Last time we looked at Adobe’s consumer-level video editor Premiere Elementsit earned a barely above average 3 out of 5. This isn’t because it was a bad version, but mostly because the features introduced didn’t feel “wow” enough to compete with the software that came with your computer, or free alternatives.
It’s a very tough market, and it seems everyone and their cat have it video editing software available, vying for your attention.
The big advantage of Premiere Elements is the brand. Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry standard behemoth. As a result, its little brother, Premiere Elements, often enjoys a privileged status in the field.
As you would expect from a creative app specialist like Adobe, Premiere Elements is a good and stable video editor – and a real one. alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro for less experienced or demanding editors.
So what we’re going to focus on here are some of the new features Adobe introduced with their 2022 edition, and see if they’re worth your hard-earned money.
As we all know, the days of exclusively working in 16:9 (and before that 4:3) are long gone, thanks to – rightly or wrongly – the inexorable rise of social media†
Today we interact with a multi-format world. And Premiere Elements has you covered: start a new project and you’ll be graced with a list of options, such as Landscape, Portrait, Square, and Social. Each has a drop-down menu where you can select the exact aspect ratio and frame rate you’re looking for.
Setting the correct dimensions for your project is one thing, but all of our media usually doesn’t match because it often comes from multiple sources. In the past, your timeline would be the size of the first clip you drag onto it.
This is not often useful anymore, so to ensure that your project retains the dimension you set manually, make sure the ‘Force selected project preset for this project’ box is checked.
If you add clips of different sizes, you will find that Elements will shrink them so that you can see them all within the specific frame, which will inevitably lead to black bars at the top and bottom, or left and right.
This is a distraction at best and can lead to a minuscule miniature-like medium in a sea of black at worst. Having to fix this manually can be a pain, especially if you use a lot of media.
Fortunately, the developers thought of that and came up with a cool new Auto Framing option. Knowing that it will be used often, it is easily accessible in the top left corner of the timeline section.
If this was just an option to zoom in on the center of your video, it wouldn’t be worth much. Instead, this tool is powered by Adobe’s ‘Sensei AI’. what this AI all you need to do is analyze the clip, determine which section is most interesting and frame it accordingly.
For the most part it works great, and this is very evident when an object moves within the clip, as the framing moves dynamically to keep that object in frame the entire time. If you think you need to adjust the results, you can do so in the “Applied Effects” section.
Highlight and shadow
Speaking of video effectsthere is a simple but very effective new one called Shadow/Highlight.
You’ll find it in the ‘Advanced customization’ section of the ‘Fx’ menu, and we were pleasantly surprised by it. We dragged it into a few clips and the default settings worked remarkably well, lighting up the scene and making dark shots much more vibrant and visible.
On its own, for a consumer product, this would have been a great addition. However, Adobe went further, allowing you to deselect the automatic changes, giving you control over the Shadows and Highlights sliders.
Wait, there’s more. Below that, you’ll find a slew of other sliders, allowing you to fine-tune the changes to your heart’s content.
Sure, you may not always need such a check, but it’s great to know it’s there for the times you do.
Perhaps the coolest addition to this venerable video editor is “Animated Overlays.”
The process isn’t as simple and automatic as the other new features we’ve highlighted so far, but the results are good – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with a little user involvement.
These new overlays are located in the Images section (confused by a smiley icon). Drag the one you’re interested in onto a video layer above the clip you want to affect, then change that overlay’s settings to blend it with the media below.
If this sounds a little too confusing, don’t worry: one of the new guided tutorials is devoted to this new functionality, and it will help you get started quickly.
Pricing for Adobe Premiere Elements
Most Adobe products are available as part of the Creative cloud subscription. That’s great for those who need instant access to tools like Photoshop and InDesign for a monthly or annual fee. Bad news for everyone else.
With Premiere Elements, there are no ongoing subscriptions. Just a one-time payment for the video editing software.
The price has stayed the same for the past two years at least: $100 USD/£85.56 – or $80, £70.91 to upgrade from an earlier version.
This is a perpetual license. That means the editing tool is yours for as long as you want it. If you don’t feel the need for new features in the future, you don’t have to pay Adobe a cent.
In a world where every app is stubbornly transitioning to a subscription model – if it hasn’t already – a one-time purchase of video editing software is very refreshing and welcome.
Adobe Premiere Elements 2022 is a strong consumer video editor. It has different modes depending on your abilities and comes with a wealth of tutorials to help you improve the quality of your videos.
The new features are very welcome and offer many improvements that meet the needs of the modern casual editor.
Is it worth the price of admission if there are cheaper or even free alternatives? Admittedly, most don’t have the ease of use and number of tools that Elements has, and ultimately that decision can only be yours. Fortunately, Adobe’s 30-day free trial is here to introduce you to the video editing tool before making a commitment.