This post was originally authored by TechSoup's Carlos Bergfeld in 2009 and was recently updated by Wes Holing, also a web content developer here at TechSoup.

Eligible organizations can request Adobe Premiere Elements 10, the newest version of Adobe's consumer-level video-editing software, as a donation through TechSoup. The product is compatible with Macs as well as Windows PCs. Adobe also offers its Premiere Pro CS5.5 professional-grade video-editing software through TechSoup for both Windows and Mac. Organizations can use either of these products to create professional-looking videos, so which one is right for your organization? We've put together a quick comparison to help you decide.

All the Basics: Premiere Elements

The main distinction between Premiere Elements 10 and Premiere Pro CS5.5 is that the Elements product is a slightly less powerful but still very capable version with an easier-to-use interface. But also important to note is that Premiere Pro CS5.5 is now 64-bit only software and requires a computer with a 64-bit processor and 64-bit operating system. Premiere Elements 10 includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions to run on both systems, but the 32-bit version won't be able to access more than 4 GB of RAM (if your computer has that much memory).

Here's a synopsis of Premiere Elements 10 from Computer Shopper's review of the product:

Though the list of new features in Premiere Elements 10 isn't overly long, the 64-bit support and color correction alone justify the upgrade for existing users, especially those who are using 64-bit Windows 7 and have oodles of RAM installed. The 64-bit support significantly boosts performance on high-def projects, while the correction feature can do wonders to improve the look of mediocre footage.

Essentially, Premiere Elements 10 includes what most organizations with basic video-editing requirements need from a video-editing program.

For Advanced Users: Premiere Pro CS5.5

The biggest feature in Premiere Pro CS5.5 that isn't present in Elements 10 is support for editing multiple sequences at once. In addition, Premiere Pro CS5.5 includes the full versions of Adobe Encore and Adobe OnLocation for advanced disc authoring and direct-to-disk recording.

A forum member at CreativeCOW.net, an online community of media professionals, has summarized the differences between Premiere Elements and Premiere Pro (he was referencing previous versions, but these still appear to hold true):

  • Capturing: The Premiere Elements capture window is much simpler than the Premiere Pro interface. Although it doesn't support batch capturing, Premiere Elements does split scenes as it captures and places the clips directly on the timeline.
  • Timeline and Editing Controls: Premiere Pro has more editing tools in the timeline, and more options for working with tracks and keyframes.
  • Titler: The titler in Premiere Pro has more tools and controls.
  • DVD Menus: Premiere Elements features an integrated, easy-to-use interface for adding DVD menus to a project before burning it.
  • Exporting: EDL, AAF, and RealMedia export options are not available in Premiere Elements.
  • Advanced Editing Features: Premiere Elements does not have many of Premiere Pro's advanced editing features such as 24P support, surround sound mixing, project management tools, multiple timeline sequences, the audio mixer window, vectorscopes, and the trim window.

Bundled Version Available

Organizations who want to edit images as well as videos might consider the bundle of Photoshop Elements 10 and Premiere Elements 10, which is also available from TechSoup. When requested as a bundled product, these two software programs count as a single application against the Adobe donation program limit of four individual applications (or one suite application) per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).

Other Helpful Resources

Carlos Bergfeld
Lead Web Content Developer, TechSoup Global