Yet another tool aimed at speeding up production is the inclusion of SmartSound Quicktracks, which was previously available separately but is now bundled. Unlike the very novice-oriented features discussed so far, this could also be useful for the more seasoned editor. Quicktracks is a loop-based music creation system, which produces soundtracks that are entirely royalty-free, based on a set of simple parameters. Adobe includes 14 music libraries, with numerous variations of each theme. So there are plenty of options available. This is fortunate, as although many of the mixes are really rather respectable, some would be embarrassing even on the cheesiest wedding video.
One thing we were surprised not to see in this version, however, was surround sound mixing. Pinnacle Studio has had this facility for years, and does a very good job. We're also seeing a few camcorders with the ability to record surround sound, such as Panasonic's SD100 and SD9. Premiere Elements can import this footage and preserve the 5.1 audio, but it still can't remix it or create a surround soundtrack from scratch.
The AVCHD camcorder has grown to dominate the consumer market, and even started to appear in professional formats, primarily from Panasonic. So reluctantly we have found it harder and harder to recommend Premiere Elements as the video editing software of choice because of its lack of AVCHD support, despite its greater power and flexibility compared to the competition.
However, with Premiere Elements 7, Adobe has redressed the balance. The other new features are mostly aimed at the new user, with precious little for more serious video makers. But the software was already full of enthusiast options. Now that it works with virtually all the latest camcorders as well, we can again return Premiere Elements its crown. It's easier to use than ever before, but more importantly, it remains the most feature-rich PC video editing app outside the professional market.