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There are several issues to consider here. Your material was shot from 18 meters (nearly 60 feet) away from the subject. The pixelization to which you refer is almost undoubtedly the result of trying to crop a very low resolution image. 640×480 is DV quality and really can’t tolerate much cropping; the more you zoom in the greater the pixelization.
Sony Vegas 5 was problematic from its inception many years ago; the program is currently in version 13. Version 5 was certainly not designed to handle many of today’s file formats. 3gp is a format designed primarily for cell phones. It’s anybody’s guess what happens when this format is run through a converter such as xilisoft. This is exemplified by your assertion that neither xilisoft’s version of AVI or MOV will play in Vegas 5. AVI files coming from a DV camera will play in Vegas 5 without any problem.
If your files came into our shop I would try a couple of things: try changing the file extension from 3gp to mp4. If this doesn’t work, try converting the files to mp4. These almost certainly will not play in Sony Vegas 5, so see if you can find someone with a later version of Vegas or with another non-linear editing program. Try converting the files to mp2. Try converting to wmv format and see if you can open that file in Windows Movie Maker.
Hopefully others on the forum will have helpful ideas as well.