i think i fixed it! i think it was the "playback resolution" which wasn't set on full, so i set it on full and seems to be ok? but i welcome peoples opinions on what import settings i should be using
Yeah, that was probably your issue, depending on what you mean by "distorted."
The playback resolution is great at full, but it can be helpful to turn it down to 1/2 or 1/4 if you're working with really heavy-duty footage (I keep mine at 1/4 when I edit with RED footage, for example). If you experience significant stuttering in your playback or have difficulty with it playing smoothly (audio will continue and video will jump or won't play, etc.) then just drop that playback resolution back down to 1/2 or 1/4. That lowered playback res will NOT affect your final output--it'll look just fine when you get it exported.