...the footage is comming from a playable DVD,
so perhaps the first question is - does this make it interlaced?
If the media was properly formatted for DVD playback, yes.
MediaInfo and GSpot will not tell me if the footage
is interlaced or not.
I don't see why not, but I also don't see a section
in these programs that say interlaced or progressive
You can import the file into Premiere, select it in the Project Panel,
then check the 'File Info' Panel, or use GSpot.
In Premiere, LFF indicates 'lower field first'.
In GSpot, I/L indicates interlaced - lower.
(GSpot does have a blank "Fields/s" but in this case it is blank).
That means 'fields per second'.
A blank "Fields/s" field in GSpot indicates progressive scan.
When I drop my footage into Premiere, it auto
formates the timeline as progressive. Is this correct?
Yes, if the media is progressive.
If the media is interlaced, the Sequence will be interlaced as well:
...it is very low resolution footage (320x240, never seen that before).
Properly formatted media for DVD should be 720x480 (NTSC).
How do I know if the footage is actually interlaced, or if the interlaced look was "baked" into a progressive frame at some earlier point
That is possible, as you do not actually have a DVD formatted file.
thanks joe, you are absolutly correct. I tried some other footage from another DVD, which looks to be PAL and GSpot identifies 25 Frames/s, 50 Fields/s, and as you pointed out, in green underneith, I/L, indicating Interlaced Lower Field dominance.