Adobe Premiere Elements is a fantastic video-editing package that provides more than enough power for any home project, as well as plenty of guidance. It’s also half the price of its next biggest rival, Final Cut Pro. For professional/prosumer editing, Final Cut is worth paying extra for its added precision and features, but for holiday videos, birthday memories, or even a web show for YouTube and the like, Elements is plenty.
However, Elements 13 isn’t a huge update over version 12; the biggest change being belated support for Retina displays. As far as editing goes, the two biggest additions are aimed at new users and those who want to make a movie without too much “clip squinting.” Video Story is a new wizard that offers templates such as birthday, wedding, and graduation. Each is a storyboard broken into pre-defined chapters such as “Dressing Up” or “Getting The Degree,” with the option to add extras or delete. Some take a single clip, others multiple (with Auto-Analyzer on hand to break up long footage), with the Video Story combining and mixing them up with music, fades and looks. You can then add captions and narration. You can edit default captions, and either publish the whole thing there or send it to the timeline.
The Favorite Moments edit takes an extended clip that you want to extract elements from, but instead of making multiple in-and-out cuts, you just scan to the part you want, click a Mark button and adjust the length of each selection before exporting just those bits to the timeline as a combined clip or individual ones.
These two features (on top of an already excellent line-up) make 13 a great choice for new users. It’s hard to say the other improvements are worth the upgrade price if you have version 12. There are new Guided Edits for putting video behind a title, and applying primitive effects masks, though the latter is let down by only allowing a hard-edged rectangular mask rather than feathering and circles. These aren’t bad as one-time tutorials. After that, Elements 13 runs out of steam, with a few updates to features like the Shake Stabilizer, but nothing really major. A pity, but there’s always the next version...
The bottom line. Plenty of features for detailed editing, just not many new ones for a new release.