Adobe has made a considerable success of repackaging its flagship brands for lower-end consumer usage. Each year, new versions of Premiere and Photoshop Elements are released, chipping away at the difficult task of combining ease of use for the beginner with power for the more experienced user. So now we reach version 8 of both applications (since Premiere Elements skipped a few to reach version 7 at the last iteration), and there is even greater emphasis on the new user.
Premiere Elements 8
The first new feature of Premiere Elements 8 appears at the initial splash screen. Instead of just being able to start a new project or open an existing one, there's an Organize option as well. This leads to the asset management tool which was already part of Photoshop Elements. Now it is taking the first steps towards providing similar facilities for Premiere Elements.
However, the main functions are still geared towards still images. You can perform basic photo retouching and put together simple montages. Although you can import video and perform a limited range of actions upon it, these are few and far between compared to the options for photos. The functions are divided into four categories with a tab for each - Organize, Fix, Create and Share.
but the video options essentially just load the main app.
The first of these is the most fully featured for video content. You can tag your clips and group them into catalogues, using keywords. However, the most significant feature here is the Auto-Analyzer. This processes your clips and attempts to allot tags automatically. These are fairly general, and refer to the potential quality of the clips, including whether there is camera shake and how loud the audio track is. Most surprisingly, the Auto-Analyzer will attempt to figure out what kind of shot each clip is - long, medium or close up. In general, the tagging results are not that relevant when editing the clips yourself, but they are used by other Premiere Elements 8 functions we will be explaining shortly.
The remaining Organizer tabs offer less for video. Fix provides facilities for correcting colour, levels, red eye and other possible problem areas, but only with still images. Similarly, Auto Smart Fix only works with photos. The Create tab is also aimed solely at still images, to make various combinations such as collages, calendars and greetings cards. There are some video-related options under the Share tab, but these merely load your clips into Premiere Elements. The options include sending your footage to a mobile device or the Internet, both of which would have been useful as standalone functions.