Who needs a big hard drive when everyone's videos will eventually live online? Neat new Web services, such as the ones offered by Adobe and linked to from its new Adobe Premiere Elements 7 video editor, may incline folks to load everything they have on to the web. But Adobe will have to offer more space for less money — and greatly improve the editor's integration with online services — to attract heavy video users.
You don't have to buy the Adobe Premiere Elements desktop application to get a free Photoshop.com account, which includes 2GB of capacity and a personal URL such as yourname.photoshop.com. (The site isn't identified as "Premiere.com," because it also works with Adobe's Photoshop Elements image editor.)
The 2GB of storage can accommodate a large number of still photos, but it equals less than half an hour of mini-DV video, for example. You can buy upgrade to 20GB; and additional storage packs are available in sizes up to 500GB, though Adobe hasn't finalised their pricing.
Unlike IDrive.com, however, Photoshop.com offers more than just a place to park data. You can set up Adobe Premiere Elements 7 to back up files automatically; you can set preference parameters (for example, you can instruct the site not to back up any file larger than X MB); and once files are uploaded, you can access them from any computer that has an internet connection, of course. But you can view only pictures online — to watch videos, you must download the entire clip to your desktop and use the PC's video playback software. The interface at Photoshop.com is attractive and operates slickly; and it has conduits to Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa, so you can view images hosted on those services in the same Photoshop.com window (it's pretty slow when accessing outside images, though).
We found that specifying files for backup within Adobe Premiere Elements 7 itself required more steps than we'd like; you have to open a "Tagging" dialog box and drag a tag on to the files. It would have been more convenient if the program had allowed me to right-clicking on files in the organiser and then choose an 'upload' option.
And that's just one of the frustrations we had with Elements' interface. Many commands are arranged in a seemingly haphazard way. For example, you can use a system-tray icon to set backup options such as instructing the application to upload only while idle; but to see which files have been backed up or have a backup pending, you click on a tiny icon in the lower left corner of the application window - and this action prompts them to appear in the Organise window in the upper right corner of the application. To set additional backup options, you must pull up the Preferences dialog box from beneath the Edit menu.
Another drawback: Adobe Premiere Elements 7 has no link in the main application window to take you to your uploaded files (unless you count the splash screen when it starts up; but if you want to get back to that, you have to close your project). The program's text and icons were very small on the high-resolution, 17in laptop monitor we were using, and you can't adjust their size. Last year in our review of Elements 4 (the immediate predecessor of Adobe Premiere Elements 7, oddly enough), we complained about too-small text size; the problem seems worse in Elements 7, probably because the latest program requires you to do more hunting for important commands.