• Editor Rating
  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • 70%

  • Adobe Premiere Elements 12
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: June 24, 2016
  • Installation & Setup
    Editor: 80%
  • Design & Interface
    Editor: 70%
  • Features
    Editor: 70%
  • Function
    Editor: 70%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 80%

Adobe Premiere Elements 12 is an affordable, entry-level video editing software for consumers.

Adobe has been a pioneer in the world of multimedia editing and creation most notably due to their focus on high-end creative products geared for professional graphic or VFX artists, video editors, and illustrators. What most people don't realize is that you can get a lower-end Adobe product for under $100 that is capable of offering many of the same features found in their advanced software priced 5x more.

About a month ago, we reviewed Photoshop Elements 12 (Adobe's affordable photo editing variant) and we found it to be an excellent software for the price tag. This time around we are taking a look at Premiere Elements 12 which is the video editing version of the Elements 12 suite which is geared for both beginners and serious amateurs alike. With an MSRP of $99, Premiere Elements 12 fits within most consumer's budgets and can easily take your home movies, children's sporting events, school plays, or whatever scenario you're looking film to the next level without much effort.

Adobe reached out to us and provided us with a sample copy of Premiere Elements 12 to make this review possible. Rest assured, our thoughts and final verdict on the software is based solely on our personal opinions after hands on use with the product and no outside influences have had any affect on the outcome of this review.

Premiere Elements 12 features a similar design and interface as to that found within the Photoshop variant. The Element's Organizer is bundled in with the software thus offering a user-friendly way to organize your digital files such as photos, music, and video footage. If you're someone who tends to record many different events or has the desire to categorize footage into segments by months, sports, events, activities, etc. then the Organizer may be your new best friend as sorting content within albums is very simple to accomplish.

The interfaces of both Premiere Elements 12 and the Elements Organizer aren't the most appealing to look at, but they still get the job done in a simple, effective manner. The designers did an excellent job developing the UI to be clean while still making the most out of your screen's real estate without wasting space. Just like Photoshop Elements 12, the new interface is broken down into three separate views including “Quick”, “Guided”, and “Expert”. The different views are fairly self-explanatory as to what they bring to the table, but I'll dive into them briefly within the next section.

Premiere Elements 12 offers all the basic features you'd find in a low-end video editing software like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie however it also provides access to advanced features such as motion tracking, color correction, chroma key support, animated graphics and much more. While many of these are surprising to be included in a software priced under $100, there are a few advanced features that were skipped over yet are valuable to a serious amateur videomaker. These include the lack of multicam functionality, no support for 4K resolutions, and no way to edit 3D videos. These features won't be an issue for the standard entry-level consumers, but it may be enough to sway someone in the prosumer market to spend the extra money on a more high-end piece of software.

With the breakdown to the “Quick”, “Guided”, and “Expert” tabs, you'll see a change in the interface as well as a change in the amount of features available for your use. The “Quick” tab is of course the easiest to work with as it only offers basic editing tools and a simplified timeline.

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An example of the “Quick” tab enabled and simplified timeline.

By clicking the “Guided” tab, you'll be given instant access to a step-by-step tutorial which guides you through how to make basic edits to your video. These include adding narration or titles, creating a picture-in-picture effect, adding animated graphics, adding in music, trimming unwanted frames, or adjusting your video's color elements. Once you choose which editing feature you'd like to be walked through, it will give you a step-by-step directions on how to achieve it that allows you to move at your own pace and is extremely user friendly.

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An example of the “Guided” tab enabled.

Lastly, we have the advanced tab that's the “holy grail” of this software as it unleashes all the advanced editing tools and gives you a more complicated timeline like you'd see in an expensive and professional video editing software.

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An example of the “Expert” tab enabled and expanded timeline.

2014-04-09_20-42-48Another big advantage to Premiere Elements 12 is the integration with Adobe's Revel cloud service which allows you to sync all your content within the Photoshop or Premiere Element 12 applications for viewing on your iOS or Android devices via a simple drag and drop. You are able to share these web galleries with friends, family, or any miscellaneous contacts that you'd prefer. Currently, you can get the official Adobe Revel mobile app on iOS and Android devices.

Similar to Photoshop Elements 12, there is an array of publishing and sharing options including DVD/Blu-Ray burning and file exporting in a variety of file formats. If you're looking to publish your editing video on social media, there is built-in support for sharing to sites like Facebook, Vimeo, or YouTube.

While the feature-set for Premiere is rather impressive, I did run into some performance issues even on fairly powerful 27″ iMac. It wasn't uncommon to see a significant decline in performance and increase in wait times during aspects like rendering, multitasking with other process heavy programs (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.) as well as importing footage and exporting projects. Was the sluggish performance a major downfall that would keep me from recommending Premiere Elements 12? Definitely not, although it did fall short in performance when compared to several of its similarly priced competitors.

While I'm an avid user of Apple's Final Cut Pro X, I found it easy to adapt to the Premiere Elements 12 interface and within no time I was comfortable diving into the array of features found within the software. The basic editing features are all within view on the “Expert” tab, but it can become a hassle when you have to sort through the external menus to find advanced features like chromakey or motion tracking. The “Auto Smart Tone” tool was an element that stuck out to me in particular as as it worked surprisingly well and could be a means of achieving basic color correction without any extra effort.

The built-in templates for transitions, titles, and effects are mainly cheesy in my opinion although this is what you should expect to find in a software at this price-point. Since the target market is a budget conscious consumer, you can't blame Adobe for gearing these templates towards a casual home video rather than something you'd use in a more professional setting.

Adobe boasts their Revel service integration with all their new software products and while it is may be a great service, I think they don't stress the details enough for consumers to fully understand what it entails. The truth is the Revel service is a freemium model which offers limited access for free (30 day trial for unlimited media sharing then only 50 new media elements each month) and the real premium “unlimited” access costs $59.99 per year or $5.99 per month. While this cost isn't all that steep by any means, it likely won't fit the budget of the target market for the Elements 12 suite and is something to keep in mind if the Revel integration is a major selling point for you.

Adobe's Premiere Elements 12 is a top contender in the $100 video editing software market and its feature-set is impressive for the price. However, it does suffer from sluggish performance when executing certain editing tasks and the lack of some advanced features such as multi-cam or 4K support can be a downfall for a seasoned video editor.

If you're new to video editing, just want to edit home videos, or only have a very limited budget to work with then Adobe's Premiere Elements 12 may be the right choice for your needs. If you fall into this category, I'd also recommend checking out Sony Movie Studio 13 Suite (PC only) as it is very similar in cost, features, and ease of use.

If you're an advanced video editor or looking to edit videos as a profession or a serious hobby then I'd suggest dishing out the extra bucks for a professional level editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Sony Vegas Pro 12, or Apple's Final Cut Pro X.