parts, it looked worse.
Based on these tests, I conclude that PowerDirector 16 Ultra’s 360 video stabilization does work very well, even if it’s not perfect, and IMHO, this feature by itself would justify getting PD16, even if you don’t use the rest of the program.
360 Object Tracking. With object tracking, you can place text or graphics on an object and the text will follow the movement of the object around the 360 video. I don’t know yet if this feature can also be used to keep the video centered on the tracked object.
360 titles: You can now place titles anywhere in your 360 video, even on the nadir or zenith, and it won’t appear distorted.
Other features include:
– Little planet mode: PowerDirector 16 can convert your video into a tiny planet.
– View designer: create a non-360 video out of your 360 video, with full control over the perspective.
– Color grading for 360 videos: besides changing color, you can also apply noise reduction (luminance and chroma noise) or sharpening.
Cyberlink Powerdirector 16 is available by itself for around $50 (a discount from its $99 MSRP) or as a bundle with Photodirector 9 which has built-in 360 editing functions such as a tiny planet mode and removing tripods from the nadir. I hope you found this post helpful. FYI you can get articles automatically emailed to you by subscribing to 360 Rumors for free!