Adobe Premiere Elements 7

Adobe Premiere Elements 7 is the update to Adobe's Premiere Elements 4 consumer movie-making tool. Obviously.

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Adobe Premiere Elements 7
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 7
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 7
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 7

Pros

  • Web integration

Cons

  • Not a particularly compelling upgrade, interface issues

Bottom Line

The upgrades to Adobe Premiere Elements 7 didn't strike us as very compelling. We like the addition of downloadable walkthroughs and templates, the Smart Tags, and the ability to sync files without thinking about it. But the interface needs some housecleaning, Elements' integration with Photoshop.com is pretty thin, and its integration with third-party services even thinner. More Webbiness is fine, but what we really want is more YouTubiness.

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Your video stinks!

The Premiere Elements application does have several new features that don't depend on online interaction. One is the Smart Tag feature, which analyses your clips to identify ones that may be too dark, blurry, shaky, or out-of-focus — and that includes faces. We agreed with its evaluations (even when it called one of my videos "low quality"), and it works quickly. By default, Premiere Elements' and Photoshop Elements' organisers share the same catalogue file, and tags (other than Smart Tags)created in one application show up in both.

Another new feature, Instant Movie, lets you quickly create a movie by selecting clips, choosing a theme, and letting the application implement transitions and effects based on that theme. (Other video-editing applications, such as Pinnacle Studio and Corel VideoStudio, have such automated tools.) With my clips, Elements' tool worked about as well as its competitors — which is to say, not very well. We had trouble finding a theme suitable for my clips; the cuts from one shot to another seemed strange, and the transitions were often inappropriate.

You can edit your movie after applying an Instant Movie theme, but be warned: It broke our 5-minute movie into hundreds of tiny pieces of video, audio, transitions, and effects, making editing the movie extremely difficult. Adobe Premiere Elements 7 ships with 22 Instant Movie themes; you'll be able to download new themes too.

Adobe Premiere Elements 7 has a new feature called VideoMerge, which is supposed to simplify the process of taking video that was shot with a single-colour background and superimposing it on another video (for that supercool TV weatherperson look). When you drop a clip on top of another clip in the timeline, and Elements detects a solid background, it will ask whether you want to use VideoMerge; alternatively, you can initiate the process manually.

The feature worked quite well with footage supplied by Adobe, but far worse with our own blue-screen-background footage: Despite its supplying a tolerance slider, the background video showed through my foreground video. Elements 7 won't let you apply effects to specific areas of the video frame, so it's difficult (although not impossible) to mask areas where background video that shows through.

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