Adobe Systems Premiere Elements 4.0
- Powerful video editing features, relatively easy to use, easy to follow project progression, burn to DVD with menus, upload directly to YouTube
- Some features not explained enough for a novice user, quality of DVD video is not as good as it could be, manual reading is required to learn the software
Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0 is a great package for people wanting to break away from basic and limited video editing software but who are not ready for the professional end of the editing pool.
Price$ 159.00 (AUD)
Now that we are firmly planted in the digital age, it has become easier for regular folk to make their home movies look stylish and cinematic. Unfortunately, most of the basic video editing suites will only take a user so far. To take the next leap toward professional looking videos, more complicated and generally expensive packages are required. Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0 isn't a simple experience but it is far easier to learn than the high-end packages and has far more power than a basic suite. It also allows completed video to be directly uploaded to YouTube so you can share it with family, friends or the world.
Unlike the Photoshop Elements package, Premiere isn't a guided user experience. It's easier to use, and fairly straight forward but there isn't a distinction between skill levels - you just need to learn it all. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, as the included manual isn't a massively difficult read and once you've learnt the nuances of the package, the end result can be quite stunning.
Scene mode is the most simple editing level. Footage can just be dropped into a sequence to which filters and transitions can be applied between each clip. Alternatively, timeline mode provides tracks for video, audio, images and transitions. This offers a more professional way to cut footage together by providing greater editing flexibility.
Premiere Elements is designed as an editing and publishing tool. Once a video project is edited, the software provides many ways to publish the final product. The most significant two are creating a DVD and uploading to YouTube.
To create a DVD just select a menu system template, rename the buttons and headings and then burn to DVD. The result is good but not brilliant. The clean, crisp menus seen in the program tend to become a little pixelated in some areas with a noticeable level of digital artefacts, particularly around text. The quality of the DVD discs is on-par with discs produced in Nero 7 using it's NeroVision software.
Uploading a project to YouTube is ridiculously simple. Once the video is ready, click on the share tab and follow the prompts. A YouTube account is required for this feature to work: you will be asked to put in the user name and password. Once you are logged in, within Premiere, the name of the video and description can be entered, and the project can then be uploaded directly to YouTube. We were rather impressed with this feature, particularly the high quality video it produced - the program has video presets that are ideal for YouTube.
On the whole, the user interface is fairly easy to follow. It progresses through each stage required to complete a video in a logical order. However, there are some functions that are left unexplained and may confuse novice users. For example, when importing video from a camera, the camera control settings aren't explained well enough. Since we know how to use Premiere Pro, it was a synch for us, but we'd imagine a less experienced budding video editor would have to repeatedly consult the manual to understand what is going on. Thankfully, a fat printed manual is included.
Premiere Elements 4.0 is available as a stand-alone product or can be purchased in a bundle with Photoshop Elements 6.0.
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