When you started your Premiere Elements project, did you set it up for DV video? I'm assuming you did.
How do you anticipate using the 720x480 .mp4? Where will you display it? Online? YouTube? On an iPod/iPod? Or do you plan to use it in another editing project or to create a DVD?
There may be a more efficient output format that doesn't give you such troubling playback.
Thanks for your quick reply.
Yes, the project was set up as DV.
Oddly enough, if I import the same exact video from the camcorder via Firewire into iMovie, and then take the resulting .dv file(s), bring them into Premiere, and export them as MP4, it works fine.
It's unedited video by the way.
I'm using MP4 as an archive for the DV tape (I had been using MPEG2 prior to getting a Mac, but it's not very Mac-friendly). I would use the MP4 as computer or TV playback, as well as a source for a video DVD.
iMovie's exports are very poor (fuzzy) compared to Adobe or MPEG Streamclip. That's why I'd like to import into Premiere & export as MP4.
I'd recommend you use Share/Computer/MPEG with the DVD preset to output video, if you plan to use it later in a DVD. I'm not aware that Macs are MPEG-not-friendly. I've never had a problem playing them. (Although I tend to play them with the VLC player rather than the Quicktime player.) They look as good as the original, and they're the ideal source for DVD video (which are, as you know, MPEGs).
If you're determined to save your video as an .mp4, try Share/Portable Device/iPad. This should produce a nice, efficiently-sized .mp4 that Quicktime should definitely have no issues playing.
I found the Quicktime player tends to show tearing (apparenly an interlacing artifact) with MPEG2. This goes away if you playback a progressive file.
Just for further background, if I take the .mov file that Premiere creates when I import the DV video, and use MPEG Streamclip to convert it to MP4, that works fine.
So, it seems to be some internal Premiere problem between it's own .mov and the MP4 it's creating. I think it's a bug.
MPEG Streamclip's MP4 encoder is happy with the Premiere .mov file, and Premiere's MP4 encoder is happy with iMovie's .dv file. So, something's not right inside Premiere.
Anyway, thanks for your help & suggestions.