Adobe Premiere Elements 10 September 2011

Advanced video-editing software

If you want to edit your videos, it's not necessary to pay for software. But Adobe Premiere Elements offers more than the free options currently available. We take a first look.

Adobe Premiere Elements 10

What is Adobe Premiere Elements 10?

Adobe Premiere Elements 10 is an advanced video-editing software package. It offers features like AVCHD import and export, colour corrections in independent areas, a huge number of special effects and a sophisticated media organiser.

These are features that free software options like Microsoft Live Movie Maker 2011 often lack, though Premiere Elements 10 is harder to pick up and learn from scratch. 

See how free and paid-for software compare for ease of use and performance in our latest video-editing software full lab test.

What features does Adobe Premiere Elements 10 have?

Most HD camcorders these days record in AVCHD format. Not all video-editing software can read this format without fiddly pre-conversion first, especially free software, but Premiere is able to. The process of importing footage is pretty straightforward. Premiere gives you the option of where you want to import from - a connected camcorder, camera or mobile phone for example, or from the folders on your hard drive, or from the linked media organiser. This organiser is designed to be the hub of all your media, and it has some very impressive search and retrieve features.

Read more about the media organiser in our first look of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10.

The ability to find and import still images as well as video from the organiser is made even more useful by a new feature that allows you to create interesting slide shows of photos. This includes a pan and zoom feature that allows you to create a video of a still picture, automatically panning across the photo and periodically zooming in close-up to various points of interest. 

Face recognition is built-in to this, so you can create a video of a photo with 6 faces in it, for example, and pan across and zoom in close to each face individually and hold for a few seconds on each one. This feature can be customised so you can set the duration of each zoom-in.

Adobe Premiere Elements 10 has lots of special effects, audio adjustments and colour corrections you can use to improve your footage. Many of these are quick and easy to apply, or if you prefer you can take your time to manually fine tune the effect you are trying to achieve. Overall, it feels as if you can shape and stylise your video in any way your imagination takes you, there is a huge amount of power at your disposal.

Premiere Screengrab

Changing colours independently of each other in Adobe Premiere Elements 10

One new feature we particularly like is the ability to make colour corrections in independent areas of a scene. For example, it is possible to make a white sky more blue, while keeping the rest of the scene virtually untouched. You do this by adjusting the colour of the highlights, or bright areas, while leaving the shadows, or dark bits, and mid-tones alone.

As well as AVCHD import, you can export to an AVCHD file after you've finished editing your film. You can burn this AVCHD file to a DVD disc, which then can be played back in high definition on most Blu-ray players. Most other software doesn't allow AVCHD export, making it difficult and often costly to create high definition discs. 

How easy is it to use Adobe Premiere Elements 10?

Thanks to the large number of features and tools, Premiere Elements 10 is complex. However, small icons with little direct explanation makes it even harder to master especially if you've not used video-editing software before. Also, there are few step-by-step instructions directly available from the editing screen. All-in-all it's pretty easy to feel lost pretty quickly.

If you do want to persevere and take advantage of all the features, the Help menu is a good place to start - in particular the Getting Started section. This contains links to a Learn Adobe Premiere Elements 9 website, out of date as it is referring to the previous version of the software, but nevertheless still mostly relevant to this version. There are many tutorials and some instructional videos on offer. We expect Adobe will update this website and hopefully add some more content here in the near future.

How much does Adobe Premiere Elements 10 cost?

Adobe Premiere Elements 10 costs £79, or £65 if you are upgrading from an earlier version. You can buy it alongside Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, a photo-editing package, for £119 or £98 as an upgrade from earlier versions. We look forward to putting it through its paces in our full lab test.

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