I am trying to export edited HDV footage from my Canon HV20 using Premiere Elements 3 into an MPEG-2 file. The original footage was captured by PE directly from the camera, and it came in with a .mpeg extension (an mpeg transport stream). The original mpeg has amazing quality both in sharpness and colour. After trimming it down from 20 minutes to 5 minutes using PE, I exported it as an MPEG. I made sure the quality settings are set to the best. But the final output file has a clear degraded quality - the sharpness is gone, and the video looked much contrasty (is that the right term?) than the original. The output file has a huge size as well - almost 100 MB for each minute of video.

I also tried to export it as an AVI. This time the original sharpness is preserved, but the video still looked 'contrasty'. Worse .. I got a 4GB avi file for just 5 minutes of video!!

I've seen videos (mostly mpeg) people posted in other DV forums, that have a much smaller size per minute and also a great picture quality. I'm wondering what's their trick? Does it have anything to do with codec selection? If that's the case, what's the best codec out there for MPEG conversion?

Another question. Is there a way to export the edited footage in the same format as the original footage - without compressing? In my case, it's an mpeg transport stream.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Btw, I'm using Windows XP on a 3.4 GHz Pentium-4 CPU and 1.2 GB RAM.

- anil.