I am a newbie with editing software, so forgive me if my technical terms are incorrect.

I am trying to create a fan edit for my own entertainment. I have no issues with ripping the movie (using Mac the Ripper), and I think convert correctly using Mpeg Streamclip, as it looks good in my FCE viewer/canvas. But after I render it, the picture looks muddy and pixelated, particularly during action scenes.

So scanning the forums, I think I may have problems in two areas.....

1.) I don't think I am using the right settings on Mpeg.

Here's what I have been doing:

COMPRESSION: Apple DV/DVC PRO NTCS with the INTERLACED option at 100% quality
plus I leave the INTERLACED SCALING and REINTERLACED CHROMA checked, match the field settings (upper/lower) and enter the frame rate

But I think now, after reading through the forums, that this is INCORRECT? Could you guide me through what settings I should be using?
Someone told me Final Cut Express has use APPLE INTERMEDIATE codecs?

2.) I don't think I have the correct settings in Final Cut Express.

To be honest, I just jumped in to using the program and never even fully considered altering the preset settings. And now looking at them, I find all the choices a bit overwhelming and confusing. Could you direct me in the matter as well?

Also, when exporting, would I use QUICKTIME CONVERSION or just QUICKTIME MOVIE? I originally used Quicktime Conversion, but someone suggested to use the other....

3.) And the final and most painful question, the current project I have made in FCE (probably using the wrong MPEG settings) is there any way to save it/fix it or will I have to rebuild again from scratch? When you change the settings in FCE, can you apply them to a previous project instead of just a new one?