The only way to capture short portions from a DVD and edit them in Premiere Elements is to use a DV bridge, like the ADS Pyro AV Link, or a camcorder with a pass-through, per the FAQs to the right of this forum.
You could also record short portions from your DVD player into your miniDV camcorder and then capture that over FireWire -- although few of today's camcorders allow for recording.
Well, you may have a bit of work cut out for you. The VHS/DVD deck authors a DVD with VOB's containing the tapes data, compressed to MPEG-2, the spec. for DVD-Video. The VHS tapes' data is spanned across several VOB's probably, with the first one also containing some Menuing and navigation. There are ripping programs that will extract just the MPEG-2 AV material, and some will both combine the spanned material into one single file. A few will even let you do rudimentary editing of the material.
First problem with just Importing will be the Quality. MPEG-2 is highly compressed and is GOP. Next, the Menuing and navigation will possibly preclude your using a direct Import. PrE will Import 100% DVD-compliant (very important) VOB's, but most DVR's and VHS/DVD decks do NOT create 100% DVD-compliant discs.
I use such a deck, but ONLY use the DVD function to archive from VHS. I have the deck hooked to an A-D bridge, and will just use the deck's playback and Capture from the tape, bypassing the DVD function completely for this process. One could also use a video camera w/ pass through capabilities, to do this via FireWire.
This ARTICLE will give you some background on VOB's. Be sure to follow the links down-thread, as they link to other articles and to some tools.
Thanks for the responses. One of my old Sony camcorders had pass-through and maybe that will solve the issue at least for a while. I made my first little test video off a single capture from one of the DVDs. That was a lot of work and takes up a lot of extra hard drive space. For now, I'll keep dubbing entire tapes to DVD as backups and deal with the smaller, edited clips separately.
The beauty of doing the Capture from the VHS side of the deck though some sort of A-D device/pass through, is that you can cue up the tape and just Capture the portions that you want. In most of my VHS transfers, I DO want the entire tape, but in some, only a snippet. If your older vid-camera does have pass through and a FW connector, that would be my choice.
To follow up, it took a while to find all the cables and connections, but I finally connected everything successfully. I managed to get one of the old Sony camcorders to pass through some test video clips.Should work for my needs.
Great news. You should now be able to Capture, just the segments that you want.
Your DVD will be having multiple .vob files. You can import individual vob files using the APD in PRE.
However if you want to capture a small part within a vob file than that is not possible.
I have NOT used those products, I only forward due to other mentions
Edit Vob http://premierepro.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ:How_do_I_import_VOB_files_/_edit_a_DVD%3F
$70 http://www.nchsoftware.com/prism/index.html Converter
$40 http://www.deskshare.com/dmc.aspx Digital Media Converter
$00 http://www.squared5.com/ MPEG Streamclip Converter
$00 http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html Multi-Converter
$00 http://www.virtualdub.org/ Mpeg to AVI Converter