If you're looking to move on from free video editing software and don't want to be tied into paying a monthly subscription fee, Adobe Premiere Elements could be a great choice – though its somewhat old-fashioned looks might be off-putting.
Gentle learning curve
Upload directly to YouTube
Interface feels dated
Fewer filters and stickers than rival software
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Adobe Premiere Elements 2018 is a gentle introduction for video editing designed to help complete newcomers make their first projects using a combination of still images and video clips.
Its interface is fairly self-explanatory, though some of its tools are given potentially confusing names. For example, eLive (aka Elements Live) is a set of articles, tutorials and videos presented as a kind of blog. It would have been preferable if Adobe Premiere Elements used a more similar layout to Adobe Premiere Pro, which only lists workflows as tabs and keeps tutorials tucked away elsewhere.
These guides are excellent though, and focus on practical solutions to common problems, like remixing an audio clip to fit the length of a video and removing background haze from video recorded outdoors. These guides are also searchable, and far more convenient than hunting for a particular tutorial on a support website.
Like most video editing software, Adobe Premiere Elements is centred around a timeline, onto which you can drag video, audio and image files. The Quick view presents you with just four tracks – one for text, one for video clips and images, one for narration and one for audio clips (like background music).
Media files snap together ‘magnetically’ when dragged into place, and new users should have no trouble piecing together their first production.
The Expert view is similar, but allows you to create multiple audio and video channels, and edit audio in stereo.
You can import media (photos, videos and audio files) from a hard drive or SSD, an attached camera or phone, a webcam, or a DVD drive. This is all refreshingly straightforward, and the media tool allows you to rename, apply metadata, and organize files as they’re imported.
Effects and filters
Selecting a video clip then choosing one of the ‘Fix’ options from the toolbar on the right will allow you to correct common problems like color casts caused by artificial lighting, and camera shake. You can also adjust the audio balance and volume, and add some creative effects like color adjustments. It’s a shame there aren’t more fun filters available – Instagram-style vintage effects would be a useful addition.
It’s worth noting that although Premiere Elements is a big download to begin with, any effects and media files marked with a blue ribbon at the top right will need to be downloaded separately – as will export presets – so you’ll need an active internet connection while you’re working.
You can also add stickers to your videos – both animated and still – but these look rather dated compared to the offerings we’re now used to in Snapchat and Instagram.
Unfortunately this is something of a theme with Adobe Premiere Elements 2018. It’s an excellent video editor for new users, but it’s strangely lacking the usual polish we’d expect from Adobe and looks like it’s overdue an interface overhaul to bring it up to date. If you're looking for something more modern, CyberLink PowerDirector 16 is an excellent choice, and offers a far wider range of customizable filters and effects too.
- See also: The best video editors: free and paid
Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)