In some media management programs, one can set the Poster Frame of the Clip. Unfortunately, I do not know if PrE has this capability in its Organizer. I'll also be watching this tread, in hopes that learn something.
You made this a little tough since you did not say
(A) what version of Premiere Elements that you are using
(B) where you want this thumbnail to appear with a more "representative image" for the video (within Premiere Elements or in Windows My Document My Videos
(C) whether you wanted a later scene from the video as the thumbnail image instead of the first frame or whether you wanted an image not from the video to be the thumbnail image.
(D) whether you are talking about thumbnails in the DVD Main and Scene pages of your DVD Menu Template.
For now, we will bypass any discussion of DVD Main and Scene pages thumbnail relating back to main menu markers and scene markers placed on the Premiere Elements Timeline. And, business as usual for Windows/My Documents/My Video and Premiere Elements is the thumbnail displays the first frame of the video, but.....
I will give you some ideas. After reading the ideas, you can fill in some gaps so that I can fine tune the suggestions. There is a Poster Frame feature in Premiere Elements 4, 7, and 8 that will let you designate an image from the clip which you feel is more representative of that clip to be displayed in the thumbnail (Poster Frame). This feature is only for the thumbnails in the Project View Media area.
Whichever version you are using, get to the Project View Media area. (I will give directions to for the different versions if requested.) which shows your video file.
RIght click a blank space in the Project View Media area. From the drop down list, click on View, and then in View select Poster Frame.
At the top, immediately above where it says Filter by:, you will see a mini screen. When your video file is highlighted in Project View Media, that mini screen will have active control for Play and Poster Frame.
Click on Play and, when you see the frame that you want in your Project View Media thumbnail for that video, click Poster Frame. This works great for DV AVI. But there is some chat that this may not work as well for .mpeg video or others. Check it out.
As for thumbnail images changes outside the Premiere Elements Project View Media, think thumbnail as first frame of the video. So, very basically, just add a different first frame, BUT it would be viewed as part of your video and not just represented in the thumbnail.
Let us start here and see where this leads us.
Thank you very much for sucha thorough explanation
I'm using PE8 and will try your instructions. I'm really new to PE, but I think I can make my way around.