Premiere Elements uses a DV-AVI workflow. That means that, when working with standard video, whatever you put in is converted to a DV-AVI before it becomes anything else. Even if you put an MPEG in and you get an MPEG out, it becomes a DV-AVI while the program works with it. In other words, smart rendering to MPEG is impossible, due to the design of the program.
This is why, if you're backing up video for use in Premiere Elements, we recommend you store it as DV-AVIs or back it up to miniDV tape rather than storing it as a DVD file.
There are some NLE programs, that offer "smart Transcoding." They are designed around an MPEG workflow. Obviously, Ulead is one of them. There are several more.
As MPEG-2 files are a delivery format w/o Intra-frame compressing (GOP instead), PrE, and PrPro, each need to create the full Intra-frame files to edit. See, there is not really and image for each frame in MPEG-2, only 1/~15 frames, and the other ~14 are just "difference" frames. If one needs to edit this delivery format, and not take another hit with re-compression, they are better off using one of the programs designed to handle the GOP structure and do the "smart Transcoding" from it. It's a case of a better "tool" for the job.
As Steve points out, PrE, and most NLE's, need each frame, either when the footage is recorded, or though conversion (internal, or external), and that is how they work. I'd recommend using the Ulead program, or similar, when MPEG-2 (or other compressed GOP source) files are used. They will do better, and with a lot less work, and higher quality in the end. Still, remember that MPEG-2 has already been compressed once, so you HAVE lost quality, that can never be recovered. You just save having a second loss.
Here is a visual representation of the same Clip in MPEG vs AVI and how these formats/CODEC's differ. The conversion to DV-AVI from MPEG can take place outside of PrE, or internally. This is just a representation, as the MPEG would be converted and actually contain all I-frames.
I hope that this makes sense and points out the differences between the source material.
Thanks Steve, the_wine_snob for your responses. You have confirmed what I suspected. I guess it IS the case of using different products for different part of the whole process.
PE7 is good in the editing and the export to mpeg but I think I will have to use other products for the DV capture, DVD Authoring and even the Picture slideshow part as I think there are products out there who do a better job of it. It is a shame there is no one product that could to all tasks to a satisfactory enough level for me anyway.
By the way, is there an objective way to meaure the quality of the exported mpeg/mpg file from different tools other than the naked eye?
Kind regards All.
Probably the best way to judge your results is with the naked eye. I'm not aware of a mechanical way to do it.
Meantime, if you're looking for a program that captures from a DVD, allows some basic editing and then smart renders your DVD files back to DVD, you may want to look at Sonic MyDVD.
is there an objective way to meaure the quality of the exported mpeg/mpg file from different tools other than the naked eye?
Your eye should be the ultimate judge of the finished products. Nearly all professional editors have a calibrated NTSC, or PAL, CRT monitor that is fed from the NLE program and used for all critical viewing and color correction. For most, doing the output to the delivery format, say DVD-Video, and then playing the results one, after the other, on the intended device, a computer or a set-top player hooked to the TV and studying the results is the best test of the programs, and their settings.
In my editing toolbox, I have mostly Adobe programs, but also several other NLE's, and manipulation programs. Though I spend most of my time in my "big-three," Photoshop, PrPro and Encore, I use PrE, and all the rest as is needed.
It is a shame there is no one product that could to all tasks to a satisfactory enough level for me anyway.
I take a different tack, as I want each "piece" of the workflow to do its "thing," as perfectly as it can and be rock stable for me. Personally, I find that PrE is a bit too much "all-in-one," but then I have PrPro and Encore. I see all the complaints about Encore's limited SlideShow feature. Personally, I think that Adobe could have left that off, and concentrated efforts elsewhere. That is probably becuase I do all of my SlideShow production in PrPro, and do not use the limited feature in Encore - I want the ultimate in control and do not care much for automation.
For SlideShow production, you might want to look into ProShow Gold, or their Producer. I've been looking at Producer and if I can justify it with my assingment log, I'll probably pick it up to augment PrPro.
My feelings about the stand-alones and the all-in-ones come from what I do with these tools, and it is different from many here.
Last, for capture, you might want to look into Scenalyzer Live (for SD material), and HDVSplit (for HD material). Each does just capture, but each does it so much better and with more power, than the Capture Module in PrE and PrPro - not that either of the Adobe products is bad, but those two programs have more useful features.
I'm about to start a Project with about 20 miniDV tapes, many of which were popped in and out of a couple of cameras and the TimeCode is broken (not the ideal way to manage tapes!). I'll use Scenalyzer Live for all Capture, and then bring everything into PrPro for editing. I feel no shame in this, though I love my PrPro. I just need to use the best tool for my particular assignment. I'll probably do most of my Titles in PS and then Import them into PrPro. Though PrPro has a good Titler (just a few more features than the one in PrE), I like the ultimate control of PS and I can easily animate the Layers of each main Title as I need. Some of the artwork will be done in Corel Painter, though PS offers some similar Effects and Filters, because it's more powerful in some areas and I can benefit from that power. My Audio work will be done in Adobe Audition, and SonicFire Pro 5, though PrPro does have a pretty good Audio editing function - again, more power. A whole bunch of "tools" for one Project. Most are Adobe, but not all.
Take care, and please report your workflow and how well each tool in the toolbox performs for you. Though this forum is Adobe-centric, Adobe has taken the stance that it's all about the completition of the Project and helping people realize their visual dreams. I applaud Adobe for this. There are too many product fora that will banish/edit-out any reference to another program. Not here, thankfully.