Adobe’s professional-grade video editing app, Premiere Pro, recently went exclusively 64-bit with its CS5 version. This update incorporated the most powerful multi-format real-time video editing engine currently on the market. But the time is not quite ripe for an exclusively 64-bit app at the consumer end of the video editing market. So the latest ninth incarnation of Adobe’s Premiere Elements has nothing quite so revolutionary to boast about. However, like Photoshop Elements 9, there are some sundry improvements, which Adobe hopes will be enough to tempt you.
To start with, you can now import footage from a Flip camcorder or a DSLR as easily as you could with AVCHD devices beforehand. The Get Media import applet already available for other file-based camcorder formats now includes these types of camera. You can open a Flip or DSLR’s storage and browse the contents, including the ability to play clips in thumbnail form to help you find the one you’re looking for. Then simply select the clips you want, choose a destination folder, and click Get Media to bring the clips in.
These will automatically be included in your Premiere Elements project, but also added to the Organizer catalogue, so you can tag them and analyse them using its management features. The Organizer is now available in the Mac version as well as the PC version, where it has been included since version 8. Premiere Elements is also tolerant if you import footage into a project with the wrong settings for the footage, automatically prompting you to switch if it detects any major differences.
InstantMovie’s smart automatic editing has been enhanced, with the inclusion of extra themes. These range from Fun in the Sun to Crazy Cartoons and Pets. The themes bundle music, transitions, titles and effects, and apply these automatically to your chosen set of clips to create a finished movie. However, there’s no difference to the functionality of InstantMovie in Elements 9 compared to version 8 – you just have more template options. So this remains a useful tool if you're in a hurry or new to editing, but it can't work miracles.
There are few changes to the underlying software engine. Premiere Elements doesn’t use the 64-bit Mercury Playback Engine of the latest Premiere Pro, although Adobe has allegedly incorporated some of the CS5 technologies to provide optimised HD editing. In practice, we found Premiere Elements 9 a little more fluid than the previous version with AVCHD and HDV-encoded clips, but the performance difference isn’t the sea-change we experienced from the move to Premiere Pro CS5 from CS4.