Photos make great source files for a Premiere Elements project, but you’ll find the highest quality results and the best performance from the program if the sizes of your photos are properly optimized before you bring them into your project. We urge you to make sure that any photo you use (especially if you use several in a slideshow) has been resized to no larger than 1000x750 pixels before you bring it into your Premiere Elements project to ensure the best quality and optimal program performance. (Photos taken directly from digital cameras can be 20 to 25 times that size!)
At first this may seem to go contrary to common wisdom. Traditionally, the higher the resolution of your photo, the better the quality of the output. But remember that Premiere Elements is a video editing program, and video is a relatively low resolution medium (essentially the equivalent of 640x480 pixels). And, to a point, reducing the resolution of a photo or graphic to be used in a video actually improves the quality of the video output. (1000x750 pixels seems to be that point)
The reason for this has to do with a process called downsampling, the system a video program uses to bring high-resolution photos down to video size. Premiere Elements does a fair job of this – but, as any pro knows, nothing that happens automatically will be as clean or as efficient as what you do manually. “Down-rezzing” is definitely one of these things.
There’s also a more pressing reason for downsampling your photos yourself. The process of “down-rezzing”, like the process of assimilating non-DV-AVI files into a video project, is a very intensive process. So intensive, in fact, that it’s the single biggest reason Premiere Elements fails, particularly during the disc burning process.
It takes a lot longer for the program to down-rez a 4000x3000 pixel photo than it does a 1000x750 pixel photo. Many, many times longer. And would you rather wait an hour or two for the program to transcode your DVD or 10 hours for a process that might end up with the program choking and dying anyway?
Photoshop Elements, by the way, has a very nice batch resizing feature that can resize a whole folder full of photos in just a few clicks. You’ll find it under the program’s File drop-menu, listed as Process Multiple Files.
For high-definition video, you can increase the size of the photos to 2000x1500 -- although you should be aware that this will require much more processing time and computer power than standard definition video.