I have an AVI file that is extremely high quality when I open it in Windows Media Player. It is a screen capture of a software demonstration using a windows program. As such it contains windows within the program that contain movies along with the usual things that can be clicked on to work with an application (text buttons etc.) Everything is crystal clear, text, pictures and embedded movies. The screen capture settings used are "1280"x"720", 25fps, MPEG-4 encoder, xvid fourcc.
When I open the clip in the source window there is some degradation that I can easily see. In the program window the degradation is even more dramatic. Exporting the sequence (h264 in order to keep all orignal import settings, with the exception of fps which goes to 29.97) to an mp4 and then opening the mp4 in Windows Media Player shows just how bad the degradation is. The text part of the video (showing the text in the application) is very blurred and jagged.
I'm new to Premiere Pro so I assume I'm doing something wrong. I have spent hours reading instructions and searching for solutions on the internet, all to no avail. What am I doing wrong?
I am sorry, but Xvid is anything but high quality. It is a very heavily-compressed CODEC, designed for the delivery only of streaming material. It is not meant to be edited. I am surprised that you can even Import Xvid (or DivX) into PrPro.
Can you output that video screen capture without the Xvid?
I did not see mention of the program used for that video screen capture, but this ARTICLE will give you tips on using Camtasia, or CamStudio. There are links in there, and be sure to read all replies by Jeff Bellune, in any of those links, as he does this often, and with great results.
Try CamStudio (if you aren't already).
Codec: Microsoft Video 1
This has worked well for me anyways