Therefore, I just need to figure out which file type to convert my files to... Does anyone out there have any suggestions???
If you're going to be editing, you just want simple uncompressed .avi files.
They will be large, but the easiest for you computer to manipulate.
The free utility Super that was suggested above is great for mass-converting videos from one type to another and you should grab a copy of it; it will come in handy.