Do you have any control over the format that your agency is sending the files to you in? An MP4 is one of the more challenging formats for Premiere Elements to work with.
You don't say which project settings you're using in Premiere Elements to work with these files -- but the combination of that and your file format could by why you're getting such mediocre results.
If they can send you MOVs using the DV codec rather than the H.264 codec, that would be a good start. You should be able to get great results editing a DV file in Premiere Elements project set up for DV.
I'm not sure why you're outputting your FLV file at those strange dimensions (700x300), but that could also account for your blurriness, since you've down-rezzing the file to a lower resolution. Are these the specs your agency wants your video at?
Finally, how are you judging the quality of your FLV files? What are you playing them on and are you looking at them at 100% actual size or are you looking at them oversized or, worse, at full-screen on your computer? This too can affect your results.
My project settings are AVCHD HD 1080i 30. Is there a better preset to work with when it comes to working with videos that have already been produced? All of the presets seem to indicate that they are to be used if they come from a specific camera format.
the output size is so that they can be used on our wesbite, in a flash player; the actual size is 720px by 395px.
As for judging quality, I'm reviewing them in Adobe's flash player at actual size.
You should definitely not be using a 1920x1080 project setting to edit a 720x480 video, Jeff.
Is it at all possible to get your video with the DV codec? Then you could edit it in a 720x480 DV project.
Otherwise, you're going to get bad results.
Thanks for pointing out the 720x480b dv settings. that change did the trick! The video is still in mpeg-4, but it's crystal clear.
Now for a really, really newbie question, can you please point me to a thread that explains to how better use the presets? I've scoured the Adobe Help section and haven't come across anything when it comes to using presets for working on videos that have already been produced. Is it a trial and error thing?
Thanks for your help,
And, if you want more details, check out my books on Amazon and at the Muvipix book store.
I've also got a free Steve's Tips article available on Muvipix.com. Just type "project presets" into the product search box.
Lot of great stuff on that site, eh?