New to this version is InstantMovie, which edits your footage for you automatically. Ulead VideoStudio and CyberLink PowerDirector have offered this kind of widget for some time now, and Flip even offers a simplistic equivalent in the software integrated into its pocket YouTube-oriented camcorders. The Adobe iteration is a little more sophisticated. You can call up the process right from the opening splash screen, or you can run it from inside the application once it has loaded. The wizard then guides you through selecting clips and choosing one of the 20 available Themes, before setting the system rolling.
The automatic editing isn't just a random process. The clips are analysed for various factors, which then dictate how they are cut and ordered. This can be quite a time-consuming process, but graphics, transitions, titles and music are all added according to the chosen theme. If you're not happy with the results, you can change settings for Theme Content, Music, Duration, and Sequence. As a quick and dirty cut, or if you really haven't got the patience to edit yourself, InstantMovie could be handy. But the end results are naturally rather clichéd - and a bit of a waste of Premiere Elements power and depth.
Fortunately, the analysis engine isn't only restricted to InstantMovie. You can also call it up with the SmartTagging wizard. This will then automatically rank your clips according to qualities such as focus and stability of camerawork. However, with everyday handheld footage we found it marked most shots down, making it less useful than it could be. The Themes, which were introduced in Premiere Elements 4, can also be used separately, as matched titling and DVD menu Themes.
The novice user is also the focus of another of Premiere Elements 7's new additions, Videomerge. This is a simplification of the chromakeying tools which already existed. Instead of having to tweak the key for best results, Videomerge can simply be dragged onto a clip. It then automatically detects and removes the background. We found it could be quite effective, although the original tools were still best for really clean, professional-looking keys.