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Adobe Premiere Elements review

Create video quickly and simply using Adobe Premiere Elements' in-built guided walkthrough.

Laptop running Adobe Premiere Elements
(Image: © Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Our Verdict

Premiere Elements contains plenty of useful editing tools that are easy to use and visually helpful, but it does bloat out with cheesy animations and an unnecessarily large library of transitions

For

  • One-time purchase
  • Cross-platform support
  • Great interactive guide

Against

  • Kitsch features
  • Bloated library of tools

Adobe Premiere Elements is an all-in-one video editing and content creation software. It's been designed for users that prefer visual user interfaces and simple layouts. Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, you’ll most likely prefer this video editor if you like a one-time purchase and want hands-on media creation support from within the software. 

It's an impressive piece of kit, so much so it maintains a firm spot in our round up of the best video editing software. To keep things simple, Premiere Elements has three editing modes: Quick mode; Guide mode; and Expert mode. Quick mode keeps things incredibly simple by providing very limited options for the most basic tasks, whereas Guide mode actually walks you through Expert mode with handy mini pop-up windows that explain how to undertake a range of tasks you might want to complete. Expert mode is more complicated and probably the mode you’ll most use once you’ve got to grips with the software layout and video editing workflow.

Powered by Adobe Sensei AI, Premiere Elements also links to Organizer and Photo Editor which makes it a one-stop shop for file management and content creation. It uses smart organisation techniques which categorises media with keywords, making it easy to search for subjects such as “cat” or “forest” and return appropriate results with that content. It also uses the AI for automatic face recognition, meaning family members and friends can be tagged up for quick access.

Premiere Elements is also powered with intelligent editing features and allows presets to analyse footage for action, people, or a mix of the two - this helps create automatically generated content based on your selections. Auto Creation includes styles such as video collages, and video slideshows. Upon first launch it contains a splash screen with a search box at the top that says “What would you like to do today” in order to provide maximum support for users that want to make a quick start.

Quick Mode

Premiere Elements Quick mode opens on a simple window with two options: Trim a video clip; and Combine photos and videos to create a single movie. For most users who are trying to standardise content these two options should be enough to generate a quick clip ready for sharing online. Editing tools for media content, including lighting, colour, and white balance, are kept simple with thumbnail pictures demonstrating what happens, instead of flooding the window with numbers and graphs.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Preset trim

Adobe Premiere Elements uses Adobe Sensei AI to search video to select suitable portions of video, depending on the preset chosen. The three presets are: People, Action, and a mix of the two. It scours the scene for faces, groups of faces, activity, in focus subjects, and interesting lighting. Alternatively, you can mark sections yourself manually using the Mark Manually button in the lower left corner of the window.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Quick mode - video and photos together

This option in Quick mode makes creating your own unique video super easy. The timeline at the bottom of the window prompts the user to add video or photo content with a big “Add title or media” button and it’s then easy to navigate to files either using Elements organizer (if you have it setup) or by navigating via Files and Folders on the computer. Add music using a button below the timeline and a whole library of music and sound effects appears to the right of the window, alongside it are a set of tools for editing content.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Generate pans and zooms

Never have pans, zooms and slides been easier from within Premiere Elements. In the Pan and Zoom tool, for example, it’s possible to resize a selection of the video or photo content and generate movement around the scene by adding new key frames and moving the selection from within the window above. When viewed outside of this editing window the content now pans and zooms through the given frame, giving the illusion of movement upon recording. This is great for upgrading static shots with more dynamic moving footage.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Guided Mode

Guided mode is the go-between for those wanting to take on more advanced editing techniques, but aren’t yet fully confident either in how to use the software, or their abilities to complete the task. The Guided mode window brings up several options for basic jobs, and once clicked, transports you into Expert mode with guided mini windows that show you how to complete the task. From here you can add fun edits, shape audio, and add transitions. Overall, there are 23 step-by-step guided edits, including instructions on how to make speed changes (to add slow motion, or speed up footage) and demonstrations of how to change the aspect ratio on content, generate single selective colour, and use basic graphics with animation.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Expert mode

This mode is more visually similar to Adobe Premiere Pro, with a view panel up top, and a film strip timeline at the bottom. It differs from Premiere Pro by keeping things simple using two panels, with a third hidden on the right for editing tools. The film strip below is split into several channels for video, and audio types. From the editing tools on the right you can even drop in and resize animated graphics from a preset selection window.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Transitions

Placing the right transition on your media content in Expert mode has never been easier. With well over 100 transitions to choose from, each transition has a small thumbnail that displays exactly how it works without needing to drag and drop onto your timeline. By using thumbnails to display the transition you don’t need to drop them in the timeline, and that means the computer isn’t required to render the extra transitions between media. This frees up RAM and CPU power which keeps things running quickly, and smoothly.

Adobe Premiere Elements

(Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
  • Three modes means something for everyone no matter skill level
  • Titles and graphics are easy to add
  • Minimum specifications mean most can use it
  • Speedy editing with minimal lag
  • Expert interactive guide to get users started
  • Good user interface layout which feels intuitive
  • Audio editing options are good for basic users

Conclusion: should I buy Adobe Premiere Elements?

Adobe Premiere Elements is a simple all-in-one video creation software, that allows access within it to organise files, and edit photos as well. It’s a one-stop shop for creatives that don’t want to spend hours learning a software and would rather get on with producing content.

That said, it’s probably not one for users that want to create bespoke content as it’s heavily based on presets and filters, with only a little tweaking permitted for each feature. It also contains cheesy graphics and animations, and certainly overcomplicates things in areas (such as a bloated video transitions library). While it’s not the most minimal editor around, it does a good job in a wide range of areas with little clutter, and does them competently, keeping users up-to-speed using a clever Guided mode.

You should buy Adobe Premiere Elements if the above sounds like your working style, or if you want to buy in to a single fee purchase, rather than the recurring subscription membership that Adobe offers on some of its other products. If you’re a media creator that likes to own their software, set it, and forget it, then Premiere Elements is right for you.

System requirements

Windows

  • 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE2 support; dual-core processor for HDV editing
  • Win 10 build 1809 or above, or Windows 8.1
  • Intel Core i7 -7700 or above
  • 16 GB RAM recommended for 4K editing
  • 32-bit OS version is not supported. Windows 7 (both 32 bit and 64 bit) is not supported.
  • Internet connection required for product activation and content download*

macOS

  • Empt64 bit multi-core Intel processor
  • Intel Core i7 (2.6 GHz) or above and 16 GB RAM recommended for 4K editing
  • mac OS X v10.15, v10.14, v10.13
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • 7.44 GB of available hard-disk space to install applications; additional 10GB to download all optional content (cannot install on a volume that uses a case sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)y list

Recommended configurations for editing 4K videos

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 multi-core
  • RAM: 16 GB or higher
  • OS: Windows 10 or macOS 10.13
  • Hard Disk: SSD or 7200 rpm SATA
The Verdict
7

out of 10

Adobe Premiere Elements review

Premiere Elements contains plenty of useful editing tools that are easy to use and visually helpful, but it does bloat out with cheesy animations and an unnecessarily large library of transitions