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If you are capturing HDV footage over FireWire, make sure that the Premiere Elements project you're capturing to is set up for HDV footage.
Also, your computer may well be below spec for editing HDV. Although, if you've got at least 2 gigs of RAM and you're running XP (rather than Vista), you may be able to work with short HDV video segments.
Sounds like possibly a bad Firewire card or cable.
Download HDVSplit and try capturing with that program, it is a better HDV capture program than Premiere Elements anyway and it is free.
See if you get the same results. If you do then it is the Firewire card or cable, if not then it is a problem with Premiere Elements.
Everything you wanted to know about video and more..... http://muvipix.com
Thanks for the replies.
I'll download HDVSplit and give that a try.
One more question on dropped frames. What does it look like when a video contains dropped frames? Is it just a missing frame so that the video looks a bit jumpy? Or could it create a bunch of strange stuff like I'm seeing - green cubes, ghost-like still images, etc...
Dropped frames with DV-AVI are short and can appear as jumps in the video. HDV is MPEG2 and the structure is such that dropped frames can appear as green cubes and can occur over a relatively long period. If you get the same with HDVSplit it may be that infact what you are seeing is drop-outs... ie issues during capturing due to the tape or dirty recording heads.
How often are you seeing this, is it at specific points such as when the tape was stopped or started? Or is it after you have edited clips. And do you see them when you play the clips in a mediaplayer.