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It sounds like you're indavertantly Videomerging your clips.
When you add your video to your project's timeline, you quite likely see either a pop-up window offering to Smart Fix your video and/or a pop-up window offering to apply Videomerge. Make sure you do not select the Videomerge option.
If you're not seeing this box, you may have turned on the option to Always Videomerge.
To turn this off, go to Edit/Preferences and check the option to Show All Do Not Show Messages. Then, next time you add a clip and you see the Videomerge option, select No and then click the Do Not Show option to permanently turn this automatic feature off.
Thanks for your prompt reply, but that didn't seem to do the trick. I was ble to turn the video merge dialogue box back on, but whether I hit yes or no, the issue persists. Even before I drag clips onto the timeline, the background appears black when they're sitting in the media tray.
The problem may well be with your original video then.
When you place your video on yoru timeline, is there a red line above it? If so, you have a mismatch between your video and your project setting.
What type of camcorder did your video come from and how did you get it into your computer? MOVs from non-camcorder sources can be pretty iffy in this program because they can be made up of any of hundreds of possible codecs, most of which are incompatible with Premiere Elements.
Also, which project settings did you select when you set up your Premiere Elements project?
Have you ensured you have the latest version of Quicktime?
It appears that there is an Alpha Channel in the TGA files, and that PrE is using that as a "mask."
As a test, place one of those files above some other Video, or still, and see if what you now see as "black" is actually Transparent.
Check the TGA's for an Alpha Channel.
I am not sure how is this possible!! Are you saying that, when you click on "NO" in the Videomerge dialog, it still keys out your blue background? Can you put some other clip on the timeline and then drop this blue sky clip on it. Do you have the same effect?
Can you attach your .mov file on the forum, maybe we can also give it a try?
Yes! I'm pretty sure there is an alpha channel that's making it transparent. I can overlay one video on another, and yes, there is a red line above my videos. Do you have any ideas which settings I should use for the project? It is a .mov file from sequenced TARGA files I rendered in Maya. Unfortunately, I do not know how to upload the file, and it would probably be too big anyway.