Although technically the program should be able to go directly from AVCHD to DVD, here's the best way to ensure a problem-free production.
1) Make sure your project is properly set up for AVCHD. Add your camcorder's footage and edit your movie. (Note that you will need a good quad core or i7 processor to work with AVCHD efficiently.)
2) Go to Share/Computer/AVI to output your movie as a DV-AVI.
3) Open a new project with standard DV settings. Add the DV-AVI and place it on your timeline.
4) Add your scenes and menus and Share/To Disc to create your DVD. (I always choose the option to Burn the DVD files to disc and then use a program like ImageBrn to burn this VIDEO_TS folder to a DVD -- another way to avoid a potential trouble spot.)
I like Steve's method, as it keeps the workflow in PrE, from start to finish.
Jeff Bellune, noted author (not as prolific as our Steve though), and PrPro Forum MOD, has a TUTORIAL in HD to SD, that offers another workflow, with very high quality. That might be worth a look.
I am not worried about speed or ease of editing or work flow but rather ending up with the highest picture quality DVD with minimum artifacts and compression.
Are you sayng I will get better video quality using PE9 to pre-convert the HD to SD before editing, then burning the DVD from that as opposed to making the edit in original AVCHD and converting the final edited HD to SD and then burning the DVD?
I also wondered if another program that specialised in converting would be better to use rather than using PE9 which is primarily an editing program.
As an example PE9 does a bad job of resizing any AVCHD. Just a slight increase in size noticably degrades the resolution.
Premiere Elements does an excellent job of downconverting from AVCHD,if your original project is set up to match the video specs of your original AVCHD.
The resolution will be much lower, of course, since you're going from hi-def to standard definition video. But, if done as described above, you should get excellent quality.
I have just completed 9 Blu-ray Discs from Premiere Elements 4 using the mt2 files from Premiere Pro , just click on>Share>Blu-Ray Disc> either H.264 or HDV mpeg-2> fit to disc as recommended by Adobe(see manual) to retain quality.The results on a Sony Bravia 1920 x 1080 x 46" were impressive.