The aspect ratio issue could be related to your source footage. Not all video formats carry their pixel aspect ratio information with them.
What type of camcorder did this video come from and how did you get it into your computer?
I'm not sure if DVD functionality is allowed in the trial version of the program -- but you will see an Adobe watermark logo on any footage processed or encoded with the trial version. But you should be able to go to Share/Personal Computer/AVI to output a proof to see if the video is outputting in widescreen. I've never heard of a 5:4 aspect ratio for consumer video, so it could well be that your video is non-standard enough that the program can't interpret its pixel aspect ratio.
I'm glad to hear you're finding to program to your satisfaction! Make so you go to the Help menu and select Check for Updates to ensure you have the latest updates.
So people appear really, really tall and thin. Shouldn't it be "spread out" to 16:9?
When this happens, it is most often a mismatch between the source footage and the Project Preset. Also, as Steve says, the PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratio) info is often lost from the file's header info. If THAT is the case, you should be able to use Interpret Footage to force PrE to see the footage correctly - provided that the source material IS 16:9. Also, different cameras handle 16:9 in different ways. That is why Steve asked for the full specs. on your camera and you footage.
PS - Welcome to the forum
The camera in question is a JVC Everio GZ-MG575AG, and the standard pixel resolution is 720 × 576, which is 5:4 ratio. But if I play the clips on the camera, they are shown in 16:9. So apparently, frame size ratio and aspect ratio isn't necessarily the same thing. Be gentle with me – I'm new at this...
Being quite paranoid after using CyberLink software (if you haven't already tried it, never do), I just copied the files directly to my computer through a USB connection. So the clips are a bunch of *.MOD files, numbered in hex. Imagine that... hex? Who on Earth got that silly idea? Luckily, Premiere Elements can sort by date/time...
Also, as Steve says, the PAR (Pixel Aspect Ratio) info is often lost from the file's header info. If THAT is the case, you should be able to use Interpret Footage to force PrE to see the footage correctly - provided that the source material IS 16:9.
Hmmm... I don't seem to have access to the Interpret Footage menu. But I'll mess around with it tonight.
As to my second question, it turns out that the DVD-Rs I was trying to use are not compatible with my burner or something else in my computer. Christ! How difficult can it be to follow a common standard? Imagine what it would have been like 10 -15 years ago, if some VCRs could only record on TDK or Maxell tapes, and other machines needed BASF?
I've included a screenshot with the project settings, just in case you can use it for something. Premiere has detected the 720 × 576 all right, and I thought the PAL Widescreen 16:9 stuff would fix the aspect ratio. Clearly, there are things I need to learn.
Thanks a lot for your help. I appreciate it.
Bill and Steve: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
That did it! When I figured out how to use it, I selected all the clips and used the Interpret footage thing. It worked instantly!
I'll try to burn a DVD tonight, even though it will have that banner on it. And then I'll probably buy this magnificent product.