Click “Timeline” instead of “Sceneline,” and Premiere Elements 10 becomes a more conventional editor.

Macworld has published the review I wrote of Premiere Elements 10. Windows users for some time have enjoyed budget-priced video editors from Sony and Adobe; the Mac user base has had only Final Cut Express. Then, Adobe brought their Premiere Elements to the Mac, complete with native AVCHD editing – something Apple’s editors lacked (at the time requiring time-consuming transcoding).

Now, Apple has ditched Final Cut Express – Final Cut Pro X is its only option. If you weren’t sold on FCPX, or if you don’t feel like shelling out for either it or Premiere Pro, that makes Premiere Elements 10 an intriguing choice. It’s only a hundred bucks, and it’s surprisingly capable. As I write:

But if what you really want is a powerful editor that gives you room to grow— without paying too high a cost in either dollars or complexity—Premiere Elements really shows its colors. Yes, Adobe seems to hope this is something you’ll use to make more interesting video slideshows of your Facebook friends. But what they’ve come up with is a powerful editor with extensive color controls and native AVCHD editing, with quick ways of getting videos online or in HD on disc.

That’s all the more meaningful as FCPX hasn’t won over everyone.

On Windows, Sony’s bargain-priced versions of Vegas remain strong choices, and without necessarily requiring you to learn any beginner-level interfaces. But I have to say, I do like those color controls and photo pan-and-scan in Premiere.

Read the full review:
Review: Premiere Elements 10 sports powerful features with a beginner interface [Macworld]

Also, thanks to my editors for keeping the “Dr. Jeckyl and Fluffy the Bear” subhead. This marks the second time for Macworld this summer I get to cover a perhaps-overlooked product — last time it was Motion. And they’re each $100 or less.

I’d still get Premiere Pro over Elements if possible – the editing interface is more familiar, there’s gobs more stuff there, and even simple things like exporting is more direct. But for a bargain price, Elements does far more than I would have expected, and it is absolutely usable in a pinch.

  • Richard Lawler

    I've been struggling to get some workflow happening for AVCHD, and I really don't want to buy a new computer or expensive new software. 

    I was previously using HDV in Vegas, and that works very smoothly even on a 4-year-old Thinkpad running XP. But AVCHD footage doesn't work well in that set up. The codec support is all there, but I suspect it would require a new computer.

    I've had better luck with AVCHD in Premiere Pro CS5 which was part of my Creative Suite bundle. It can edit AVCHD on my Macbook as long as I set playback to half res and I use a faster Firewire drive. 

    I'm a bit frustrated with Premiere's lack of handling of AVCHD metadata. It only sees shot date and time when reading AVCHD clips directly from my Panasonic TM900 camcorder. Once you copy them to hard drive the metadata is lost. I would think if there were one thing Adobe should get right by now is XML-based metadata handling.

    I'm curious if Premiere Elements (given its consumer format focus) does a better job of handling AVCHD metadata.

    I'm also curious to try Final Cut X. (They have a free demo now.) Supposedly it's much more optimized for HDV and AVCHD as it can edit those formats natively. But I've read it will only import AVCHD directly from a camcorder, and it doesn't import MTS files from your local hard drive. Again though, I'm trying to avoid spending lots of money, Final Cut X costs real money and has loftier hardware requirements than my Macbook. 

    So for now I use Premiere Pro CS5 and log my clips manually. 

  • vade

    FCPX will import media from a drive, as long as you have kept the media organization the same as what it was on the camera.