Premiere Elements 9 is the latest version of Adobe’s consumer-oriented video editing software application. Until about a month ago, my exposure to video editing software was fairly limited. Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 was my first serious experience with such software and I was very impressed with Corel’s offering. I was very excited to give Premiere Elements 9 (PRE9) a try next because I just knew that it would take my video editing to the next level. I had a stellar experience with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 so I expected more of the same from PRE9.
- Fun DVD creation tools
- Good audio cleanup tools
- Auto level effect can help clean up videos
- Large selection of transitions and effects
- Logical layout
- Good sharing/export options
- Inconsistent performance
- Not quite as intuitive to use as competition
- Included Titles are fun but professional-looking Titles are not included
Generally speaking, video applications tend to have some of the highest system requirements of any program you could run on your computer. Professionals have large budgets so they can afford the best hardware for their workstations. The average home user on the other hand, may have once had a top-of-the-line system, but might now be anywhere from 1-5 years old. For everything but modern high-end games, this is usually just fine. My home-built system is about 3-4 years old but met PRE9’s system requirements easily. It ran Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 fairly well so I had no worries about PRE9– that is, until I started using it.
When working with a video clip, I was able to preview the clip without a glitch. However, as soon as I began adding effects, transitions, or titles, the preview was almost unwatchable. It stuttered so much, that it would completely skip over elements like the transition. I was unable to actually preview the work I was doing. Scrolling through the included titles was slow as well and my cursor would show busy for up to three seconds before allowing me to continue scrolling.
I ended up calling Adobe support and they were very helpful and polite. Unfortunately, resetting my default settings didn’t help, nor did any of their other suggestions. They suggested that there was a newer version of my NVIDIA video card driver, but when I went to the NVIDIA website, the latest driver was the driver I was already using. I even uninstalled my driver and reinstalled it to no effect. As a last straw, I even overclocked my video card– something I never do. That didn’t help either.
PRE9 is separated into four distinct functions–Organize, Edit, Disc Menus and Share. It’s very similar to VideoStudio Pro X4 except that PRE9 includes the Disc Menus option. Organize is the first option in PRE9 and allows you to easily import videos from a variety of sources and add them to an album.
After you’ve dragged a clip from an album, you can click on the Edit tab to start working on it. If all you want to do is get your video clips onto a DVD or upload them to YouTube, you can go straight to the Share tab. However, if you want to try and improve the video quality or add titles, a soundtrack, or do some other fun and creative things to the clip, you can do so in this tab.
The default layout of the Edit step works well and is almost exactly like VideoStudio Pro X4. It’s broken down into three sections. On the top left, you have the video preview screen. On the top right, are effects, transitions, filters, themes, and clip art. The entire bottom half of the layout is the timeline (or sceneline). This is where you insert all the videos, effects, and audio. It’s pretty intuitive. The timeline reads from left to right and there are multiple rows of “Tracks.” By default, three Video plus Audio tracks are listed, three additional audio tracks, a narration track and a soundtrack.
Adding elements to these tracks allow you to customize each track and then match them up to work with the entire project. It’s a fairly simple process to add your own music as a soundtrack or effects to express your creative side. Of course, because I experienced performance problems, it did get cumbersome waiting to scroll through the different options and once I added them, I was unable to preview their effect on the video. One effect I was actually able to observe was the Auto Level effect. It cleaned up some of the lighting issues on my clip and improved the overall quality.
If you want to create DVD’s of your videos, menus are a good way to make the DVD more fun to watch and easier to find segments or clips. PRE9 includes a separate tab to help create fun looking menus but the selection of menus is fairly limited. I would have appreciated at least one generic-looking menu template to go along with some of the fun styles that were offered.
The last function of Premiere Elements 9 is the share function. This allows you to create a disc, record to DV tape, upload online, and create a video file. The options here are fairly self explanatory and are easy to use. Online uploads are limited to just YouTube, Photoshop.com, and Podbean. The process of creating a video file is called rendering. Rendering can take a long time, depending on how long and complex your video is and the type of file you’ve chosen to save it as. Knowing which type you should use is important before you render it because you could end up wasting a lot of time waiting for the render to complete, only to find out that the file you created isn’t going to work for you. I should mention that even though I had performance issues that caused problems previewing clips as I worked on them, that once I rendered them, they came out perfectly.
Adobe Premiere Elements 9 isn’t quite what I was expecting. On the one hand, it has lots of useful tools that work well to improve videos and add some creativity to them. On the other hand, working in PRE9 was frustrating because of performance issues that I should not have experienced, given that my system exceeded the system requirements. In my opinion, Adobe should have done one of two things to really help consumers who were looking at PRE9 as an option. They should have either optimized the application better to work with older hardware or published a more realistic system requirement. I highly recommend downloading the 30-day trial to see how well your system runs PRE9 first. If it works, then I have no problem recommending PRE9.
30-day trial can be download HERE.
Available from Amazon.com.
* Review license courtesy of Adobe Systems