Premiere Elements 13
Mid-level video-editing just became even easier
When you’re done with iMovie, it’s time for Premiere Elements. It’s a fantastic editing package that packs more than enough power for any home project, as well as its guidance easing on the learning curve. It’s also half the price of its next biggest rival, Final Cut Pro. For professional/prosumer editing, Final Cut is worth paying extra for its added precision in editing and features (such as the compound clips that allow for more flexibility than Elements’ single timeline). For cutting together something like a holiday video, birthday memories, or even a web show for YouTube and the like, though, Elements is plenty.
Elements 13 isn’t a huge update on 12; the biggest under-the-hood change being somewhat belated support for Retina displays. As far as editing features go, the two biggest additions are aimed at new users and those who want to get a movie made without too much in the way of direct editing or squinting at clips.
Video Story is a new wizard that offers templates such as Birthday, Wedding and Graduation. Each is a storyboard broken into pre-defined chapters such as ‘Dressing Up’ or ‘Getting The Degree’, with the option to add extras or delete any that you don’t have footage for. Some take a single clip, others multiple (with Auto-Analyzer on hand to break up longer footage), with the Video Story combining and mixing them up with music, fades and looks. It’s then are generic, but you can’t argue with the speed. A more useful addition is the Favorite Moments edit. This takes in an extended clip that you want to extract elements from, but instead of making multiple in-and-out cuts, it makes it as easy as scanning to the part you want, clicking a Mark button and adjusting the length of each selection before exporting just
These features on top of an already excellent line-up make version 13 a great choice for new users
possible to add captions and narration over the top. You can edit the default captions, and either publish the whole thing there or send it to the Timeline. The results those bits to the timeline as a combined clip or a individual ones.
These two features (on top of an already excellent line-up) make 13 a great choice for new users. Other improvements are thin on the ground; it’s hard to say they’re £50 worth of upgrade if you have version 12. There are new Guided Edits for putting video behind a title, and applying primitive effects masks, though the latter is let down by only allowing a hard-edged rectangular mask rather than feathering and circles. These aren’t bad as one-time tutorials. After that, Elements 13 runs out of steam, with a few updates to features like the Shake Stabiliser, but nothing that’s going to make a big difference. A pity, but there’s always the next version… Richard Cobbett
While the movie will look like a template, Video Story is great if you want results without work.
It’d be good to see a more complex timeline, but that’s one of Premiere Pro’s big features.