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PapaJohn's Newsletter #132

Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0

Premiere Elements 3.0I'm often asked to recommend other video editing and DVD making software.

Some are looking to leave Movie Maker because of problems they can't resolve, and others are looking for an app with more features. Whatever the reason, I've referred them to software suggested by others, not something I use myself, and feel strong enough about to endorse.

I downloaded the trial version of Adobe's Premiere Elements 3.0 and gave it a once over... after a few hours of exercising, It'll be what I recommend from now on. I'll be adding a page on my site about it... 

The snapshot shows a frame of my test... the larger video in the background is one of the captured camcorder clips, inside a mosque in Istanbul. The clip at the lower left is the high-definition story of last week's newsletter from PS3. The clip to the upper right is another camcorder clip from Istanbul.

The text, the resizings, and the angling of the clips were easily done when working the clips on the timeline, using 4 of the many video tracks available.

I was checking the basics, realizing this software is at a higher level than Movie Maker, but knowing too there's lots more options beyond it, such as its big brothers - Adobe Premiere Pro and Encore. It's a stepping stone from MM2, and also one toward the even fuller featured software... 

I give it a rating of 98...

  • the installation was flawless
  • everything worked smoothly and in a very timely manner
  • I was using MM2 on other projects as I used Elements... with no conflicts
  • capturing from my mini-DV camcorder via firewire went well except for one issue I didn't understand... it had to skip over one of the clips on the tape (I'll show you the message in the detail section below)... deduct 2 points from a rating of 100
  • it accepted PS3 stories, wmv files made by Movie Maker, and wma audio files
  • much of the interface was similar enough to Movie Maker that I felt at ease, even if not totally at home
  • you can 'trim' clips before dragging them to the timeline
  • text options are nicely textured and shaded, with total positioning controls
  • you can re-adjust the audio volume of a clip at any point
  • DVD authoring and burning is included
  • saving options include wmv files and DV-AVI...
  • CPU and memory usage through all steps were modest

I'll show you more below in an introductory mini-tutorial...

DVD Making in Premiere Elements 3.0

Here's a 30 second sample video clip - showing the kind of PIP type effects you can do in Premiere Elements without having to use add-ons or other software... size, position, rotate, and set the transparacy value of each of clip used to whatever you want. 

... before getting into it, here are a couple short notes...


Happy New Year!!!

Vista Corner... I'm deep into the writing of the new article for MaximumPC, the reason why next week's topic will be about a couple wizards in it...

I just signed up to attend the MVP Summit at Microsoft... in early March.

.... back to the main topic...

Premiere Elements 3.0....

Premiere Elements Opening Menu
Open Premiere Elements
to start at this menu, with a picklist of recently opened projects below it

Before starting a new project, let's take a quick look at the options in Setup... your choice of defaults

Note the HDV options. We won't explore them in this issue... I'm not trying to compare Elements to Movie Maker in Vista, just MM2 in XP.

Premiere Elements Setup

It calls the settings 'Presets'... the button to make a new one lets you make your own.

Close the setup window and start a 'New Project'...

I selected the newsletter folder and named the project Istanbul. The Istanbul.prel and Istanbul.log project and log files were opened in the folder.

Premiere Elements New Project

Capture Camcorder Footage

With my digital camcorder connected by firewire, the main working windows included one that was ready to capture video... it had named the set of clips Istanbul.avi from the project file name, so I pressed the Get Video button...

Premiere Elements Starting Work Area

The preview monitor size during capture was as large as I wanted, and I heard the audio on the computer in addition to the camcorder. I let it capture about 30 minutes of our vacation footage of Istanbul... I started with some darker indoor footage of the Whirling Dervishes to be able to check how the app did with darker clips.

I did other stuff as it captured... worked on this newsletter, took screen shots with IrfanView, responded to posts on forums.

With everything going on, CPU usage was at about 10%, memory usage at 717 MB (8 apps open - Elements was using 166 of the 717 MB). My system has 2 GB of RAM. Interesting Error Message

A set of DV-AVI files was made in the project folder, one for each scene.

All was going fine until something stopped and gave me this interesting error message. I don't usually pay attentions to the date/time code on a tape, I didn't know why some of the recording wouldn't have it.... maybe I manually skipped forward a few seconds on the tape at one point.

It implied that if it wasn't doing scene detection it wouldn't need it. Looks like it was checked by default. 

Scene Detect option
Luckily it lasted only for a few seconds, and then resumed as normal.

Available Media (collections)

There were 52 DV-AVI files... listed in the Available Media window at the upper left, the equivalent of MM2's collections pane, but without a tree...

Premiere Elements Captured Clips

Premiere Elements Clip Preview Monitor

Double-click a clip and it'll play in a preview monitor...

...where you can set in and out points... trimming it before before adding to the project timeline.

From Available Media to the Timeline

Once trimmed, drag the clips you want from the Available Media pane to the sceneline (storyboard) or timeline... as you use clips, a green check mark is added to the 'Used' column of the pane.

Used clips

Import files from your hard drive...

The drop down list of file types indicates a wide variety of them will work in Elements (at least potentially... I didn't test them). My interest was in types I usually use in Movie Maker such as Photo Stories.

Premiere Elements Import File TypesThe preview window for audio files shows the wave patterns of both channels)

Preview WMA
For a wmv movie, I used the last one I had rendered with MM2.

For a story (wmv), I selected the hi-def sized one from last week's newsletter.

It accepted and used them all.

Editing the timeline

Editing the timeline

The timeline by default started with 3 video and 3 audio stereo tracks... you can add more.

I dragged a random assortment of clips to the timeline to make it about 20 minutes long, and then explored the editing...


It was easy to stack clips on the tracks over each other, and to scale and rotate them for the kind of picture-in-picture effects you see on the frame snapshot I opened with.

The widescreen clips where approprately shaped and letterboxed... even though I was using a standard 4:3 aspect ratio for the project.

The snapshot shows my arrangement before I added overlying text... it shows how the preview monitor aligns with the content of the timeline, like things work in Movie Maker.

The upper right working pane shows the various clip properties of a selected one on the timeline. That's where you can begin to change the settings. The changes are helped along with interactive controls that show up in the preview monitor.

I circled the ones I tweaked to make the clips rotate and resize. Use minus signs when something isn't rotating in the direction you want.

The opacity setting lets you adjust the transparancy of each clip. I used it when making the sample clip.

Clip Properties

The audio volume of a clip can be tweaked at each keyframe... add new keyframes where you want. The volume will ramp up and down, following the 'rubberband'.

Export Options...

Export OptionsI tested going to DVD and to Windows Media

  • The DVD option makes a standard video discs, not a data disc. I made a couple and they both played fine on the computer with WinDVD.

The mpeg-2 files for the disc go into sub-folders of the project... and from there to the disc. The rendering and burning takes time, as you'd expect. The important thing is the discs finish and play well other places. No coasters this week except for those I'm making in Vista's Movie Maker.

  • When exporting to Windows Media files (WMV9), I had MM2 running and rendering some projects at the same time. There were no conflicts.

Sometimes good things are what doesn't happen, not just the things that do.

I also did some saving to DV-AVI... which uses the Microsoft DV codec.

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

Adobe's Premiere Elements came through this first review with flying colors. Even if you're not ready to move on from Movie Maker, it makes a great addition to your software toolkit.

I think the content of this newsletter would make a good website page...

This is my first look at Premiere since the days of version 6... in Elements I didn't see things like levels adjustments and motion settings... Elements is a stripped down version of Premiere Pro, so those kinds of features would need another move upwards. But it has more than enough features to be of great use.

I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:

Windows Movie

Have a great week...


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.

Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge. 

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off. 

Do Amazing ThingsBooks and Magazines

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on ), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -  Friends of Ed

MaximumPC's winter 2005 quarterly special... had a 7 page tutorial 'Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2'. The special edition of the video made for it is  on my website as a file download.

The November 2005 edition of Maximum PC had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the same article, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

A 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 was in the 2006 Summer Special edition. I'm currently working on an article about Movie Maker, DVD Maker, and Photo Gallery in Vista for an upcoming issue.

Virtual DubLearning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

It's being expanded to include the new version of Movie Maker in Vista, with Photo Gallery and DVD Maker.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version.

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and the link to subscribe is on the Products and Services page, a link on each page of

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change)

#133 - Jan 13 - a couple of Vista's wizards - one for DVD discs and another for digital camcorders

#133 - Jan 20 - open

#133 - Jan 27 - open

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a topic...


Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2  (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages  and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are  additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. Here are links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent in selling the tunes individually. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.

Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial showing users tips about using it.

Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

Check it at N eptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.

Mydeo... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. The video samples for this newsletter are on it, and I'll be using it for many of my future ones.

Photo Stories stream as well as movies.

mydeo offers a one month free trial... click the logo or the link to check it out.


In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Check the online library schedule to confirm the date and time, and for signup info... Events + Classes > Computer classes > Movie Maker

The scheduled ones are from 7 to 8:30 pm on

  • Thursday Jan 18th
  • Thursday Feb 22nd
  • Thursday Mar 29th
  • Thursday Apr 19th
  • Thursday May 17th

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee to use. Learn by doing, with coaching as needed.

Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the Living Projects section of the Movie Maker 2/Photo Story website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.

2006 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003, he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second one. You can find his advice in the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this information "AS IS" with no warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index



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