Premiere Elements 11 makes time crawl

September 24, 2012 9:01 PM PDT / Updated: September 25, 2012 10:57 AM PDT
Premiere Elements 11 adds some Hollywood-style and conventional special effects called FilmLooks. This is a modified version of the News reel effect. Lori Grunin/CNET

Like its sibling Photoshop Elements 11 (PSE), Adobe's $99.99 Premiere Elements (PRE) has undergone a facelift to make it more friendly, adopting a lighter gray interface when the rest of Adobe's applications have gone dark. That, plus bigger text and icons make it easier on the eyes for us aging baby boomers. Adobe has also streamlined the user interface, moving all the tools and options to the bottom of the screen, and simplifying the panel structure so that you're only confronted with one task at a time. My favorite part: you no longer need to create a new project as your first step. Drag and drop some clips and it automatically creates one for you. And like PSE, it's now broken down into two modes: Quick and Expert. Quick is an easy-to-use single track storyboard view compared with Expert's traditional multitrack timeline.

Premiere Elements shares the Organizer with Photoshop Elements, and you can add location information to videos (though only for use in PRE). Lori Grunin/CNET

The big new feature for 11 is Time Remapping, in which you block off a section of a clip as a Time Zone and can speed up, slow down, or set a section to run forward and backward sequentially. It's a lot of fun. Less innovative but no less useful, version 11 adds FilmLooks, filters which mimic the effects of popular movies like Avatar (blue people) and Sin City (red on desaturated color). And the third major addition is the capability to combine video tracks with the full selection of Photoshop blending modes. Plus, color correction has gotten a lot easier.

PRE now comes in a 64-bit version for the Mac, and Adobe tuned its performance -- it really does seem faster.

The Time Remapping view. Lori Grunin/CNET

As you'd expect, Adobe has updated the themes for its InstantMovie, plus it's added support for output to Vimeo.

Although further testing -- and comparative analysis -- awaits me, overall I think the interface is a big improvement over previous versions; it's much more approachable and easier to dive into than ever.

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About The Author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.