Adobe Premiere Essentials 7

Last week I talked of my adventures with a camcorder that I’d been given to review and the associated software for creating movies out of the video clips taken with it.

The software was Nero Vision Essentials and making a video was great fun, but I soon got to wondering if other programs would make the process of movie creation any easier. I went along to the Adobe site website and downloaded a free 30-day trial version of Adobe Premiere Essentials 7.

It is a consumer version of Adobe’s heavyweight Premiere video editing package and had the reputation of being very easy-to-use. The download weighs in at nearly 700 MB and as you might imagine, with our slow South African Internet connections, it did take a fairly substantial amount of time.

Eventually I did manage to download and install it on my computer. It works in a very similar way to Nero, in that you first have to import all the components you’re going to use for your our movie, including video clips, still pictures, and sound.

You are then presented with with what Adobe calls a Sceneline, which is basically a long skinny window into which you can drag the movie’s components in the sequence they’re going to appear.
You can add sound including music and voice narration if you want. One improvement over Nero is that you can turn down the sound that was recorded through the camcorder’s microphone.

It was particularly windy when I took my sample video and I was very glad to be able to get rid of the sound. I added some music as the soundtrack to my video and transitions between each clip, to make them fade into each other.

I made title pages for my movie in an image editor, and imported them into Premiere Elements as images in .jpg format. The program itself will generate title pages for you and you can add text at any point that you want to.

Once the movie was complete, and it didn’t take long, I went to save it and found there are many sizes and formats to choose from, including those for viewing on television or computer screens, burning onto a DVD, or for upload to the Internet.

This was when I found out that I need a bigger computer. I have a four-year-old Pentium 4 2.8 GHz machine with 1.25 megabytes of memory, which is really not enough if I’m going to be doing video on a regular basis.

My movie only runs for a minute and a half but it took Premiere Essentials about seven minutes to render it, as a file of 67Mb in size. I shudder to think of the file sizes that you going to get if with much longer movies.

Premiere Essentials is a pretty simple but powerful programme and the only slight fly in the ointment with the trial version, is that it puts a stripe through the middle of your movie, saying that it has been created with a trial version. Luckily, you can lose the stripe by buying the program online and converting the trial to a real version.

Anyway, I did enjoy a fiddling with Elements and I reckon that, if I should ever get a video camera of my own, I’ll most likely pop down to the shop and buy a copy of it, because it seems to be able to do most of what I’m likely to want it to do.

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