Review of Adobe Premiere Elements 4

Adobe Premiere Elements 4 is video editing software. The first question that came to my mind was, "Can I use it since I don't have a camcorder?" The answer was a qualified "Yes." I'll explain what I mean. You can use it along with Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 in creating slide shows and working with projects that have movement. You can use it if you have motion capture cards and download videos from the web. However, the latter has some problems. Most videos download in FLV format. This format is not recognized by Premiere Elements. It must be converted. There are converters available that are under $25. If I had searched long enough, I might have found some that were free. The ones I tried did work. Also, if you download videos to manipulate, you must be aware of copyright laws. You can use animations that you have created in other programs. There are a lot of formats the program will support.

This is my first time using any video editing product. I do not do video but thought I would try to see how easily I could follow the directions since I was reviewing Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 as part of the combination bundle. Since I am more geared toward still work, I am going to review this from the bundle perspective. In other words, how can I use it to also augment Photoshop Elements 6 and learn, in addition, how to do videos?

I was happy to see that the Welcome screen contained a tutorial, only to find out that I could not access it from the Welcome screen. However, a tutorial is in the Adobe Premiere Elements Help - a User Guide in the Documentation section of the Installation DVD of Adobe Premiere Elements 4. This document is much longer than the printed User Guide and quite complete.

The tutorial was straight forward and introduced me to creating a small video using clips with sound, transitions, and titles. The sample files were in the installation. I, then, exported it to the Windows Media Player. What I liked about the way the transitions were presented was that as I held my mouse over each one, I saw how it would work. I could have, also, used themes in the video. Premiere Elements 4 comes with a number of themes, transitions, effects, templates, etc. which you can choose to install or not.

Premiere Elements 4 and Photoshop Elements 6 have a similar looking workspace interface.

It was easy for me as a novice to find my way around the workspace. For the tutorial, I only used the EDIT and SHARE tabs since the MENU tab was for creating menus for longer movies. What I found that was nice is that I could preview all the templates from the MENU tab.

In the screen capture above, near the bottom of the frame, you will see the Sceneline. You can, also, show the Timeline which will show the individual frames.

At the top of the Timeline is a slider for making the frames smaller or larger; then, there are the following buttons: Detect Beats, Mix Audio, Add Narration, Add menu Marker, and Add Marker. These also appear in Sceneline mode. As with the Sceneline, when I put my mouse on a frame, it will appear in the large window above.

I, then, decided to try to see how Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Adobe Premiere Elements 4 interacted together in creating a slide show because documentation stated that any media in the Premiere Elements Organizer was also available for Photoshop Elements. I output the slide show from Photoshop Elements to Premiere Elements. When I did that, the latter opened. Once in the latter, I could treat the slide show as if it were a video and use the same elements I would use for a video such as themes, effects, transitions, etc. I could, then, share it as if it were a movie.

Next, I found that I could easily insert frames in Premiere Elements through the "Freeze Frame" command. Here, one, freezes a frame and sends it to Photoshop Elements for editing. Then, it is saved in Photoshop Elements, and the frame is inserted back into the timeline. The edited frame can be used as a still frame for other purposes.

I could, also, use the freeze frame and insertion to modify an animation I had created myself on the computer. This was especially useful for me when I lost the original files of an animation and only had the exported format to work with, in this case SWF (Flash).

With this next SWF file, I added a bird to the animation. When it first was inserted back into the movie, there were too many frames, so I was able to group the frames into scenes and, then, delete groups of scenes. I could have added a number of more elements and controlled the number of frames.

I think you should be getting the idea that even without a camcorder or video camera, you can do a lot with Adobe Premiere Elements especially if you buy it along with Adobe Photoshop Elements in the specially priced bundle.

As you can see, I was not equipped to test a lot of the features in this program. I found that I could do everything that I tried to do except when I tried to access the Help menu. I could not access the Help at all. The only help I could get were 6 online documents. Since I thought this might be system related, I tried this on two Windows operating systems - Windows XP Pro and Windows Vista Ultimate. Instead I used the PDF of the User Guide which I found very satisfactory.

The requirements for Windows are:

For a list of all the features of Adobe Premiere Elements 4, click here.

You can download a free trial of Adobe Premiere Elements 4

The bundle retails for US $149.99 with an upgrade of $119.99. On the full version box is a $30.00 rebate good until October 31, 2008. You can also get the bundle for less at online discount stores also with the rebate.

Adobe Premiere Elements 4 retails US for $99.99 with a box rebate of US $20.00 good until October 31, 2008. The upgrade price US is $79.99. It can be gotten for less at online discount stores.

You can, also, see a review of Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.