Is it possible you're just expecting too much? DVD resolution and color space are limited compared to the originals.
My overall advice is to do that kind of work in an application that is designed for that. Give Photodex Proshow Producer trial a crack at it. I do a lot of work with stills, and that IMO PSP is the best approach. If you are intermixing the odd still, Pr may get you by. If you plan on doing a lot of that, try proshow, where the workflow and extensive features are designed for making high quality videos from stills that can be output to a wide number of formats and destinations, including color management with many of them( including avi). And, no need to resize. I know this won't solve your present problem.
Obviously, your attempt in Pr has not worked out as you had hoped. Maybe a bit more info would help. How are you rescaling them in Pr? That might well account for some quality loss. What is the original format and size of the images? What color management are you using in PS? Are you using any color correction or effects in Pr? Is your project interlaced or progressive?
From your description, you are not even getting the quality you should be getting from Pr IMO, though as Jim says, it is video and it will never look as pristine as it does in PS, but it still seems to me that something you are doing has degraded the work more than normally would be expected.
Why are you setting the photos up as 720P then using a DV project.
You are asking Premiere to downscale/down rez them.
What PAR are the photos?
I am with Don.
I have ProShowGold for my still work, mind you not so fancy as Producer but it does handle psd's.
Thank you very much for the information. I will try the Photodex Proshow Producer trial. Hopefully that may help.
Coming to using the stills in PR and to answer your questions, I rescale them by going to Effect Controls and Scale. I then change the percentage but I make them smaller rather than bigger. The original size of most of the images before I do anything to them in Photoshop is 3000px by 2008px at 300 DPI. I then rescale them to 720p wide and import them into Premiere. Sometimes they don't quite fit (often too big) if they are portraits and then I rescale them in Premiere using Effect Controls Scale. Coming to the color management I use RGB and I am not using any effects and color correction in Premiere. The project if interlaced, Lower first.
I hope that helps and thank you so much for any advice.
I guess so but I just wanted to see if there was anything I was doing wrong. I guess I have to put the wish for perfection to the side.
Thank you for your help. I will try these. Hopefully I find a free trial online.
Thank you for your reply. What do you mean, what PAR are the photos?
Coming to setting the photos up as 720P then using a DV project. When I look in the general description of the project, it says DV Pal and frame size 720 by 576 which I assume is the pixel ration therefore set the images to that size although under that line it says: Pixel Aspect Ratio: D1/DV PAL (1.0940). When I set the images in Photoshop to the latter, it distorts the images a bit which is why I don't use it and resize them to 720p. Am I doing something wrong because I am getting extra confused with all the formats and sizes available?
The first answer by Jim Simon explains a lot of what you are seeing.
You are taking a 6,000K pixel image and reducing it to 345K. The original image contains 18 times the information as does the final image in your slideshow. If you just do the raw conversion and put the result in a video program, it's not going to look good. There are workflows and software that can rescale & tweak the image down to the size you need and provide good final image quality, but the path is more circutious. I import 2,000x3,000 stills into HD projects (1920x1080)- they always need to be tweaked- color, gamma, black point, etc. to look best, then on the downconvert to DVD they survive pretty nicely and look good at the lower rez, but nowhere near as good as they look as Hi Def- say, on Blu Ray.
It can be frustrating to start with a grand museum quality photo and end up with a snapshot
setting the photos up as 720P then using a DV project.
I see the confusion.
Video shorthand always use the second number of video resolution. So the 720 x 576 PAL resolution is shortened to 576i. The 720p designation refers to 1280 x 720 progressive. So you're essentially scaling your pics too large to fit into the DV project, which is why Premiere must then rescale them in some fashion (for example, by you going into the Effects panel). You may get better results if you scale the images properly using Photoshop before use.