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Premiere Elements makes a pretty inefficient conversion tool, in my opinion, Phil.
You'll always be ahead of the game if you put the most efficient file formats into Premiere Elements (DV-AVIs) rather than asking Premiere Elements to convert them into usable files for you.
As I said in the FAQ, Quicktime Pro and Super and both excellent tools for converting MOV files into DV-AVIs.
Depending on the version youj have, Steve is right. I have had lots of good results with the MOV files from my Panasonic Digital Camera with PE4. With prio versions, I converted the MOV files to DV-AVI using the freeware utility MPEG_Streamclip.
I too have had better luck getting all of my Assets in the correct form, Video and Audio, prior to Import into PE, or Pro. Convert outside with the proper tool,
That is why all of my Encore DVD Projects use only DV-AVI and AC3 files. They work flawlessly. Kinda' boring, but that's the kind of guy that I am. If I can do it blindfolded, there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, just for kicks, I see how quickly I can author a DVD with 0 errors.