It depends on what the people you hired did to it when they captured your video. (It's a shame you went with DVD format. Video from a miniDV works perfectly in Premiere Elements! Video from DVDs, not so much.)
First, make sure your project is set up for DVD. When you started your project, make sure you select the project settings for standard definition widescreen Hard Disk Camcorder. Otherwise, you're going to have problems later.
Then add your clips to your timeline,right-click on each and select Interpret Footage. You should then be able to set the footage to fit your widescreen project by changing the Pixel Aspect Ratio.
If this doesn't work, then the people who captured your video screwed it up and you'll need to fudge it. Or they cropped your video down to 4:3 when they captured it, in which case you've lost the video data and you can't fix it without recapturing your video.
Me? I'd pay $75 for a used miniDV camcorder on eBay and not mess with paying pros to capture it at all.
Thanks for the advice. I started a new project under the settings you suggested and imported off the DVD. I got an error message 'The importer reported a generic error'. That was all. However the file was imported but squeezed down to 4:3.
I absolutely agree with you about using a DV camcorder so I'm off to eBay to see what I can get.
I hope that it does work for you.
Let's talk a bit about what Interpret Footage does. When an AV (Audio Visual) file is written (in the case of a DVD-Video, it's an MPEG-2 file, inside of the VOB, Video Object, wrapper), it has a header, with information about the file. That information is in the form of "flags," and will tell the NLE (Non Linear Editor) program, or player, what the attributes of the file are. Depending on how that header is written, those flags might be picked up, but not always. Some programs play a bit fast and loose with the AV specs., and even the DVD specs. That can result in an NLE, or player, missing the flags, so they will default to the lowest common denominator, and one will end up with SD Standard 4:3 material, and probably at 29.97 FPS for NTSC.
Interpret Footage is a manual function, to tell the NLE what those flags should have told it. It is not really a conversion utility, as if the material IS 29.97 FPS, telling it that it's really 25 FPS (PAL), might have some issues. It is more to correct for missing flags, to allow the program to treat the footage, as it should.
I must keep an eye on this forum.
I find this to be a very active forum, and one, from which I learn something new, almost every day.
When I first got PrE, I spent a day, or two, just reading the entire forum. I started with threads, that looked like they could help me get up to speed with the program (especially as I had been using PrPro for some years, and there WERE differences), but then got hooked on reading everything.
Most of those old threads are now long gone, with several forum changes, since those days, but I still try to stay current, and at least read each new thread.
Good luck, and happy editing,
I had this issue as well. The footage was "taken" in wide screen accoring to the settings on my camera. Turns out, my camera (Sony VX-2100) doesn't really take video in 16:9. It fakes it by taking 4:3 then resizing it manually. If I capture the footage into Premiere, it's wide screen. If I burn to DVD then import the file into Premiere, it's 4:3. Turns out it appears that's correct because it's a camera setting and not true 16:9 video recording.
I have to resize to 16:9 in Premiere (uncheck the Uniform Scale setting in the clip's Effects Control and set width to 134%.)
Hope this helps. Check your cameras make sure sure you understand the video capture ratio.