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Adobe Premiere Elements review 2018: Perfect for first-time video editors

James Morris
29 May 2018
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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
75
inc VAT

Adobe Premiere Elements 2018 provides yet more tools to help newcomers edit and create sophisticated videos

Pros 
Four new guided edits, including social media and action cam footage
Animated GIF export
Project-specific online presets
Cons 
Large file sizes
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In this, the 16th iteration of Premiere Elements, Adobe majors on enhancements to its “guided edit” tools – think of these as interactive tutorials where you work with your own footage. There are four new guided edits, with the most notable aimed at action camera fans and their wide-angle footage. 

One of this tool’s key features, apart from snipping out what it thinks are the best bits, is correcting the distortion associated with a wide-angle lens. Action cam footage also tends to be shot with the camera in motion, so the guided edit suggests you use the image stabilisation tool to take the shakes out of the footage (although it doesn’t guide you through this directly).

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Adobe also focuses on the rise of social media. Premiere Elements has supported outputs in social-media-friendly formats for a while, but the new social media guided edit helps you add titles with motion animation to your clips. It can add subtitles, too, which is all the rage now that so many people watch videos with the sound turned down.

The other two guided edits aim to make advanced effects easier to create. These sit inside the Fun Edits section. The “freeze frame with motion title” would be great for an opening sequence where you introduce individuals or locations, stopping the action for a title each time one of them appears in the frame. The other one offers a “bounce back effect”, where you take a short motion clip, speed it up, then add a reversed copy afterwards. 

READ NEXT: Adobe Premiere Pro CC review

You’re then prompted to output your bounce as an Animated GIF, which is a new and useful option. It could have been even better as a guided edit on its own, although Adobe does recommend an optimum length (five to ten seconds) for GIFs. The resolution options are 852 x 480 or 320 x 240, but beware of exploding file sizes: I found that a five-second GIF at the top resolution was over 12MB, which is a bit big to share with friends.

There are now 18 guided edits available. They’re not perfect idiot-proof tools – sometimes you have to try again when things don’t quite work – but are one of Premiere Elements’ key advantages over rivals. Even consumer-grade video editing software has many hidden capabilities that the novice may not find, and guided editing helps discover more of the software’s hidden power.

The other notable new features include Candid Moments and Smart Trim tools. The former scans a video clip for frames containing faces that you can then export to the desktop as still images, or create a slideshow from. It isn’t perfect. The choices it makes seem random, and you may find stills you like better by extracting them manually. But if you shoot hours of family video footage and want to grab a few stills to share quickly, it has some value.

The Smart Trim tool is like the “magic editing” facilities found elsewhere, scanning a clip for the best sections. You can set it to look for sequences including people, action, or a mixture, and extract more or less of the original footage. Like the Candid Moments tool, Smart Trim is something for those who are short of time or don’t like video editing much – they just want to get it done. If you’re in either of these categories, you may find Smart Trim extremely useful.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2018 review: Verdict

Strangely, considering how well the professional-grade Adobe Premiere Pro CC now supports 360-degree video, Elements doesn’t have any support for this at all. Sure, 360 is still a niche, but Elements’ competitors support it. Still, if you aren’t planning to venture into VR anytime soon, all the other handy features in Adobe Premiere Elements 2018 make it a great choice if you’re new to video editing.