Well, that depends on just what you want to do. The problem with miniDVD material is that it is already Transcoded to MPEG-2 (compressed), and if one Imports that, and edits it in PrE, it will be re-compressed back to MPEG-2 for burning to a DVD-Video. Depending on the motion in the footage, either camera, or subject, this might, or might not be an issue.
If one is not doing much in the way of editing, there are other NLE programs, that will allow for "smart Transcoding," for unchanged footage. I think that Sony's Vegas allows for this, but do not have that program, so check that out carefully. There are probably others too. Look for "smart transcoding," "smart rendering," and/or "smart Export." Again, this will be of footage that is just cut/Trimmed. If you do PiP, overlay Titles, or add Effects, you will likely have to re-Transcode anyway.
That what I was trying to do too. I was trying to create a home video DVD from two imported mini DV movies. PrE always crached after several hours of work, so by my opinion - PrE is NOT the software of choice for video editing. I have spent a weekend trying to implement all ideas from Adobe support and this forum without any success.
Check reviews on Amazon, see how many one star ratings has PrE 8 and why. Sony Vegas had good reviews but I personally didn't try it.
Most usability issues with an NLE (Non Linear Editor) program sort out this way, and in this order of importance:
1.) System - everything from hardware and other software, to setup, to power, to the OS and drivers.
2.) Assets - all media types/CODEC's used, plus all other aspects of these.
3.) Project settings - how well these match those Assets.
4.) OE - operator error
5.) Bugs - real Bugs in the program.
That is the order that I attempt to troubleshoot, checking off each and working down.
PS - if you would like for others to help troubleshoot your issues, please do a separate post with your specific problems. We'll be glad to help. If you do post, this ARTICLE will give you tips on the types of info that will be very useful.
The original question was 'a program by choice for miniDV to DVD conversion for beginners'. The most correct answer IMHO for Windows Vista is Windows Movie Maker plus Windows DVD Maker. They are free parts of some of the Vista editions, very simple, and it was one of the two ways (the second was Nero suite) that I successfully used before my ill fated attempt to use PrE 8.
I don't think PrE 8 could be a right answer for an initial question even if it would work flawlessly because for a beginner a free and simple tool usually is better than more complex and expensive tool.
And frankly if 53 reviewers from total 81 on amazon.com have given to PrE one star rating I wouldn't recommend this program for a person who is looking to make his first DVD disk from miniDV camcoder.
WMM works fine for many. My suggestion would be that if it works for you, you do not need to look any farther.
Now, if you'd just like to rant, then that is fine.There is even a whole sub-forum for that too. This forum is for users to help users with their problems and questions. You have been invited to post of your problems, in hopes that someone can help you, but it appears that solving problems is not what you are looking for. That is why the above linked forum was created. Consider this an invitation to join-in there.
I found a good way to transfer and convert Mini DV camcorder video to DVD only need to purchase a small DVD Creator. That's smart and easier to use than nero, but still powerful and fast speed.
All needs we have to prepare is:
1. a miniDV Camcorder.
2. a PC with IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port, running Windows 2000 or Windows XP, enough free hard disk space.
3. an IEEE 1394 cable.
4. DVD Creator software
You can reed the whole article: http://www.dvd-creators.net/camcorder-to-dvd/mini-dv-to-dvd.html
The challenge is that the original poster isn't coming from miniDV. The poster is coming from a miniDVD -- which is a very different format with very different needs.
In order to edit miniDVD footage in Premiere Elements, the miniDVD disc must be finalized. It is then placed in the computer's DVD drive. The user then must create a new project and ensure that it is using the project presets for DVD/Hard DRive Camcorders. This is essential!
Once you have done that, he can use Get Media/From DVD or Hard Drive Camcorder to open the Media Downloader. The Media Downloader will copy the video files from the disc to your computer and into your project.
DVD footage will need to be constantly rendered as you work with it. Whenever you place it on the timeline, a red line will appear above it. Press the Enter key to render it -- the red line will turn green when it is rendered.
This should give you very good results, no matter what you output it as.