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Well, it's hard to say without knowing all of the specs of your download. Not all MP4s work the same way.
Try opening one of your downloads in G Spot or Media Info and post the frame rate, resolution and, above all, the file's audio and video codecs to this forum.
You also don't say which version of the program you're using -- but only versions 10, to some extent, and version 11, to a greater extent, work well with this type of video. In most cases, your best bet is to use the preset for Flip HD video to set up your project. And that's worth a try. But until we get more information about the make-up of the file, it's hard to be any more specific.
Do you have links where to download GSpot or Media Info?
I've heard to use those before, just don't know where to download...
Yes, I could google them myself, but I do not feel comfortable determining which ones are legit or if I would be taken to some corrupt site.
I have used both sites countless times without any corruption. Just make sure you click on the link to download MediaInfo or gspot and not any advertisements that may be at that web site.
The information that those programs give regarding video properties needed to set up the correct project preset for the Premiere Elements project is very valuable for troubleshooting strategy.
What version of Premiere Elements are you using and on what computer operating system is it running?
For starter, you might tell SG what the frame size and frame rate is for your .mp4 video. You can do that right or wrong PE project preset, right click the file in the project's media area, select Properties and read the frame size and frame rate. That is not as good as what was asked for, but it is a start. The approved downloads from YouTube are typically H.264.mp4.
Please respond in reply to SG.