It all depends on the codec, compression and other features of your video files, Curt. An AVI can be any of hundreds of codecs. You certainly can't put an MP4 in and get an AVI out that's the same size.
If your video converter is creating a true DV-AVI 720x480 and you are using it in a Premiere Elements DV project, the DV-AVI you output from Premiere Elements will be indentical to it. (Assuming you haven't added effects, etc., to it, of course.)
Since you are using an H.264 codec for your AVI, you're using a completely different codec, so of course there's going to be a pretty dramatic difference in the file sizes.
Have you got a copy of one of my books? I explain much of this in them.
The main point is that Premiere Elements uses a DV-AVI workflow when working with standard definition video. That means that the ideal video format you'll want to use in your standard-def project is an AVI using the DV codec. In fact, is you use this as your source footage, you won't even need to render it on your timeline.
For working with hi-def, the ideal format is the M2T, an MPEG-2 at 1440x1080 using HDV compression. When used in a Premiere Elements HDV video, it will not need to be rendered when you add it to the timeline.
But this won't work with just any file format. You need to know your program's workflow and add files that are compatible with it.
I've got the book now, Steve, and have already cleared up a lot of space in my head ;-) .
I haven't even gotten to the output part of the process, but I'm reading about all the rendering problems and right now I'm experimenting with rendering in PE9 (wow, that does take a long time!). I'm wondering if this all goes away if one converts all the clips into DV-AVI's using MPEG Streamclip or Super Video Converter?
Most of it will, Jordan.
If you convert you video to DV-AVIs before you bring it into Premiere Elements, you'll only need to render video that you add effects or transitions to!
And thanks so much for supporting the book!
Steve has covered the high-points of file size and compression via CODEC's. This ARTICLE will give you more background on CODEC's, the building blocks of AV files.
Quality vs file size is a very intricate balancing act. Often, and depending on the subject matter, one might need to experiment, and be prepared to make compromises.
For the formats and their CODEC's, that mention, the main element will be the bit-rate, as that will both determine quality (higher bit-rate = higher quality, but also larger file sizes). It is very close to the PS JPEG settings - higher JPEG compression = smaller files, but at the expense of quality. Video is the same, and the resultant bit-rate is the key.
Thanks for the reply. I really tried to make Premier Elements work, but have to throw in the towel.
It appears that PE is designed to work best with original video out of a camera. or at least non-compressed video. I use video I get from the web and it is in WMV and various flavors of AVI.
When I edit and then render the video it has heavy interlacing. If I convert to another format which minimizes the interlacing, edit and then render the videom it has a warbly appearance.
So I guess I will try PowerDirector and see how that fits.
Really wanted to use PE as I like the option of visiting the forum to get questions answered.
I can't help but conclude from all this that video is still a new and blooming technology. I had no idea there would be such a big learning curve on the technical end when I got into this (and unfortunately I am plaqued with a perfectionism that makes me want to learn every last scrap of it). The good news seems to be that PE9 will load everything I feed it, so far, but it will take a lot less time to get the job done if you learn to handle work flow more efficiently.
The other good news is that we're all pioneers in a new technology and that always can mean OPPORTUNITIES.
I understand. I use several NLE programs, such as Magix, CyberLink and even WMM. Actually, my PrE is really but a tool to get things smoothly into PrPro, which is my main NLE. Plus, I use a couple of pure conversion programs (the other NLE's are basically sophisticated conversion programs, with other capabilities).
PrE, and PrPro, each do much better with original camcorder footage, and I try to get to that, whenever possible. Still, some clients hand over all sorts of "stuff," and I need to find the best way to work with some of that. As I really, really like PrPro (and PrE), I will do the conversion in other programs, if neither of the Adobe programs work with the footage smoothly. It' like the big roll-away toolbox in my garage. I've got Snap-On, Craftsman, Stanley, MAC and many other brands of tools. Some are highly specialized, and I am always adding new ones, as are needed. One's toolbox (think of a computer's Video editing programs here) can never be too full.
If CyberLink works well for you, there is no shame in using it. I have an older copy, and with some DivX/Xvid material, just open it up to convert and clean up the material, before I Import and edit it. Whatever works best, is my policy.
PS - it's the same with my Photoshop. I use Corel Painter for some stuff, and would not be without it. Just tools in that "toolbox."