First and foremost, you'll want to make sure this video is in a format you can work with in Premiere Elements. And that is vital -- because, when you're dealing with this much video, if you complicate things by having a non-standard video format, you're likely never going to get it to work.
So, if your video is in any format but DV-AVI, you might want to consider a different editing program. Premiere Elements runs deep but it runs narrow -- which means that it's very powerful but it works with a very narrow range of formats. So, if all you're doing is cutting out some footage and creating a series of DVDs, you definitely might want to look into a program that's much wider and maybe not so deep.
That may seem strange advice but, trust me, you're going to be doing many hours of work on this piece. And I'm sure you can't afford to deal with software chokes and incompatibility annoyances.
So what kind of camcorder did this video come from and what format is it in?
It is a canon fs20. It records in mpg, or at least thats the format they gave it to me in. As far as software goes, photoshop is what i have available becuase the school owns it already. As far as formats go i have tried mpg, mov, avi, and wmv and can't get anything to play in premiere even though i can jog through the video just fine, but thats another issue i am atempting to solve. Premiere does say that it will take any of those formats, but is there a transcoder you would suggest? Preferably a free one. There is tons of them online, but most arn't so hot without trying each and every one.
I found Leawo Free AVI Converter, and that seams to do the trick just fine. It converts to AVI with DV codec, and the mouse over even says for video editing. It still doesn't play, but thats i different issue.
If it's Mpeg as you stated, slated for Standard Definition, you can use Windows Movie Maker (WMM) which is free with XP or Vista.
It does a good job converting Mpeg to DV-AVI, and if your working with large Mpeg's, your best bet is to convert to DV-AVI.
Also check this link for additional tools on conversion: