Some forum subscribers have been puzzled at why Adobe Encore gets mentioned in the Premiere Elements Forum. There are some reasons, that many might not be immediately aware of, but first, let’s talk about what Adobe Encore is.
Adobe Encore is a full-featured, DVD-Video/BD (Blu-ray Disc) authoring application. Unfortunately, as of Premiere Pro CS 3, it is not longer available as a stand-alone product - it is only available bundled with Premiere Pro (CS 3 and later). Now for a little bit of history. Once Premiere Pro (1.0, 1.5 and 2.0) were sort of like Premiere Elements, in that they had limited DVD authoring features built right into the program. Like PrE, some of those features were semi-automatic, though not to the degree that PrE is. Up until PrPro CS 2, one had to buy Encore as a separate program, if they needed all of its features. With PrPro CS 2, a suite of video-production programs were bundled as “CS 2 Production Studio.” With that suite, one got Encore, along with some other Adobe programs, that are very useful for video-production, along with the Adobe NLE (Non Linear Editor) Premiere Pro, such as Adobe Illustrator (Vector Art program), Adobe Photoshop (Raster/pixel-based digital image manipulation program), Adobe After Effects (compositing and animation program), and Adobe Audition (Audio editing program). Even within that suite, Premiere Pro still had the limited authoring capabilities. Because of added features, that linked Premiere Pro to Encore more directly, Encore was changed enough, that it was taken off the market, and ONLY provided with Premiere Pro. With CS 3, Premiere Pro lost all authoring capabilities, as those were all relegated to Adobe Encore.
How does that affect Premiere Elements in any way? Well, Encore is based on the Sonic AuthorCore modules, which Adobe licenses from Sonic. Some of those are the same modules that exist in Sonic’s very expensive authoring application, Sonic Scenarist. In Encore, those Sonic modules are hidden behind what is termed an “abstraction layer,” and the user does not really see those - only the abstraction layer, that is thought of as Encore. Still, the heart and soul of Encore ARE those Sonic AuthorCore modules. They are what makes Encore run.
Premiere Elements shares some of those Sonic AuthorCore modules, though a smaller subset. In that regard, Premiere Elements and Encore are more like step-brothers, or at least first-cousins. Just like in Encore, one never sees the Sonic modules. as they are also hidden below an abstraction layer. In Premiere Elements, it goes beyond that, in that most of the authoring capabilities are semi-automatic. That ease of use, through the automation is a positive, on one hand, but the authoring functions end up being rather linear, and limited - still, for most users, that ease of use is a major attraction, in that they can author a DVD, or BD, easily and efficiently, with but a few steps and considerations. Here, Adobe Encore differs, though the two programs are closely related. In Encore, one gets many more features, and capabilities, but at the price of having to do everything by hand - almost zero automation at all. One gets additional power, but they must do all the work themselves. Not nearly so easy, as with Premiere Elements’ authoring.
Because of the common Sonic AuthorCore modules, there are instances where what works, or does not work in Encore, translates almost exactly to Premiere Elements. Many of the same problems and limitations can exist in both programs.
First, the biggest limitation is from the DVD-Video and BD specifications themselves. Both sets of specifications are extremely well-defined, and dictate specific requirements, if the DVD-Video/BD is to be 100% compliant, and play, as it should, on computers with DVD/BD software, or on appropriate set-top hardware players. Both Encore and Premiere Elements must deal with those specifications, and cannot deviate from them.
Next, because of the Sonic AuthorCore modules, that both programs share, there are some extra considerations, such as long file Paths, spaces in file names (common in most OS’s for a very long time now), some special characters in file names, that cause conflicts, etc.. Those often come into play more often with Encore, than with Premiere Elements, due to Elements’ semi-automation, and the fact that one is still working within the NLE, Premiere Elements, just in a different part of it. Because of some of those limitations, and concerns, one might see some Encore articles mentioned, or linked. As Adobe Encore has its own very active forum, much of that material has already been written there, so it’s easiest to just link to an Encore article, that has applications to Premiere Elements and its authoring capabilities.
Because the two programs have some major differences, regarding their features and capabilities, there are often requests to do more, regarding Menus, and navigation, in Premiere Elements. Because it is a simplified, more linear, and semi-automatic authoring application, it lacks much of the power, beyond simple DVD/BD authoring with a pretty limited form of navigation. When a user wishes to go beyond, they will require a different program. Encore is a possibility, BUT it is now only available WITH Premiere Pro (an expensive program, at about 7x the price of Premiere Elements), it’s not really viable, unless one also owns Premiere Pro. Another option is Sonic Scenarist, but since the full package is about US $ 50,000, and as it is designed for large commercial authoring studios, that is not really an option for most Premiere Elements owners. Next, there ARE other authoring applications, that ARE full-featured, and can offer that extra control, and navigation, such as the often-recommended Sony DVD Architect. At its base level, it is about US $39 for the download version. For even more power, Sony offers a “Pro” version, that is still quite inexpensive, especially compared to Sonic Scenarist, or Premiere Pro with Encore. When one needs to go beyond the rather limited authoring capabilities of Premiere Elements, the entry-level DVD Architect is a great value, and an excellent program. There are others available, but I see less written about them - still, with some research, a user might well find that they suit the needs, and for a much reduced price over Sonic Scenarist.
However, for most Premiere Elements users, the authoring capabilities built in, are all that they will require, and those will work for them in most cases. Most users will never need to go beyond those capabilities, and will likely benefit greatly from the provided semi-automation’s ease of use.