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Adobe Premiere Elements 10 review

Ben Pitt
20 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
79
inc VAT

Much-improved preview performance and colour correction, but it's not enough to overlook the lethargic controls and numerous annoying niggles

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It was once the undisputed champion of consumer video editing, but Adobe Premiere Elements has spent the last few years in the wilderness. It doesn't matter how many snazzy effects and time-saving features an editor has if its basic ability to edit video is compromised by stumbling previews and sluggish controls.

With version 10, Premiere Elements is now available as a 64-bit application, and preview performance is massively improved. Version nine could only manage a couple of simultaneous AVCHD streams or just one Canon EOS 550D clip on our Core i7 test PC. Any more and the preview would grind to a virtual halt, making further editing all but impossible. Version 10 running on Windows 7 64-bit on the same hardware played seven simultaneous AVCHD and four EOS 600D streams – a massive improvement that brings it up to the standards of the best consumer editing packages. This bodes well for those who want to produce complex title sequences and animations – something that Premiere Elements excels at with its sophisticated Bézier keyframe tools – as well as those editing HD footage on slower PCs.

Premiere Elements pan and zoom

Pan and Zoom adds zip to your slideshows, but you'll need to tweak it to get a pleasing effect

It's not all good news, though. Navigating the timeline and the various tabbed panels was often painfully slow, even on our fast test PC. Even with a single video stream, playback wasn't as smooth as it should be, with uneven playback of frames giving slightly clumsy motion in previews. At least Adobe has addressed a bug whereby 1080i footage was not de-interlaced when exported as 720p, which lead to ugly sawtooth-shaped interference. It took long enough, though – we first reported this issue in our review of version 8.

As usual, Adobe's efforts seem to be largely focused on ancillary features. There are new themes for the InstantMovie function and greater control over its output, but it still resulted in clumsy edits that bore little relation to the source footage. The themes themselves are attractive but they're quite specific, with names such as Doggie Days and Outdoor Wedding – more generic themes would be preferable.

A new Pan and Zoom Tool detects faces in photos and lives up to its name as it moves from face to face. It's a nice enough idea but the execution was poor. Face detection brought up lots of false positives – in our first test-run, it chose to zoom straight in on a teenage girl's chest. It then moved on to faces, but zoomed in so tightly that photos looked blocky, while the linear paths and abrupt starts and stops resembled a Crimewatch report rather than a photo slideshow.

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