6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 14, 2013 6:45 AM by A.T. Romano

    Converting Old PE SD Project to HD


      I searched the forum and didn't see any threads about this...


      I have an old project I originally did in a very old version of Premiere Elements (probably ver 2 or 3).  Back then, the standard format was NTSC DV with 720 by 480 frame size.  I want to import that project into Premiere Elements 12 and (after some tweaking) output as 1080p. 


      Although PE12 was able to import the project (surprise surprise), the format is still DV and 720x480 and I can't seem to change those settings.


      Is there a way to import an old standard def project and change it to high def?  Or am I stuck having to recreate the project in high def from scratch? 


      The project is 30 mins long with video, photos, music, narration tracks, video effects, etc., so I REALLY don't want to start over from scratch.



        • 1. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
          A.T. Romano Level 7



          You would be sending in 720 x 480 and outputting 1920 x 1080. Besides fighting the upscaling and prospects of quality issues, you would be working with 4:3 source heading for 16:9 end product.


          You can easily do a mini test run to prove to yourself what most would project as a negative outcome if you go the upscaling route.


          What do you want to do with this SD footage on your Timeline...export to file such as Publish+Share/Computer/AVCHD with one of the HD presets or burn to disc AVCHD on DVD or Blu-ray disc format on Blu-ray disc?


          What you might consider is a movie within a movie...with the background being a picture frame or photo album page...let those pages be 720 x 480 within the 1920 x 1080 video frame.


          More later.



          • 2. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
            cdrw6622 Level 1

            Thanks for replying.  Unfortunately, every speculation you made about the project and my intentions were incorrect.  The output from PE2 was 720x480 but (most of) my inputs into that project were much higher resolution.  I want to take advantage of the higher resolution output from the current PE using the same inputs,  So my reasoning for trying to import the project into PE12 and changing to hi-def makes perfect sense.  Now, I'm just hoping it's possible.

            • 3. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
              the_wine_snob Level 9



              I do not think that there will be much, that will be useful in that old PrE Project, as all editing was done in a SD Project.


              If the original media files were HD, they have been down-rezzed, or cropped to the 720 x 480 Frame Size. I would recommend Importing those original HD media files into an HD Project in PrE 12. That will maintain that HD resolution.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
                A.T. Romano Level 7



                I tried to interpret your issue as written. Sorry my interpretation did not match the message behind what you wrote.


                Now with your clarification, consider. I believe the following to be your only hope

                for what I currently believe you want to do.


                Am I correct is believing that you want to take that Premiere Elements 2 project file (presumed set up with a NTSC DV Standard project preset with high definition source media imported) and change those Premiere Elements 2 project settings from 720 x 480 to something like 1920 x 1080 that will open in Premiere Elements 12 as a 1920 x 1080 project? If this is now correct, what was the format of this high definition footage that was taken into the Premiere Elements 2 NTSC DV Standard project? Do you still have it as its original file saved to the computer hard drive after all this time?


                If the above is in sync with what you mean, your chance would reside in editing the Notepad document of the saved Premiere Elements 2 project.prel file to change the project settings there. You would do that in a manner suggested in my blog post on that kind of endeavor.



                In your case the change in the Premiere Elements 2 Notepad document would be something like the following for every instance of the following








                I road tested the above, and Premiere Elements 12 Windows would not accept the edited Premiere Elements 2 project file. We could try to edit the "to" choices further but, with the huge differences between 2 and 12, I am not sure where it will lead us. But, could be tried.


                Please review the above and then let me know the outcome.





                • 5. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
                  cdrw6622 Level 1

                  Thanks for the replies.


                  Changing the settings in the prel file using Notepad worked!  (I actually used Wordpad).  There were a lot of PixelAspectRatio's and FrameRect's to change so I did a global "Find and Replace".


                  The modified prel file opened in Prem Els 12 without any errors and I was able to burn immediately to a Bluray and it played.  The photos look great and even the SD video clips interspersed within the video look crisper than when it originally outputted at 720x480.


                  I still have a lot of work to do (changing pan and zooms, and re-composing the screen to take advantage of the larger work area), but this has saved me many hours of re-creating the complex timeline I had for this 30min video.


                  Considering how "easy" it was to change the resolution of the project (albeit outside the program), makes me wonder why Adobe makes the user lock into an resolution at the beginning of the project without being able to change your mind later.  At least have a "conversion" utility within the program that did exactly what I did in Wordpad.


                  I have several other old projects I did in PE2 that I now know I can "upgrade" to hi-def without having to start from scratch.


                  Thanks for a solution to my problem and I hope others with the same issue find this thread.


                  Thanks! - Scott

                  • 6. Re: Converting Old PE SD Project to HD
                    A.T. Romano Level 7



                    Great news that the concept worked for you. The Adobe party line is that you cannot change the Premiere Elements project preset once it has been established, but...


                    This morning I woke up thinking about your question and had an alternative plan. But, if the concept worked for you as you said, great.


                    My alternative plan involved:

                    a. Opening (if it would) the Premiere Elements 2 project.prel in Premiere Elements 12.

                    b. Then saving the Premiere Elements 12 project.prel.

                    c. Then editing the Premiere Elements 12 Notepad document, changing all instances of the following








                    The important point of this type of work is that you still have the source media that went into the older project and that the project will trace back to the source media on the hard drive save location.


                    Thanks for trying the suggestions. Good job.