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The Canopus ADVC is an excellent DV bridge that should work fine with Premiere Elements.
It should work just like the ADS Pyro. You just plug your camcorder into it and then FireWire that into your computer. Although you can't control the camcorder with your computer, you can capture video ported from the camcorder or any other AV source into it.
If you just can't get it working and you can't get support from Canopus, you might try posting to the Muvipix forum. Those guys are some of the most knowledgeable video folks on the web. It's likely at least one can offer you guidance.
Just tried my VCR with Canopus and PE2 and it works. Just cant get it to work with the mini DV.
Why do you want to use the Canopus device to capture from your miniDV camcorder as its signal is digital already. I think the Firewire digital input on the front of the Canopus unit is only for use if you are converting from digital->analog. You should be able to capture from the Canon camcorder via Firewire directly into Premiere Elements.
The IEEE-1394 port on the front, while both in/out, is most often used to feed a signal back to a camera, to write back to tape.
In the case of a miniDV tape camera, I agree that the Canopus is not needed, as the camera can just be hooked to the FW port on the computer, and the signal Captured in PrE, or other capture program.