We have been reprimanding Adobe for some time about the lack of support for AVCHD in Premiere Elements. The majority of its competitors have been able to edit the format for a couple of versions now. But, despite AVCHD having virtually taken over as the high definition consumer camcorder recording format, Adobe dragged its feet.
Until now. At long last, the new version of Adobe Premiere Elements supports AVCHD, and jumps courageously from Version 4 to 7 to mark the occasion. Crack out the champagne, have a lie down on the nearest couch so your heart doesn't give out, because it doesn't just support AVCHD - it also does a very good job. In fact, we'd even go so far to say that it's the smoothest implementation we've yet seen.
Despite the extra processing required by H.264-based footage such as AVCHD compared to MPEG-2, Premiere Elements is surprisingly responsive, even when you have added an effect or two. We would recommend a dual-core system running at over 2GHz for this, however.
Since we have seen examples of virtually every camcorder released from most manufacturers in the last year here at TrustedReviews, we were able to try a comprehensive set of sample footage. Premiere Elements 7 imported AVCHD from Sony, Canon, Panasonic and JVC - including Full HD. It also handled JVC's MPEG-2-based TOD files without a hitch. Even Samsung's high definition and standard definition MP4s weren't an issue. The only camcorder footage we tried which wasn't properly recognised was from the YouTube-oriented Creative Vado and Flip Video Ultra.
So Premiere Elements 7 can now edit footage from virtually every camcorder currently available, removing our biggest criticism of the previous version. But it also has a number of other additions, mostly aimed at improving its usability for newcomers. The first version of Premiere Elements was really quite scary. It was essentially a cut-down version of Premiere Pro with tab-based editing stages cobbled on as a nod to the novice. The software has come along way since then, with each iteration adding a few more concessions to ease of use.