I import the files and put them on the timeline. Everything gets very laggy at this point even though my CPU and RAM aren't sky high. Then it crashes when I'm almost finished rendering. Happens every time with .M2TS files.
I had a similar issue. I'm using Cineform and when I go to export movie, I select 'Cineform M2T' setting. It crashed during the last few seconds of export. However, the 16 min clip seemed to be okay. I successfully exported it back to tape using HD link, which was my intended purpose.