Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A fresh look at Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0 video software

PRODUCT REVIEW

By Cari Cooney

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Adobe's Photoshop Elements 6.0. This was a double disc set that included Premiere Elements 4.0 video editing software. It's time for part 2 in this miniseries of reviews. Prepare to be amazed at the glory of Premiere Elements 4.0.

Getting started

Using this program wasn't my first experience with video editing. In college, I used "Movie Maker" on several occasions to create short and highly amateur films. My rationale for using this software was that it was free for my use and offered in the labs related to my major.

Getting started with Premiere Elements, I was able to navigate a little easier than if I had never seen video editing software before. I guess I did learn something in college after all! Take a look at figure A to see the simple layout of the project screen.

FIGURE A

The project screen has some simple choices. (click for larger image)

This is clean and hardly intimidating. It's easy to find the next step in your editing process.

Creating movie magic

Uploading videos to Premiere Elements is a snap. You can pull videos from just about anything, including the Internet, DVDs, digital cameras, and, of course, files you have on your computer. With a click of your mouse, your chosen video appears in the project screen. You can upload as many files as you please, and drag them to the boxes below to easily organize them. Figure B shows uploaded videos in the process of editing.

FIGURE B

I'm editing some clips here. (click for larger image)

Use the purple timeline to slide tabs and lock them into specific sections. You can delete scenes, add your own personal narration with the aid of your microphone (not included in Premiere Elements) or create amazing special effects.

If you think that the effects in Photoshop are cool, you've got to try some out on your movies. There is the typical sharpening and lighting effects to make your movies look "better" but there are also some awesome effects like "ghosting" and "twirling" that give a very professional look to your videos. For the cost of this software ($99 by itself, $149 in a bundle with Photoshop Elements), you won't believe all that you can accomplish. It makes me curious to know what Adobe Premiere Pro (one of their most professional products for video editing) could do that this couldn't!

[Ed. note: Premiere Pro is intended for professional video editing and has many advanced editing features including 24P support, surround sound mixing, project management tools, multiple timeline sequences, an advanced audio mixer, and vectorscopes. Generally, if you don't know why you'd need to go Pro, you don't need to!]