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Yes. If you start with a DV-AVI Type II file, you have a very lightly compressed file. When you go to DVD-Video, you have compressed to MPEG-2, but with SD material, played on a TV, you will still have an image, that is as good as it gets. Now, you bring that MPEG-2 into Premiere to re-edit, and the file will either be converted to DV-AVI Type II, by Premiere, or by a 3rd party program. It will be slightly degraded at that point. Where the hit really comes in is when you then Export that to DVD-Video via MPEG-2 compression yet again.
For my archiving, I keep the tapes, then Archive (I use Premiere Por's Project Manager, but PE has Archiver), to keep my Captured DV-AVI Type II's, plus the full Project. These go onto a series of 2TB external hard drives. If I anticipate needing to just burn additional DVD's later on, I'll burn to a folder, and keep that intact also. Otherwise, one can make a duplicate DVD from a "master," and not have to re-Transcode, or re-Compress.
I did get the contents from a DVD-video into PE by using the Media Downloader under file and then took those VOB files into the sceneline and created an avi and the video was "jumpy".
I know people have asked about archival needs in the past. I guess it comes down to redundancy.
Is there a collective opinion on when to duplicate DVDs to avoid material degradation?
Jumpiness is not a sign of degradation. It's a sign of unsynchronized interlacing.
If you imported the DVD footage into a Premiere Elements project that uses the DVD settings, the field order will be automatically reversed and you will not see this jumpiness in your output.
If you used the DVD footage in a standard DV project, you will need to manually reverse the field order by right-clicking on each clip on the timeline and selecting the Field Order option.