What file format are your videos in? It's very important that you have the program's project set up to match these files and, in some cases, it may be necessary to convert these files to a format Premiere Elements can work with.
That said, how you work with them at this point depends on whether you want to use this external drive as a second hard drive or not. (If you're using a laptop, this might be a good idea, since laptops rarely have the hundreds of gigabytes of free space video editing usually requires. But in order to do this, it's very important that the drive be formatted NTFS rather than FAT32, as drives are from the factory.)
1) If you're going to edit off the hard drive, connect it to your laptop and create a new Premiere Elements in a new folder on your drive. (Again, this project MUST be set up to match the video file format you're editing!) Then you just go to the Organize tab and select Get Media/From Files and Folders and browse to the video files. They will be added to your Project panel, from which you can draw then to create your movie.
2) If you'd rather edit off your computer's C drive, then you should use Windows to move all of the video files from your external hard drive to your computer -- then create a Premiere Elements project inside a new folder on your C drive and, again, use Get Media to add the video files to it.
And, if you'd like DETAILED help, check out my books, available on Amazon.com and at the Muvipix store.
BTW, how fast is your processor, how much RAM do you have and how much free, defragmented space is on your computer? Particularly with laptops, which are built for portability rather than speed, it's importat that you have a good, powerful one if you're going to edit video on it.
One last question to add to Steve's list, what is the connection type for the LaCie external? That can be important too.
Thank you for trying to help me, Steve and Bill. Let me try to re-clarify the situation.
I purchased a brand new lacie d2 quadra external hard drive and took it to the person that I hired who worksconverts old home movies to a digital format. Rather than having him transfer the movies to DVDs, I had him transfer all the movies onto this lacie external hard drive.
Now, I am going to transfer them FROM the hard drive onto my PC, and the, use Premiere to edit them, on my PC.
After reading your email below, I called the movie transfer guy and asked him what file format the files on the external hard drive were in. He said "AVI", which was not one of the options below. I hope that is OK.
I have to call Lacie tomorrow morning anyway, because the CD with the drivers was not in the box. So I will also ask them. I am using a FireWire 800 connection. The Lacie is equipped for that; my computer didn't have that connection but I got a plug-in card w/a FireWire 800 port, so that is how I am doing it.
So what I was really trying to ask was this:
Step by step, how do I (as you say below)
Your person needs to clarity which codec (compression method) he used to create that AVI. It could be one of hundreds.
Or you can download this tool, load your file into it and post a screen capture of the results on this forum. We'll figure it out and tell you how to proceed.
A lot of good things being done here!
Not transferring the material to DVD is a positive step, as it eliminates one major compression step. If the AVI is using the DV-AVI Type II, it does not get better than that. Those files will edit very nicely and easily. Unfortunately, as Steve points out, "AVI" is a wrapper, and can contain a lot of different "stuff." This ARTICLE will give you some background. The technician should know exactly what the specs of the files are, or, as mentioned, you can use G-Spot to look inside that AVI wrapper.
A FW-800 connection is almost as good as it gets, with eSATA being even better. Still, I edit to/from FW-800 externals, and they perform very, very well.
I can try to get the info from the guy who created the AVI later on today.
I did download the tool -- this is all a bit "above" my tech-y skills.
I have a screen open that says "convert" and I put one of the files in the space that says "input video file"
But I don't know what I am supposed to put in the space that says "output folder" so that you will end up with a screen capture. Sorry to have to be "hand-held" through all of this.
Something does not sound quite right. G-Spot is a file info utility, and the GUI should look like this:
One just drags an AV file to the program, and it will give them all the info on that file. Note: the image above was used for a user, who needed the Audio info. For your case, the important info will be in the upper-right area of the screen - the Video CODEC.
I called the person who transferred the movies to the external hard drive, using AVI. He said that he didn't use any compression at all. Does that tell you what you need to know to answer my prior questions?
I think it's pretty unlikely he used "no compression at all." If he did, the files would be massive!
Take the advice we suggested a few posts back. Download G-spot Video Indentifier, open one of your AVIs in it and then post a screen shot of its info screen here so Bill and I can see it.