I have seen a few posts here and several on other forums about Adobe Premier Elements11, which is hailed as a positive upgrade to iMovie.

My experiences with iMovie were generally positive overall, but I really wanted Final Cut Pro, but the price tag was way too high for my wallet at the time, so on a whim I visited Adobe's site on early Black Friday morning and they were running a special on Adobe Premier Elements 11...so for about a 60% reduction in their asking price, I jumped on it.

Elements 11 is described as "pretty intuitive" by many reviewers on the web...but to me, not what I would consider even an amateur at video editing, intuitive is not an adjective I'd use for this program. (I think that term may be appropriate for someone who has established knowledge of these programs and how they work or one who has quite a bit of 'dabbling' time with them. For newcomers, I still wouldn't use intuitive...but that's me).

After talking to one of the videographers I know at my local sports arena, he suggested looking up "Classroom in a Book" by Adobe Press. He says he and several of the videographers he works with have used these books before and every time they upgrade their software, they purchase the new books to discover what's new, shortcuts, etc.

I took his advice, found it for about $28.00 (USD) on Amazon and two days later when it arrived, my skills at video editing were immediately elevated. (The Barnes and Noble website also offers this book for sale).

The book is about 320 pages long, printed in softcover that lies FLAT...you open it, start reading, boot up your PE11.., download the lessons/videos/pics onto your hard drive...and off you go with Lesson 1. The lesson clips are HD in quality and what the author has you do with them are exactly what you'd have to know to produce good videos for a living.

The book is well written, some light humor here and there, and it is almost like having an instructor in the room with you. As you work through the lessons, some take from 30-60 minutes, others two hours or more (depending on your "speed" at picking up the various nuances of this program) but when you finish a lesson, there are several questions at the end of each chapter that help reinforce what you just learned.

I have about 4 lessons left, and yes, once in awhile I'll refer to the book when working on a video I shot myself (in between my lessons)....and it serves as a valuable resource too. I should be done with the other 4 lessons in less than a week; and although I am not quite ready to apply for a job doing this type of work, I really feel I received a LOT of bang for the buck in learning how to use Adobe Premier Elements 11. It also taught me how to use many of the features in Adobe Organizer, another program bundled with my version of Elements11 that will help you greatly in organizational skills of your clips and pictures. And Organizer works seamlessly with Elements so it's a snap to transfer your pics and video clips from Organizer to Elements.

I have a lot more respect for the folks who do this type of work on a daily basis, and knowing they use the same software I am trying to learn, and seeing their work at every game I attend during the season makes me feel pretty good about having made a good purchase.

YMMV, of course, but I would really recommend this book if you are still 'stumbling around' trying to learn the nuances of this program. And yes, these books are available for earlier versions of this program too.

Your video editing skills will definitely go to another level after spending some time with Classroom in a Book and the lessons included with it. And I really am happy so far with Adobe Premier Elements 11 too. For me, it is a definite 'step up' from iMovie.

One more caveat....on the Adobe website there are LOTS of instructional tutorials for this program too...but the book fills in a lot that the tutorials assume you may already know.