I am offering the following in the name of assuring the you get the project preset you want.
Hopefully, you will see the merits of the project preset matching the properties of the source media. I see no rationale in a mismatch. I would be pleased for the opportunity to convince you of that.
Open a new Premiere Elements 11 or 12 project.
Go immediately to the File Menu/New/Project and set the project preset.
Before you exit the final dialog in that area, place a check mark before "Force Selected Project Setting on This Project".
When you are back in the Premiere Elements 11 or 12 Expert workspace, use Add Media/ to import your source media to the Timeline. You can verify your project preset by checking the reading under the workspace's Edit Menu/Projects Settings/General and its Editing Mode, Timebase, Frame Size, and Pixel Aspect Ratio (grayed out or not).
The rationale for this is because I've tried matching the project preset with the video footage (1080p/29.97fps) with subpar results when burning to SD-DVD. I have tried the project preset, DV Widescreen, and scaling to frame my AVCHD footage and obtained better results. I've tried that and it seems to keep changing the project preset, but I will try it again to be certain. Thanks.
Pending more information, you should try setting the project preset manually for
DSLR 1080p30 @ 29.97
Have we discussed this previously?
Keep in mind that this 16:9 import is appropriate for the NTSC_Widescreen_Dolby DVD choice in burn to DVD disc. (16:9 to 16:9 rather than 16:9 to 4:3)