Welcome to the forum.
With the mini-DVD files, only the VOB's will contain the AV files (MPEG-2 in this case). John T. has linked to an article, that will give you more info and background. One problem with mini-DVD cameras is that the DVD's usually need to be "finalized" in the camera, to get them ready for use in an NLE. If 100% DVD-compliant and finalized, the VOB's should Import just fine in CS5, but there can be differences, and problems, depending on the camera, or device.
In the workflow that you describe, I would check that the mini-DVD's are finalized and then just Copy them to your HDD. You should have a VIDEO_TS folder with the IFO, BUP and VOB files inside. Try Importing just the VOB's into your Project, and see if you get what you want, with no truncation. Also note that the first VOB might also contain some navigation and maybe rudimentary Menus, along with the first part of the MPEG-2 file. Depending on the Duration, the MPEG-2 material might span more than one VOB. Do not recall the allowable Duration of a mini-DVD camera, so you might not have more than one VOB and hence no spanning of the MPEG-2.
I have finalized the DVD's and copied the VIDEO_TS file to my hard drive. When I go to import only the VOB files into premier they only show up as 10 second clips, even though the VOB file will play in VLC player and is over 20 minutes long.
I have 2 VOB files and both of them are drastically shortened when imported into Premier.
That should not be happening, as PrPro, as of CS4.2 has included the ability to Import 100% DVD-compliant VOB's.
Just a guess, but I'd say that the camera is not outputting 100% DVD-compliant VOB's.
Good luck, and maybe a user of that camera will have some tips for you. As I do not edit VOB's (the container format with the MPEG-2's inside), I am only stating very general processes here.
sorry for the delay. I am still having issues importing into Premiere with the .VOB files. I was able to copy them to my HDD but now when I import the .vob files i still get a file that is only seconds long despite the fact that it is over 20 minutes in VLC. Also, I turned one of the files into .mpg and it imported just fine and had the correct running time, but I had no audio with it. Anyone know what could be causing this?
Tools to Convert to DV-AVI http://forums.adobe.com/thread/415317?tstart=0
Convert your files to DV-AVI Type II with 48KHz 16-bit Audio
I have NOT used the products below, I only forward due to other mentions
$90 http://www.magix.com/us/movie-edit-pro/ plus $5 Ship
$70 http://www.nchsoftware.com/prism/index.html Converter
$40 http://www.deskshare.com/dmc.aspx Digital Media Converter
$00 http://www.dvddecrypter.org.uk/ or http://www.mrbass.org/dvdrip/
$00 http://www.squared5.com/ MPEG Streamclip Converter
$00 http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html Multi-Converter <-- supposed to be very good
$00 http://www.virtualdub.org/ Mpeg to AVI Converter
The cause is that the camera is not producing 100% DVD-compliant VOB's. This is very common with DVR devices, but less so with most mini-DVD cameras. I forget now, but were the mini-DVD's finalized in the camera?
John T. has listed a bunch of DVD ripping tools. Those would be where I would look, and then just Import the MPEG-2 files into PrPro. If the ripping software cannot get you the Audio, then I would rip that with a program like Audition, Soundbooth, or the great, free Audacity, and Save_As PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit and then Import those WAV files, placing them in sync with the Video files.