There could be any number of things going on here -- including that your video digitizer is capturing as the wrong video format or pixel aspect ratio. What device are you using? Is it a true DV bridge, which connects via FireWire to your computer and interfaces perfectly with Premiere Elements, or is it a USB-connected device (which often produce video files that cause problems for Premiere Elements)?
But start with the simplest solution first: Check your disc player and your TV and see if they are set to play 4:3, 16:9, "Zoom" or some video ratio. Most newer TVs include several settings, including the default "Set By Program." It's possible you've just got your TV forcing 16:9 playback on your 4:3 DVD.
The easiest way to test this is to play your DVD disc on your computer and see if your picture is distorted there.
Thanks for replying Steve. I've been using a Sony DVMC-DA2, an analog-to- digital media converter which I was advised is used by people converting media professionally. I've been using an S-Video cable to connect it to my Sony Hi8 video camera (Model CCD-TR101), which was considered to be a high-end camera, back in the day (1992). The converter is connected to my Windows 7 computer with an IEEE 1394, "FireWire" cable. I'm not sure how I would check the format into which the Hi8 video is being converted, but I've followed the Adobe Premiere 10 Video Tutorial and configured the capture preset to the NTSC Standard (4:3), which is the one recommended for DV cameras. I couldn't find any advice specifically explaining how to configure the preset when converting analog Hi8 to digital.
In the Premiere Elements 10 editing software itself, the video images burned on a DVD are not distorted, and the quality of the video images during editing looks to be every bit as good as the camera could record.
When I started showing the DVD's to my family, however, I was very disappointed to discover that everything looked stretched in the horizontal direction. I have since studied the configuring of frame aspect ratio modes (Normal, Zoom, Wide Zoom and Full) described in the Sony Bravia TV's instruction manual, in detail. And, I have tried every conceivable combination of the picture and frame settings to see if I could "unstretch' the video images. No, luck. It was then that I came across a footnote that indicated that the Normal mode was not available for video resolutions of 720p, 1080 and higher. Unfortunately, the NTSC Standard preset indicates that it does capture DV in images that have 720 horizontal pixels by 480 vertical pixels.
When I view the Hi8 burned to DVD's on other computers, using Windows Media Player and Video Lan, they are not distorted. In fact, they look so good that I'm just about ready to dedicate my laptop as the DVD player for my TV set! It was while contemplating whether there might be a way to avoid doing this, that it occured to me to try capturing some Hi8 tape using the NTSC Wide Screen preset option. My half-formed idea was that, since the ratio of pixel width to pixel height in the Standard preset was smaller than with the Widescreen preset, using the latter to capture an analog video image might either (1) expand the width of the overall image much farther, and cause grotesque distortion, or (2) squash the width of the overall image, so that it looked normal. I can't pretend to have known what I was doing, since I don't understand video recording technology, but it also occured to me that the Widescreen preset might degrade the resolution, so that it was somehow no longer 720p, and thereby possibly circumvent the Sony lockout of the Normal Mode for these DVD's. Whatever it did, capturing Hi8 video with the NTSC Widescreen preset did, indeed, reduce the width of the frames appearing on the TV Screen, so that they apperared normal.
The question with which I'm now wrestling is whether to go back and re-capture all of the Hi8 tapes, with the NTSC Widescreen preset, that I had already captured with the NTSC Standard preset - a big job. The warning window that popped-up when I prepared to burn the test video captured with the Widescreen preset gave me the option of correcting my "mistaken" choice of capture preset. I declined, and was rewarded with an undistorted video image. Which raises the possibility that, somewhere in Premiere Elements 10, there may be the capability of invoking that same pop-up window and modifying what the software considers to be the "correct," Standard preset to the Widescreen preset,so that I can change the formatting for all of the HI8 tapes I've already captured, so that they can be burned to DVD's and viewed in their proper frame aspect ration.
This has been a long-winded follow-up to your initial answer to my question, but I would very much appreciate any further suggestions.
Many thanks. Paul
If I'm understanding what you're telling me, Paul -- the DVD displays fine on computers but show distorted on your TV -- then the problem is not with the DVD at all. As I said in my last post, it's merely the way you have your TV and/or DVD player set up.
So all you need to do is work through your TV and maybe your DVD player's display settings and figure out which one is forcing your disc to display as widescreen when it is not. Then your problem will be solved! (If you're sure it's not the TV, check your DVD player's settings.)