I know this issue has been addressed here before, but for some reason I can't find the relevant thread using the search function.
The Sony EX1 (and most other hi def camcorders) has several shooting modes. Frame sizes available are 1920x1080, 1440x1080 and 1280x720. Frame rates at 59.94i, 29.97p and 23.98p. If I know in advance that I'm going to be delivering the video on DVD (after being edited in Premiere), which is the best camera setting to use?
It seems that converting 1080i to DVD is problematic, in that there are scaling and/or fielding issues that cause jaggies on the end result. This has been my ongoing experience trying every combination of export settings known to man. Therefore, I would recommend 1080p30, and export to MPEG-2 DVD as progressive, avoiding the interlacing issues that come with the downconversion. My HDV cameras only shoot 1080i unfortunately for me.
The other option already recommended is to simply shoot in SD and avoid all the other business, gauranteed good results to DVD that way if you don't need the HD content for anything.
Safe Harbor Computers
I always shoot in HDV 1080i and delivering on both Blu Ray and DVD and the quality on the DVD is truly amazing, esp close up shots looks like HD when I playback the DVD in a blu ray player. CS4 was the one which was pretty bad at downscaling HD to SD and required some complicated workflows including Dan Isaacs' and many others. So like what others said, if you don't need HD just shoot SD!
I usually shoot 1080p with my EX-1. 30 or 24 fps are fine depending on content and personal preference (30p for me) and always shoot in HQ (highest date rate) mode. Interlace? Not a chance for most of what I do.
The great thing about dropping HD shots into an SD sequence is that it gives you the ability to reframe your shot within a large canvas. Plus perfect zooms or edits to tight shots to hide jump cuts without resolution loss. So many options. You can shoot in 720p if you believe more data for fewer pixels equals better SD (a valid argument I suppose), but your canvas for reframing with be substantially smaller.
I like to keep an HD version of every edit even if I believe it will ever see the light of day. Who knows what tomorrow may bring. After editing, if I want to play with framing, I'll copy/paste the edit into an SD sequence and go to town. Otherwise, I'll just export the HD sequence to Encore or AME.
There should be NO votes for interlaced unless the primary display will always be a cathode ray tube (CRT) or it must be delivered as interlaced for broadcast. Flat panels do not display interlacing properly.
The other call for shooting interlaced is when delivering via disk. 30i is a standard both DVD and BD can accept without alteration.
Either the player or the TV will deinterlace better than PP does.