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Upgrade, or wait for the next version? It’s the eternal question, but video editors working with older versions of Premiere Elements might consider taking the plunge this time around.
Despite the name, Adobe Premiere Elements 12 bears little resemblance to the company’s Premiere Pro software and has more in common with iMovie, Apple’s consumer-level video editor.
Guided Edits is now more of a mini film school, teaching users about the new tools and skills they’re working on.
While Apple has let the grass grow around its feet with iMovie, Adobe is tweaking Premiere Elements for the fifth year in a row. For 2013, there aren’t many entirely new features, but Adobe focused on a handful of welcome enhancements. The new features focus on two areas: built-in video tutorials that teach the moviemaking process while in Guided Edit mode, and the ability to download, upload, and share videos from the subscription-based Adobe Revel service.
Video is a relatively new addition to Adobe Revel, which was previously used only for unlimited cloud photo storage at a rock-bottom price of $59.99 per year (or $5.99 per month). The good news is the price and unlimited storage remain, and free users can still upload 50 photos or movies each month.
Unfortunately, Revel’s video capabilities have yet to be fully realized. Videos can be added directly from the editor, but require downloading full-resolution video files first before Elements can use them. Revel already maintains a 720p MP4 thumbnail preview of each movie; we’d prefer to see a way to speed up the process using these smaller files for a rough edit and then swap for high-resolution files during export.
Adobe Revel is quite handy when it comes to uploading and sharing finished videos, which can then be viewed from any web browser or the free iOS app. Sadly, the official Mac application doesn’t yet support video, but content can now be published and shared straight from Premiere Editor.
The built-in Guided Edit tutorials are a much better fit: distinctive white and yellow boxes and on-screen arrows guide users step-by-step through each process, adding an educational layer for those who want to learn the nuts and bolts of editing. They’re also a great way to get up to speed quickly—especially handy in an age where printed manuals no longer exist.
We were quite impressed with how simple it is to add motion-tracking to any video. Make a selection, choose a graphic or text and, like magic, the software will follow that object’s every move. The end results aren’t quite as smooth as those from pro applications like After Effects, but it’s plenty usable for all but the most discerning prosumers.
Adobe has also spruced up the overall UI to make everything easier to find, organize, and use. Premiere Elements 12 also piles on additional effects and styles, including a handful of new FilmLooks (our favorite is Cross Process), along with more than 50 musical scores and 250 sound effects for adding a finishing touch.
The bottom line. Premiere Elements 12 isn’t a must-have upgrade, but it’s well worth the investment in a bundle with Photoshop Elements 12, especially for Adobe Revel subscribers looking to get extra value out of their unlimited cloud storage.
Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 64-bit multicore Intel processor
Step-by-step tutorials help teach moviemaking basics. Adobe Revel integration makes it easy to publish and share videos to the cloud. Great value when purchased in a bundle with Photoshop Elements 12.
Fewer new features than earlier versions. Adobe Revel integration isn’t fully realized. Easy motion tracking, but nowhere near perfect results. Adobe Revel requires subscription for more than 50 uploads per month.