I've a few questions about your Project:
1.) What was the Project Preset used - the full specs. please?
2.) Did you Scale the images in PS to match that Frame Size, or was there still Scale to Frame work being done?
3.) When Scaling was done in PS, what Scaling Algorithm was used, i.e. Bucubic Sharper, Bicubic Smoother?
4.) What were the exact Export/Share settings chosen?
When I am faced with working with stills, that are not in the Aspect Ratio of my Project, I often find that the techniques in this ARTICLE can be useful to allowing for verticals, squares, etc. This does not address your question and the issue that you are facing, but might prove useful later on.
Dear Bill. Thanks for the help! I will have to get back to you on Monday when I get in front of Premium Elements again on my work PC at the newspaper office. At home, I am a Mac-olyte. Have a fine weekend.
No rush Doug.
At home, I am a Mac-olyte.
Ah, there's the problem - Mac-cooties!
Good luck, and I hope that it's a simple mis-match, or setting somewhere in the workflow.
Dear Bill (or do you go by 'Hunt'?): Have left my Mac at home and am at work sitting before the Dark Side of the Force ( a.k.a my ACER PC computer ;-). In response to your questions, near as I can figure it out from Premiere Elements 4.0 and the .prel file for the project in question:
1/ Our Export/Share option settings: We export clicking the 'DV AVI' option which offers a preset export called 'DV NTSC Standard'. Details:
- Aspect ration of 4:3 with a frame size of 720 wide by 480 high.
- Pixel aspect ratio says D!/DV NTSC (0.9)
- Display format: 30 fps Drop-frame Timecode
2/ That produces a very large .avi file which we then run through the Adobe Flash CS3 Video Encoder, set to 'Flash 8 - Medium Quality,' Deinterlace, 15 fps, Quality: medium, and we re-size it to our web player dimension with 'Crop and Resize' set to 640 x 425, to produce an .flv file.
3/ The still photos that looked OK in the finished .flv were shot at 1600 X 1200 and resized to 1000 X 750 psd files using the bicubic setting and imported into Elements as psd files. (I may have used Bicubic smoother on them initially, as you have suggested in one of your articles)
3/ The still photos that looked like ka-ka and poo-poo (those are technical terms that mean pixelated and fuzzy) were initially resized in Photoshop from raw files to jpg's at 72 dpi and about 600 to 750 pixels wide using the bicubic setting.
Is that the info you needed? Your aid is greatly appreciated.
(self-taught) multimedia producer (who really should get some formal training, if only his overseers would spring for it)
Either Bill, or Hunt (or even the_wine_snob) will work. Thanks for asking.
OK, you have some ca-ca-poo-poo (I understand those technical terms) images, that started as Camera RAW. They were Scaled (resized) and Save_As JPEG from PS. The good images were Save_As .PSD. My personal observations (debated by some contributors here) indicate that JPEG compression CAN be detected upon critical viewing when going to video. My normal workflow is Camera RAW (Nikon NEF's in my case), and I always Save_As aScaled.PSD, for Import into my NLE. I do have to work with some JPEG original material, and for that, I ALWAYS get immediately to .PSD, and never leave that format. A double-hit of JPEG can be a very ugly thing to my eyes.
In my workflow, the Camera RAW conversion yields a "working" .PSD, where I do fine tuning, like Adjustment Layers, and this is done at 16-bit depth, until I am finished, or nearly finished (some Filters only work in 8-bit), and an intermediate .PSD is Saved, then I rely on my Action to do both the Scaling and finally a conversion to 8-bit, as my NLE's cannot handle 16-bit images. That Action does a Save_As .PSD, which are then Imported. If your workflow is similar, can you run a test, using the intermediate .PSD (working files), and scale, make any bit-depth Mode changes, and then Save_As .PSD, to see if it is the JPEG compression, that is mucking up your images?
Now, there might well be something else causing the drop in quality, and I might be focused too much on JPEG, since I find that it is not my friend. As I suffer mightily from acute tunnelvision, I often overlook alternate causes. JPEG is just too easy a target for me. Still, the test should either confirm my speculation, or poo-poo it, and we can look elsewhere in your workflow.
As for your computer platform, "Douglas, come over to the Dark Side - I am your father... "
Please let us know if the omission of the JPEG compression improves things. Also, since PrE cannot Import_As_a_Sequence (like PrPro can), I'd do the Flattening in PS, prior to the Save_As .PSD, just to keep things our of PrE's hands, as much as possible. That can be written into the Action, as the final set, prior to Save_As.
As an aside, if you have a Camera RAW format, that is 16-bit, I'd keep it there, until you either run up against a Filter that only performs in 8-bit, or as your next-to-last step, before Flatten and Save_As. I find that color and density corrections have much more headroom in 16-bit. Just do not forget to change Mode to 8-bit, near the end.
(I am going to go with Hunt...) Thank you, Hunt. Gonna run the project again with some of these settings and see. Aprreciate it!
If that test does not improve things, we'll keep digging. That you have some good stills, and then some no-so-good stills, all in the same Project, is a good sign, in my book. We just need to find a way to enhance the quality of the not-so-good ones.
Good luck, and let us know,