Version 2 of Adobe's enthusiast video-editing package sprinkles important improvements all around the program, making basic editing easier, allowing the program to import video from more than just standard camcorders, providing far better DVD menu options, and much more. It's by far the most professional of the consumer-level video editors, and as before it can be intimidating and isn't for the dabbler. If you'd prefer to turn out attractive videos quickly, look to
Though feature-rich, not everything about the program inspires devotion. For one, it's a big system hog. Installation is simple but slow; it took around 20 minutes on our test system. Occasionally, we thought it must have frozen, but no, it's just poky. The program requires 2GB of drive space for the installation: to edit video, a rep recommended having at least 20 percent of the hard drive free. While our test system met the requirements, playback of a simple video clip was extremely jerky, which made creating edits and viewing our work a chore. In fact, playing a clip was all it took to drive our system usage meter to 100 percent. A rep told us that the new MPEG decoder takes a sizable system hit and suggested defragmenting the hard disk; it didn't help. We suggest having a lot more than the 256MB of RAM that Adobe says will work. In addition, we did a lot of resizing on our 17-inch screen and recommend at least a 19-inch display.
Furthermore, Adobe hasn't improved the subpar support options. The company still offers only a bare minimum of FAQs and support documents on its site, and there's still no free e-mail or phone support. That's poor for a consumer program this complex. A single-incident support call is a whopping $39, which is ridiculous to ask of home users. A rep told us that how-to books for Premiere Elements (such as one that Adobe itself sells) do especially well. We can see why.