There are a couple of new effects and filters. You can add a plethora of cartoon effects using the NewBlue Cartoonr Plus Elements filter. This is essentially an artwork filter that converts your video to a hand-drawn 2D cartoon look. There is a host of presets, and options to vary the parameters of line and colouring in, to give precisely the look you want. It’s a fun filter, and great if you want to create a stylised video or sequence. However, like every elaborate effect, you won’t use it every day.
Another new addition from the NewBlue stable is NewBlue Cleaner, which attempts to fix problem audio automatically. There are separate controls for reducing general noise and specifically for hum. We tried clips with considerable hiss and others with electrical RF hum, and the results were reasonable. However, NewBlue Cleaner doesn’t go so far as to allow you to sample an area of noise and subtract it from the remaining clip, which is the most effective system. You will still need a standalone audio editing tool for fixing problems with this level of sophistication.
If you’re a Mac user of Elements, you have another new addition as well. Videomerge, which was already available on the PC version of Elements since version 7, is now included on the Mac version as well. This is a rather powerful assisted compositing tool, using Adobe’s extremely capable technology in this area. The Mac inclusion signifies parity at last between Elements on the two platforms, with exactly the same features available on both.
The remaining improvements are focused on the output stage. It’s now possible to create Web DVDs directly from Premiere Elements. This builds a webpage and associated media subfolders that mimic an interactive DVD menu but are delivered via the Internet. You can copy the main HTML file and media to your site, and link to the Web DVD from your homepage. In our testing, this didn’t appear to require any special video streaming capabilities on the webserver. We placed the Web DVD assets on standard webspace and it played just fine, albeit a little jerky in places, and interaction functioned like a DVD.
As with Photoshop Elements 9, it’s now possible to share videos and photos on Facebook, although not directly from the main app. Instead, this operates through the Elements Organizer. You can upload single videos or whole albums of photos, with the ability to provide the necessary titles and descriptions. Facebook is fast becoming the key place to share everyday social snaps and clips, particularly as more and more camera-equipped mobile phones are now able to upload to Facebook directly. So it’s good to see Adobe keeping up with this trend.
Premiere Elements has been our consumer-grade editing software of choice for some time now, although competition has been stiff from Corel’s VideoStudio and, increasingly, CyberLink’s PowerDirector. For once, however, we have to say that current users of Premiere Elements 8 are more than likely not to find enough here worth the upgrade.
Whereas the ninth incarnation of Photoshop Elements also has little change to its underlying engine, at least it incorporates some significant new filters. The additions to Premiere Elements 9 are less groundbreaking. Nevertheless, if you’re a newcomer to video editing, or using a version of Premiere Elements earlier than 8, this is still the most fully featured consumer-grade video editing app out there. It’s just that we’d have liked to see more here to tempt existing users to remain up to date.