DV users have the easiest ride through the Project Settings interface. The beauty of DV is that it should not suffer any quality degradation throughout the entire video-capturing and editing process. If you create a project in DV, you always can change the output settings to whatever you want, whenever you want. DV gives you flexibility and keeps things simple.
So if your "raw" video is DV, then your choices are easy. If you're in North America, Japan, or Korea you'll most likely use DV-NTSC. In Australia, China, South America, or most of Europe you'll probably use DV-PAL. And if you're in France, Africa, or the Middle East, SECAM is the TV standard.
NTSC, PAL, SECAM?what's with all the different standards? National Television Standard Committee (NTSC) is clearly the worst of these three TV standards. It has only 525 lines of resolution, versus the higher-definition 625 lines for Phase Alternate Line (PAL) and 819 lines for Sequential Couleur A'memorie (SECAM). Because of NTSC's tendency toward color variability, engineers jokingly refer to it as "Never The Same Color." There is a glimmer of hope: North America is grudgingly elbowing the higher-resolution PAL and SECAM folks aside with High-Definition TV (HDTV), which is set for full adoption in the United States by 2003.
You have only three other real options within the DV environment (other than NTSC, PAL, or SECAM): Real-time Preview, screen width, and audio.
Real-time Preview is new to Premiere 6.5. If you have a reasonably fast system, selecting a preset from this list means you can view video effects and transitions between clips in real time without rendering. Even if you don't opt for Real-time Preview now, you can easily select it later.
Screen width depends on the source: wide screen (16:9 aspect ratio) or the standard 4:3 ratio. Your most likely choice is "standard" because few camcorders have a true wide-screen setting.
Many camcorders do offer a faux 16:9 option but accomplish that by merely cutting off the top and bottom of the image and interpolating information to stretch the remaining image. You end up with a wide-screen image with 20% less video data in it. Some higher-end camcorders do create true 16:9 views with larger CCDs or "anamorphic" lens adapters.
Your preset audio options are 32 KHz and 48 KHz (44 KHz is music CD quality audio). KHz is the audio "sampling" rate?in these cases, 32,000 or 48,000 samples per second. The higher the sampling rate, the closer the digital sound mirrors its original source. Rule of thumb: Because most DV camcorders record audio at 48 KHz, you should choose that figure.