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Software Review: Adobe Premiere Elements 8.0

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Adobe Premiere Elements 8.0 is the latest release of the consumer-based video editing program from Adobe. It is a scaled down version of their professional level package Premiere Pro and it can be purchased as a bundle with Adobe Photoshop Elements for a significant savings.

Like Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements is a lot easier to work with and a lot more manageable than its big brother Premier Pro and while it has fewer features than Pro, the features it does have are more geared toward and will  better serve the general consumer.

Premiere Elements 8What do you need to run Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.0?

• 2 GHz or faster Processor with SSE2 support.
• 3 GHz processor for HDV or Blu-ray.
• Dual-core processor for AVCHD.
• Windows XP with SP2 or SP3, Windows Media Center, Vista, or Windows 7
• 1 GB Ram (2 GB for HD editing)
• 4.5 GB hard drive space
• Color monitor with 16-bit color video card
• 1024 x 768 monitor resolution at 96 DPI
• DirectX 9 compatible display driver
• DVD-ROM drive (or other compatible drives for Blu-ray, etc.)
• Internet Explorer 6-8 or Firefox 1.5-3.x.
• DV/i.LINK/FireWire/IEEE 1394 interface to connect a Digital 8 DV or HDV camcorder, or a USB 2.0 interface to connect a DV-via-USB compatible DV camcorder (other video devices supported via the Media Downloader)

So what is new with this version of Adobe Premiere Elements?

Automatic Syncing lets you maintain the same video clips and photos across multiple computers. Media added or edited on one computer will be available and synched to all of the other computers that are running the organizer.

Full screen previews will give you the big picture as well as the full effect of your video clips and photos from within the Organizer. Now you can see your movies in full view giving you a clearer version of the action.

SmartFix gives you the ability to fix imperfections much more quickly. SmartFix automatically remedies shaky footage and color as well as lighting problems giving your clips the best look possible.

Smart Trim will automatically cut bad footage, or it can recommend the cuts and then let you make the final decision. This gives you the ability to choose what to get rid of from your least interesting or low quality footage so as to enhance your scenes or trim to a needed duration.

SmartMix balances the audio elements of your video to give you more professional sound quality. You can also add music and sound effect without overpowering your dialog or background.

Premiere Elements 8Motion tracking graphics will give you the ability to add thought bubbles, goofy hats, or anything else that you need to enhance your scenes. You can use this new feature to add graphics, text, and effects that automatically move with the subjects in your scene.

New Artwork library gives you an all new ability to add additional sparkle to your scenes that includes fun frames, objects, and animations.

Movie Magic can be added with a bit of video pop exactly where you want it. You can now add motion blur, cartoon effects, and even apply a video effect to a specific scene and keep it locked on the action with motion tracking.

Windows 7 support gives you 100% compatibility and is logo certified, letting you take full advantage of this new platform.

What is improved with this version of Adobe Photoshop Elements?

Media management has become much more powerful by bringing all of your video clips and photos together in a much more full-featured organizer that makes it easier to find, view, and backup your media with online backup and 2GB of free storage.

Auto-Analyzer uses a patent-pending intelligent content analysis process to power this automation so you can easily find your most interesting, highest quality footage and photos. This new technology automatically analyzes your media on import and applies quality and interest tags that are called Smart Tags, saving you time when you are trying to the media you need.

Instant Movie uses creative techniques from Hollywood directors, to automatically edit your best clips together with coordinated music, titles, effects, and transitions from your choice of movie theme. New customization options enable you to get just the results you envision. All-new themes are included as well.

Premiere Elements 8 New effects will help you impress your viewers. You can play around with different visual effects to find the look you want. Browse effects by visual thumbnails, drag and drop to apply them to your video, and then modify them using easy slider controls. New effects include Duochrome, Dreamglow, and Film Look

New Themes allow you to easily add cinematic flair using movie themes that offer coordinated music, transitions, effects, disc menus, and title screens.

Transitions will add visual interest by letting you move more creatively from one scene to the next with hundreds of TV-style transitions. New transitions include Color Melt, Oil, and Mosaic. You can even create your own transitions.

New tutorials will give you new inspiration to help bring your ideas to life by showing you how to explore the creative possibilities.

The biggest change in Adobe Premiere Elements is with the Elements Organizer and the fact that it is a separate application that can manage assets across the range of the Elements product line. To me this is much the same as Adobe Bridge does for the professional level products.

Premiere Elements 8There are also a number of enhancements that help the Organizer help you with the keyword tags, star ratings, the analyzer, and people recognition for photos that may be used within your videos. By organizing and tagging your assets you can use this to enhance your ability to use the new Instant Movie, Smart Trim, SmartMix, and Motion Tracking abilities in Adobe Premiere Elements.

You do need to keep in mind the requirements to run Adobe Premiere Elements. Some of the automated features can require some significant processing time so I would err on the side of the recommended specs or better. That said, the new features really make it a tempting upgrade and one I can recommend to the consumer who wants to challenge new heights in home video production.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • JEFF J

    Adobe Photoshop has always been the standard in the industry, so I was taken aback when I bought Premiere Elements.
    It’s a total flop. When it does start, it has a nice layout and nice features, but there is the small detail that it NEVER STARTS. It freezes at the welcome screen, and only starts in one in twenty tries. I must add that I installed it on a new PC. Adobe should issue a recall if they want to preserve their good name, rather than become the BP of the software industry. Read the comments on their own site.