washingtonpost.com  > Technology > Personal Tech > Reviews

Quick Quotes


Premiere Elements; Everquest II; Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Sunday, December 5, 2004; Page F08



Like its stablemate Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements attempts to make one of Adobe's pro-grade applications -- the $699 Premiere Pro video editor -- affordable and palatable to non-enthusiasts. It covers all the phases of home movie-making, from capturing video (you'll need a digital camcorder with a FireWire connection, plus a corresponding jack on your computer) to editing it to burning it to DVD (your computer will need a DVD burner, not just a CD-RW drive).

_____Recent Reviews_____
A DVD Burner Too Far? (The Washington Post, Dec 5, 2004)
Family Tree Maker 2005 Deluxe; Law & Order: Justice Is Served; WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw (The Washington Post, Nov 28, 2004)
Dual Screens Give Gamers New Options (The Washington Post, Nov 28, 2004)
Half-Life 2; The Incredibles; Jak 3 (The Washington Post, Nov 21, 2004)
_____Personal Tech_____
Full Section
Fast Forward
Web Watch
Help File
___Personal Tech E-letter___
Washington Post personal technology columnist Rob Pegoraro answers reader e-mail and expands on themes he touches on in his weekly newspaper column. The e-mail version of this weekly feature includes links to the latest gadget and software reviews.
Click Here for Free Sign-up
Read E-letter Archive

Thanks to its lineage, Premiere Elements doesn't make these tasks as simple as its competitors, but an extensive help system and a good set of templates and pre-made effects do a lot to make beginners comfortable. It helps that Elements automatically detects scene breaks and lets you rearrange the order of clips or delete some outright just as you'd revise a Word document: drag and drop to move things, hit delete to get rid of them.

Trimming a particular scene or fixing its contrast is also simple, as is adding dissolve, page-peel, wipe and other transitions. Preset effects, including pans, zooms, warps and picture-in-picture overlays, allow you to add a professional touch without being a pro yourself -- but some of these effects take effort to understand, especially those labeled by technical monikers ("ProcAmp" comes to mind) instead of plain-English identifiers. The help file also provides less guidance on the more esoteric tasks.

Audio editing doesn't extend beyond such standard effects as fade-in, fade-out and reverb on multiple tracks, but that's probably enough for most users. A large collection of ready-made titles ties into related DVD menu themes. Throughout all these steps, the most useful feature in Elements is its infinite undo -- no matter what kind of a mess your movie has become, you can always step back and redo it.

Even on a fast PC, we still had to wait as some operations in Elements paused or stuttered, and a few crashes delayed us even further. But if your computer has the right hardware -- a non-trivial if -- it will be hard to find a video editor with the power and relative ease of Elements. -- Daniel Greenberg

Win XP, $100


Online Entertainment

CONTINUED    1 2    Next >

© 2004 The Washington Post Company