The problem is most likely with your HDD (hard disk drive) setup. It sounds like you have only one HDD. Is that correct?
If so, you are editing a lot of very equipment intensive footage. First, AVDHC footage is extremely CPU intensive. Next, your Windows Virtual Memory (Page File) is likely extremely active. How large is it set, and is it static, or dynamically managed by Windows?
While 100 GB of free space sounds like a lot, it's not really, especially on just one HDD. Your OS, PE, the Page File and reads/writes for the Scratch Disc files in PE are all fighting to access different places on the platters, and with only one set of heads. This is a big, big log jam. Also, when Transcoding, you have the output file, plus the working files. With 2 hours of footage, you are most likely running out of HDD real estate.
Depending on your system's capabilities, I'd immediately look at adding two more large, fast HDD's: one for all of your media, and one for your Project and all Scratch Discs.
You might be able to clear up more space, and that will likely help. You can also break your Project into two segments, edit them separately, Export to DV-AVI Type II, and then Import those to assemble the final Project. Daily defragmenting of your HDD will likely help a bit too.
I have one HDD, 750Gb. With three partitions. The 100GB+ is for Premiere.
The systems disk, programs and pagefile, is in a different partition.
What is different between burning a DVD and creating the AVI?
From a performance standpoint, the partitions are likely causing an additional bottleneck. The OS "thinks" that it has 3 HDD's to deal with, but there is only one "physical" HDD, and the OS is telling it to be in even more places at the same moment. My recommendation above was for two additional physical HDD's. If you can fit 2 more 750's, can eliminate the partitions (Partition Magic, now from Symantec works well for me), you will love the speed of editing, that you'll pick up. My workstation has 5x 1TB SATA II's, split for NLE performance. If I were doing HD (especially AVCHD) work, I'd add some more HDD's and create a RAID 30, or 50, for my "media" drive.
In lieu of the additional physical HDD's, you might want to look into splitting your Project. I'd do a Save_As for the Project, name it differently (maybe with "Part I" postpended to the name), delete the latter half of the footage. Open the original Project, and do another Save_As, with "Part II" postpended, then delete the first half of the footage. DO NOT do anything with your original Project - just keep it safe. Work on Part I, and when done, Export to DV-AVI Type II. Same for Part II. Then create a new Project and Import those two DV-AVI's into it for final output.
Thanks for your answers.
This is not a disk problem. I used several disks with a lot of free space. (1Tb+)
I reinstalled PE7 and reduced the number of processes using system resources. (no firewall, network, antivirus, etc.)
Created a new smaller project (<30 min) and still get errors and the "very low system memory" message after just a minute or so of starting the encoding process.
This is definitely a memory management issue within PE7.
I've been using Adobe products for years, this is a nice product but not ready for this kind of work. Very unstable.
I guess my only thing to do is try to find somebody at Adobe who can explain the meaning of the error messages.
What does low system memory mean (what? is low) and what happened when you get a transcoding error.
There are reasons why this happens, there must be a way of finding it. (even if it is reading source code....)
Error messages without explanation or a reason that shows a possible solution do not help at all.
By the way I did the avi export and created a new project with that. The result quality is bad.
As far as Resources, remember that there is first RAM, and then Windows' Virtual Memory (Page File). How is it set up on your system? All NLE's make very intensive use of both physical RAM and also the Page File. Either of these can be a bottleneck.
Going to your Export as DV-AVI yielding poor results, I could not find what your source footage is. Did I just miss that? If not, what are you starting with? If you have material that was downloaded, or heavily compressed and converted several times, output might not ever be that good. If you are not sure of what might be contained within, say an AVI "wrapper," G-Spot will give you all of the info on that/those file(s).
After we know the source files, what Export settings are you using? Something is not right, as the Export to DV-AVI Type II, should not have any noticeable degradation from DV-AVI Type II source material.
[Edit] Oops, sorry. I see that you are using 2 hours of AVCHD HD footage, with is compressed MPEG, but in HD format. With 2 hrs. of this source material, I'd expect that you'll need a dual 7i's with a fully optimized system to handle this Project effectively. I got so hung up on the I/O, that I forgot your source footage.
Also, remember that having several large, fast HDD's isn't of that much use to a system, if they are not set up properly, for efficient editing.
Thanks for your answers. I really appreciate your help.
Let me tell you the end of the story.
This IS a memory problem.
I realized that PrE7 will never render the 2Hrs, so I move to two 1Hr DVDs instead of one 2Hrs DL.
After cleaning Windows memory and several tries I got the first one done.
The second part was more difficult.
I killed every process not needed and disable most non-essential windows services.
To get to the point where a 4.5 hours render will break 5 minutes before the end, or sometimes 10 seconds before the end….
My last try was to run Windows in a special mode where the OS only gets 1GB addressable memory and processes gets up to 3GB. [this works if the program is prepared for it, I couldn’t check if PrE7 does or not though, it needs to be LARGEADDRESSAWARE]
In any case this seemed to make the trick and I could render the 55minutes DVD.
I wouldn’t recommend all these changes to a “normal” user.
I know I cannot compare a 1080 quality with a widescreen DVD, but I am not happy with the final rendering. There is a lot of pixelation in the final DVD image.
Going from AVCHD to DVD was the best I could get, any other combination (AVI or MPEG) produces fast motion “ghost” images, may be because of interlacing artifacts I am not sure. At least this is fast, but the pixelation still there.
In the future I will try to find a good quality converter from AVCHD to something that PrE7 could manage without affecting quality.
Just to show you how happy I am with this whole process. I decided to try Premiere CS4 to check if it was more stable and better quality than PrE7.
After a one hour download of the trial, and half an hour for installation and set up, it took me 10 minutes to realize that the trial version doesn’t process AVCHD, no codecs…
Thanks again for your help!
I think as you have found out 2 hours of AVCHD is way to much to work with in PE7 or any other editing program. AVCHD is very computer resource intensive. To work with this long a project it is better to convert to another format.
I also wasted time and electricity using the PE7 pathetic 'product'. Got the cryptic 'transcoding error' at about 16% of a 1 hour HD DVB material attempting to create a DVD. There was no prior warning on any problems with the clips (MPEG2 at 1080i and AC3 audio). Using the freeware VirtualDubMod and related endcoder allowed the transcode to happen painlessly. Why does a commercial product like PE7 fail to deliver basic functionality?
There were no 'system' problems with plenty of RAM (4GB DDR2 1066), QuadCore Intel CPU, stacks of hard drive space, no other processes etc.
This 'transcoding error' was repeatable, had no detailed log explanation other than a cryptic 'X' at the rh bottom of the screen and a very short error message.
Should I send a bill to Adobe for the wasted time=money?
Sure. Knock yourself out.