Adobe Premiere Elements 10 review
A valuable update, particularly for 64-bit systems, but this isn't the polished product we expect from Adobe
Review Date: 20 Sep 2011
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
Price when reviewed: £66 (£79 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
With Adobe's name on the box, Premiere Elements might seem like a safe choice for low-cost video editing. It's certainly not short of power, but we found version 9 to be compromised by unresponsive controls and uncompetitive preview performance.
Things are looking up in version 10. It's now available as a 64-bit application, and preview performance is much improved. We tested it in Windows 7 64-bit on a Core i7-870 PC with 8GB RAM, and it managed smooth previews of seven simultaneous AVCHD streams – up from two streams in version 9.
Footage from a Canon EOS 600D is more demanding because of its high 45Mbits/sec bit rate, but it still managed four simultaneous streams. When the frame rate began to drop, it happened dramatically, but the Render Work Area command let us cache complex sections of the timeline so we could keep working.
We're not so happy with the way Premiere Elements 10 puts frames up on the monitor. Even with only a single AVCHD stream, playback seemed a little jerky. We shot a 120fps slow-motion video of the monitor and discovered that it was dropping around 15% of frames.
The remaining ones were shown unevenly, with some appearing for four times as long as others. The problem persisted for interlaced and progressive scan footage at various frame rates, and even for standard-definition footage. Ultimately, it's not a disaster, but this isn't the standard we expect from Adobe.
It's also worth noting that the default Automatic preview mode uses a crude method of resizing footage to fit the preview window, which can result in a slightly blocky appearance and moiré interference. Switching from Automatic to Highest removed this problem, but also halved the number of simultaneous streams that would play on our test PC.
Then again, the option to trade preview detail against smoothness is a useful trick that Adobe could make more of. It flirted briefly with low-resolution proxy files in version 8, and it's a feature we wish it would re-implement.
Sadly, the responsiveness of the timeline controls and the interface in general remain poor. Simple actions such as zooming into the timeline, moving a clip or switching between the various tabbed panels were annoyingly slow, even with simple projects on our powerful PC. More complex projects containing lots of HD clips were almost unworkable.
After jumping to a point on the timeline and hitting the spacebar to commence playback, we sometimes had to wait for five seconds before the preview window sprang to life. More patient users may be able to bear it, but compared to the lightning-fast Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11, it's a painful experience.
For me, the single factor to upgrade to Premiere Elements 9 last year was the much touted "interactive web DVD viewing experience" for family & friends. I intended to share memories of my brother's wedding widely without the need to burn & post endless discs. Alas, I only discovered belatedly that not all features work in all countries and the UK was exempt from this service. Grrr. Is there any news on this feature in this release?
By Mark_K on 20 Sep 2011
It's enough problem to keep my money in my pocket, boot into Pardus, and use KDEnlive.....
By robredz on 22 Sep 2011
No it cannot topple Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 11, why can't Adobe ever get it right, and I used to use Premiere Pro
By BobDix on 22 Sep 2011
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