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MPEG is not the best option for editing. There are a LOT of posts dealing with this subject.
Unfortunately, it's all I have, now. I have a big ole MPEG file and I need to edit it somehow.
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, but unfortunately I'm not sure it was enough for this relative novice. Should I try and convert the file? What should I convert it to? Will I lose significant quality if I do so?
Based on reading a LOT of problem reports, importing files from a DVD camcorder or other MPEG device, or Ripping DVD files rarely results in success in Premiere... do not be fooled by movie industry advertising into thinking that "DVD Quality Video" is suitable for EDITING... it is not... a DVD is designed to be for PLAYBACK only... and that includes trying to edit a Standard Def MPEG or VOB file!
You should also use WAV sound files, not the compressed MP3 format, To work with AC3 files in Premiere, it MAY work to copy the ad2ac3dec.dll file from the Encore DVD directory into the Premiere directory
Go to my notes page http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM
Click the internal link for editing compressed files... read, there are some ideas & links there
There are other products better suited to your task (read at the link above for a partial list) but if you only have DVD type files, you should convert to DV AVI... go to the VideoHelp link in my notes and look for a program to convert... but do be aware that converting from a HIGHLY compressed viewing format back to an editing format is going to cause a drop in quality
The only SD (Standard Def) files that Premiere really likes are DV AVI type 2
Try using Premiere Elements or Movie Edit Pro from Magix. They're more geared towards consumer editors.
Or the simplest/Lamest thing you'll ever hear given if you're on XP and we all hate Windows Movie maker -- It does read MPEG-2's.
Use something like TMPGENC to pull the .vob's, toss it into Movie maker and kick out a NTSC DV-AVI! that will read just fine in Premiere.
Hey, both are free software, so why not?
Another option is to use V-Dub. (more free software).
And yes, do always convert your audio to .wav.
WMM actually creates a Type 1 AVI, and Premiere works better with Type 2.
I think this converts T1 to T2
Thanks, everyone. I've been having miserable luck getting various free transcoding software to work (tried Apex and MPEG Streamclip, both of which had unexplained errors at random points during transcoding). I'll try some of these other suggestions when I get some rest.
One program, that has worked with about 90% of the client-supplied non-DV-AVI material, that I have gotten, has been Digital Media Converter. It's not freeware, but only runs ~ US$40. There is a trial version, which, IIRC, is limited by time, not watermark, or other devices. It's sold/supported by DeskShare: http://www.deskshare.com/
It has worked fine with almost everything, so far, and so long as I have the necessary CODECs on the system.
For those problem files, that it cannot handle, I've used a consumer program, Cyberlink Power Director, to transfer the AV file to mini-DV tape, then Captured in Premiere.
Caveat: you are starting with a compressed file. Almost every conversion will degrade that somewhat, depending on the CODEC used. You will then edit and output to some other format, either for DVD, or delivery. The quality will suffer. How much, depends on the workflow, that you adopt, and how critical you are with regards to the final output. Only you can tell, if it's good enough.