Sometimes it is good to learn new things ::: Adobe Elements Premiere 12

Once again, I am starting to feel my age.  This time, it is because I am having a harder time learning new things, adjusting to a new computer and attempting to upgrade my equipment.  The problem is that my computer was dying a slow death and it was time to replace it.  I decided to jump in with 2 feet and switch from a PC to a MAC.  OH the learning difficult some days.  I am learning though.

While switching to the MAC, I decided to upgrade my photo-editing software and jump into video as well.  Let's just say I have been swimming in uncharted territory for the last couple of months attempting to learn a boatload of new things.  Today I am going to share my impressions on an affordable photo-editing program (Adobe Elements 12) and video-editing program (Adobe Elements Premiere 12).  I know the names can get a bit confusing since they are so similar, so from here on out, I will refer to the photo-editing program as 'Elements' and the video-editing program as 'Premiere'.  Are you with me so far?  Hold on to your horses, the learning begins NOW.

Let's start with photo-editing in Adobe Elements.

(Adobe provided the editing software for the purposes of review.  All opinions are my own)

There are three different modes:  Quick, Guided and Expert.  It was no surprise to me that I enjoyed both the quick and expert settings, but really found the guided section to be annoying.  I have been told all my life that I am not a "great learner".  It is not that I don't want to learn (I thirst for it actually), nor am I against new things, but the whole "guided" thing?  I rebel against it.  When going on guided tours, I am always the awful rebellious child and go off on my own.  I always want to find the roads less traveled, the secrets of culture the tours don't let you discover.  ...and thus I found the same to be somewhat true when using Elements.  I loved the quick mode for short and easy "quickie" updates, while the expert mode allowed me to make more complex edits with the Photoshop skills I already had.  You might be different and appreciate the guided mode, but suffice it to say, at least there are different modes.  I think that the tool would suffer greatly were only 1 or 2 of the modes available.  With all 3, it is a well-rounded tool, particularily for beginners.

Let's look a little deeper at the different modes, shall we?

The above photo is in the "quick" mode and under "view" I clicked "before and after".  

Note the giant red circle is around the "view" setting on the left and the mode in the center/top.
Also note that your photos line up for you along the bottom (see arrow) so that you can toggle back and forth between different ones.

Here is expert mode:

Note that the before and after view goes away, but toolbars show up, allowing you to work in layers, add fancy text, graphics, etc. 
 The interface feels very, very similar to Photoshop CS5 that I also use, so the transistion to expert mode was very easy. 
 If you use the basic features of photoshop and do not feel you need the brand spankin' new version, Elements is a solid option for you.

The above is the same photo in quick mode.  Note that I made very minor changes, so I didn't need the expert mode.  
I simply changed the levels just a touch brighter and sharped=ned the photo a bit.

Let's take a closer look at those settings on the right side in quick mode, shall we?

There are six options, smart fix, exposure, levels, color, balance and sharpness.
When you click the arrow on the top left of each it opens up a grid of options.

Move the mouse over the grid and you will see the changes to your photo.  
Your photo is right in the middle and moving to the left, up and right, down changes the levels, sharpness, etc.

You CAN go overboard very, very quickly in quick mode.  Most of my changes go over just 1-2 blocks.
 Go 4-5 blocks from a decent photo and you will make the photo look terrible.  See below.

I decided to try out the "smart fix" feature.  I went ahead and clicked the last block of the set and wowsas.  
Not good.  Little adjustments friends.  Little adjustments.

You can also change from adjustments (sharpness, levels, etc.) to effects, textures and frames on the bottom right of your screen, 
but those were too clunky for me, so I stuck to expert mode for those types of changes.

Moving onto VIDEO editing....

A few days ago, I posted a little teaser video from our demos at IKEA (full post HERE).  I played around with Adobe's Premiere Elements 12 and I am still on a heavy learning curve.  I foolishly figured that video wouldn't be all that different from photography, but it is TOTALLY a different beast.  I have been wanting to play around with video because:

A:  My camera (a Nikon D7000) has video capabilities.  Why not use them if I have them?

B:  Video is pretty big right now for advertisors.  They pay a lot for a short video ad and I always am looking for ways to support this blog without too many ads.  If I can make more money with less ads by including video, I am all for that.

C:  Video is pretty big right now with readers.  This confuses me a bit because I hate watching videos online.  I would much rather read an article and I can get quite frustrated when I want a simple tutorial, but all I can find is how-to youtube videos.  It turns out that most people are NOT like me however and many folks like to learn via video instead of text.  I am willing to try simple how-to videos in addition to tutorials.  We will see how it goes!

So take a peek at my initial experimentation with video editing...

Rough, huh?

I know.

I tried.

 Adobe Elements Premiere 12

1.  The software is similar to Adobe Elements, so after getting to know Elements, Premiere seemed familiar.  When you open the interface, you feel "at home".

2. There are the same three modes to work in; Quick, Guided and Expert.  While I had been using Photoshop for years before trying Elements, I had no experience with video editing.  Therefore, I loved the Expert mode in Elements (photo editing), but did not use the Expert mode in Premiere (video-editing) at all.  Instead, the guided mode actually helped me this time around and I spent most of my time learning the program in Quick mode.  I have much to learn!

3.  In quick mode, you are able to add your various media (video, pictures, music and text) in 4 different lines at the bottom of your screen.  From there, you can splice (cut) them into chunks which you can move around, delete, etc.  I found the clips easy to splice and delete, but moving them around was difficult for some reason.  I felt like I was always losing pieces of video or sound where I didn't want them.  Something to work on :)

4.  In the same manner as Elements, Premiere has block editing for color, balance, etc.  I found these WAY too clunky to use and if you watch my little video, you will see where I used the color editing on Susan's portion and it made her way too washed out.  I am sure in Expert mode, the adjustments would have been slighter and much more pleasing.  (see blocks on the right in the photo below)

 5.  This may seem silly, but HANDS DOWN one of my favorite parts of Premiere was the "publish and share" portion.  When attempting to upload various small family videos and such to youtube, it always seems to take me years to figure out which kind of file to save it as, how to compress the file so youtube will take it, etc. etc.  I started down that bunny trail with my Premiere video and then I saw the "publish and share" button. It does everything for you, including uploading it directly to youtube (or facebook or anywhere else you could imagine). This function ALONE is a MAJOR selling point for me.  SO EASY.


A few notes on my favorite settings and such...

1.  When using transitions (see the bottom right toolbar in Quick mode), I found the cross dissolve to be the most appealing to blend clips and photos.

2.  I did NOT like the "Smart Fix" function.  Play around with it, but I preferred making my own adjustments.

3. When adding text, I thought the "fade" and sometimes the "drop-in/out" animations to look the most professional.  The "fly-in" and such seemed very Powerpoint from the 1990s.

My Conclusion

  • If you are a beginner or experienced in Photoshop, the newest version of Elements if a fantastic choice for you.
  • If you are new to video-editing, Premiere might be worth a try.  I will keep trying and learning and sharing with you!
  • If you are VERY technical and like to use Photoshop with complex layers and such, Elements and Premiere probably won't cut it for you.
  • If you are a blogger, Elements and Premiere are a great option.   Start in Quick and Guided Modes, then move on to Expert.
  • If you DO NOT LIKE NEW THINGS, you can still learn this.  Stick with guided and quick modes!

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Jenny Piirto said…
Ack! I've been trying to export an 8 minute video to share on facebook all weekend!! This is my first time using Adobe Premiere Elements and I am so confused! You are not alone, and you are definitely doing much better than I am, Amy!