>anyway to allow it to playback even when the window isn't focused?
As far as I know... no
When the program loses focus, it stops
Is there anyway that elements coiuld recieve midi input and I could use that to modify the video in real time?
That would depend on how your system identifies your midi device. Check Edit> Preferences> Audio Hardware> ASIO Settings >Input.
If your midi device is shown check the tickbox and you should then be able to use the record narration feature to capture the midi output to your timeline.
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
I sometimes use Windows Sniper from unHuman Software ($15.00US) to prevent playback in Premiere Elements from stopping when I change focus to another application. It works on Windows XP, but have no idea if it works on any other operating system. There's a 30 day trial period before you have to register.
There's an "encapsulate" mode in Windows Sniper that will put Premiere Elements in an "enacapsulated" window so that when you change focus to another application's window, Premiere Elements will keep playing back.
After opening Windows Sniper, select "Application" for target mode.
Select the "encapsulate" option
Drag the bullseye to Premiere Elements and drop.
Click "Take out Window."
Now you can test if it works.
To remove the encapsulated window, open Windows Sniper.
Select "Action" from the menu, "Bring Back," and then select Premiere Elements from the list and click ok.
Web page: http://www.unhuman.com/software.html
Direct download: http://www.unhuman.com/files/WinSniper.zip
If you need to register it, you can do it from within Windows Sniper by clicking the "click here to register" icon, which takes you to a RegNow order form. You'll have a hard time trying to find how to register it on the unHuman web pages.
I'm afraid you won't be able to modify the Video in realtime, although you can modify the volume levels during playback using the Audio Mix. And how you would incorporate midi in all this I don't know.
I thought it would be fun to try Windows Sniper again, but when I tried it with Premiere Elements 9 and 10, playback stopped when I changed focus. I could get it to work with Premiere Elements 7.
Update again. Finally got encapsulate mode to work with PRE9 and PRE10. There's a slight change in procedure from what I previously stated. Instead of encapsulating the entire Premiere Elements application window, just encapsulate the Timeline window (includes all tracks and ruler and icons above ruler) using "Parent" as the Target Mode. To get playback started, I had to use the spacebar on the keyboard after I clicked on the Preview panel. You can also encapsulate just the Preview panel (including the navigation controls).
After removing the encapsulation, I used "Windows > Restore Workspace" in Premiere Elements to tidy things up.
Regarding MIDI, I was able to record music on the timeline while the video was playing using the "Record Narration" feature in PRE. Sony Acid Studio 8 was running with input from MIDI keyboard and Master output to the soundcard. In Premiere Elements I was using the Soundcard as input. The computer soundcard recording source was set to Stereo Mix.