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Adobe Premiere Elements 7 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £65
inc VAT

The latest version of Premiere Elements has a simple interface, but advanced editing tools are only a couple of clicks away.

Version 7 introduces InstantMovie, which edits footage automatically based on themes such as Performance Star and Outdoor Wedding. The results look impressive but the timing of edits seems arbitrary. Sadly, you can’t edit them further on the normal timeline. We like the stop-motion capture, which records a sequence of still images and turns it into an animation. It only works with MiniDV cameras and webcams, but it’s great for entertaining children by making their toys come to life.

Ambitious users will find some of the best tools available at any price here, including up to 99 tracks, curved motion paths and keyframe editing per parameter for precise control over effects and object motion. You can even control the rate of change between keyframes using bezier curves. This goes way beyond most home users’ needs, but it’s perfect for creating cartoon animations, complex intro sequences and other projects.

The timeline tools are straightforward and responsive and, although the effects would benefit from a preset library, the interface works well. The lack of ripple-editing options won’t please advanced users, though. Adjusting the length of a clip causes subsequent chips on the timeline to shuffle along if they’re touching or stay where they are if they’re not – it’s a sensible approximation of true ripple editing but Sony’s and Serif’s ripple editing on/off switches are better.

Our biggest concern is that there is no facility to edit using low-resolution proxy copies of demanding formats such as AVCHD. Premiere Elements handles native AVCHD footage better than most editors, but previews on our 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo PC were a little jerky and sometimes almost ground to a halt. HDV and all standard-definition formats played back fine, but AVCHD camera owners without an extremely powerful PC are better off with another editor.

Export options are comprehensive and there are templates for everything from Blu-ray discs to mobile phones. It’s disappointing that HD video can’t be burnt to DVD media in AVCHD format, though. Without it, playback in a set-top Blu-ray player requires a Blu-ray writer and expensive blank media. Export quality is marginally the best here, with superior de-interlacing that avoided ghosting in moving subjects and produced sharp lines in static areas.

Premiere Elements’ jerky AVCHD previews made us think long and hard about whether it deserves our Best Buy award. However, this is the only editor here that offers powerful, responsive editing tools alongside comprehensive Blu-ray authoring. You can also buy it as a bundle with Photoshop Elements 7 for £87 from Amazon, which makes it even better value.

AVCHD camera owners should consider buying Serif MoviePlus for editing and CyberLink PowerDirector Ultra for HD disc authoring, but assessed individually, Premiere Elements 7 has the most going for it.

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