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DVD-Videos have a max TOTAL Bit-Rate. That is set at 10, BUT also must account for any peaks, plus all Audio. The recommend max. Bit-Rate is ~ 8, to insure as much compatibility with DVD players, as is possible.
One also has to remember that no DVD player is certified to play ANY burned DVD-Video disc - only commercially replicated/stamped DVD-Videos. Most CAN play well-produced burned discs, but not all. The little bit of additional headroom, provided by PrE is basically insurance, and a higher Bit-Rate for the Video, beyond 8 will likely never be seen.
As for the quality of a burned DVD-Video, one should first insure that their Project matches their source footage 100%. Then, if working from HD material, they must understand that a DVD-Video will be down-rezzed to 720 x 480 (NTSC), from their HD Assets. There is nothing that one can do there.
With HD material, one does have the option of producing an AVCHD DVD, but that will have to be played on a BD player, so there are limitations.
Thank you for your reply, Bill, eventhough your answer is very disappointing. I have created vrey high quality DVD's from other programs when the source is AVCHD video. But I want to use the editing capabilities of PrE 12. It seems that PrE 12 just doesn't have that capability.
The reason I want to make a standard DVD is to deliver to folks who don't have a Blu-Ray player.
There is no changing expectations when the discussion gets to frame size 1920 x 1080 versus DVD-VIDEO on DVD, 720 x 480 (NTSC) or 720 x 576 (PAL) with standard or standard widescreen. It is what it is. But, perhaps, I can help you determine if you are getting the best possible DVD-VIDEO on DVD product that you can from your Premiere Elements 12 workflow.
1. The maximum set for the burn dialog's burn to disc DVD bitrate is 8.00 Mbps. The burn to works off a variable bitrate so the bitrate is going to be much less than that at times during the duration of the video. Work with "Fit Content to Available Space" with a check mark next to it. And, only leave it unchecked if you get Data Rate error message which forces you to lower the bitrate manually to overcome that error. If, with "Fit Content to Available Space" checked, you see the listed bitrate less than 8.00 Mbps before the burn, that means that the project needs to lower the bitrate automatically to make the fit. The latter should not be the case for you since you have 7.95 GB (in reality) on that labelled 8.5 GB/240 minute disc and you are saying that the Space Required is 3.4 GB in the Quality area of the burn dialog.
The standard DVD disc labelled 4.7 GB/120 minutes in reality is 4.38 GB, so if your Space Required in the burn dialog is showing 3.4 GB, not reason not to use the 4.7 GB/120 minutes disc. The Bitrate should be showing as 8.00 Mbps.
2. A key considerations are the properties of your source media and what is being set for the project preset by you or the project. Premiere Elements 12 assumes the role of setting the project preset based on the properties of the first video drag to the Timeline. Sometimes it does that OK, sometimes not. When not, it does not give you the closest choice, but rather defaults to its default of NTSC AVCHD Full HD 1080i30 or its PAL counterpart.
a. The question becomes "What is the project preset for these burn to DVD projects?" If you do not know, then check Edit Menu/Project Settings/General and the readings for Editing Mode, Timebase, Frames Size, and Pixel Aspect Ratio.
b. Two considerations...do you have interlaced or progressive frame rate...if interlaced, what scan order, Top Field First or Bottom Field First? The answer with high certainty is scan order = Top Field First.
c. If progressive, then you want to use the NTSC/DSLR/1080p/DSLR 1080p30 @ 29.97 or the PAL Counterpart.
d. If interlaced, you probably want to use the NTSC/Hard Disk Flash Memory Camcorders/Full HD 1080i30 so that you have a match up the field dominance of the video with the requirement of DVD-VIDEO Bottom Field First. Alternatively, you could use NTSC/AVCHD/Full HD1080p30 project preset and then apply Reverve Field Dominance at the Field Options/Timeline level.
If the project is not setting the correct project preset, then you set it manually before you import media into the project.
File Menu/New/Project and change the project preset accordingly.
Before you exit the final dialog there, make sure that you have a check mark next to "Force Selected Project Setting on This Project". Then back to the Premiere Elements workspace to import your source media.
The above is a rough idea of where you might look to seek "better".
Please review, if any questions or need clarification, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you so much for your very helpful reply.
Now that I've had time to think about it, when I've been able to achieve (what I consider) very good results in converting .M2TS files to standard DVD format, the source file has been using the Hauppauge DVR recording from a TiVo. (I used this to take shows to a vacation house that only had a standard DVD player). The source of the video I'm trying to publish now is from a Panasonic camera (HDC-TM700) with flash memory. I'm recording house concerts and wanting to give the musicians a copy (they typically don't have Blu-ray players).
Is it possible that the Hauppauge makes a file that is more adaptable to DVD than my camera?
If you are dealing with Hauppauge that produces 1080p, maybe that is an advantage over 1080i. Or it could be something else. But, I just checked out the Panasonic that you mentioned. That does shoot 1080p and has Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio. At this time, I am not sure what the alternative settings on the Panasonic are.
Do you have one of those Hauppauge files around so that you could put it through a video audio properties readout and we can compare its properties to a file from the Panasonic camera put through the video audio properties readout program.
If you can get MediaInfo without running into unwanted downloads and toolbars, that is one great program for supplying the information needed. Use the Tree View in that program.
Thanks for the follow up. Much appreciated.