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Might it be because I have so much footage loaded up as part of the main project?
A combination of circumstances, most likely. MPEG-derivatives get indexed/ conformed for use in Adobe programs, so the following things can happen:
a) The MediaCache directories get full over time. Therefore
b) Looking up the proper conform fiel for a clip may take very long. Plus
c) If you did not change it, the conforms will be inside a sub-folder of your My Files folder, which as a system folder is already very busy.
Those 3 alone could already be enough. In addition, importing from Premiere would also include any conforms created there, which is the whole intention of the system, of course, but in your case may pose a disadvantage. There could be "tainted" parts from no longer valid clips and rendered snippets. So to cut a long story short: flushing the MediaCache and haven AE re-scan everything may solve the issue. I will not rule out, though, that the sheer number of clips could expose some sort of memory leak, so working with reduced project may of course be the only way out then...
My AFX cache files are in seperate HDDs with tonnes of headroom, 60GB and above. The computer I'm using is supposed to be HDV ready. It was built so that I should expect at least the same performance as when doing complex SD work. I have done some minor HDV work with it as projects demand and thought it handled things OK.
I slimmed out the unused footage in the Prem Pro off line and this hasn't made any difference when opened in AFX. I tried the project in my other much slower suite and while it took a long wait before it actually did it, it did actually render a preview. Once! I cant seem to get it to do it again and right now it's as frozen as my new edit suite.
Meanwhile, back in the new "HDV ready" suite things have gone from bad to worse with AFX CS3 not loading completely. I've stripped it out and reinstalled it. I let you know how things go.
I'm sure this isn't how things are meant to be. I don't see why the preview process in AFX should be any different when using HDV or SD. I might expect it to be a bit slower, but in other respects, identical.
Thanks for your help so far. I'll keep you posted, but would appreciate any other thoughts that might help.
Further to last message and just minutes later.....
Well, unexpectedly, after about 20 minutes the old suite has sprung in to life and has rendered the short 10 second preview. I'm watching it now. Oh Joy!
The bad news is that the all singing and dancing HDV ready suite seems to have a new problem. AFX loads OK, but when I clear the cache media data base I get this message: "Run Time error! This application has requested to terminate it in an unusual way. Please contact support team for more information."
AFX promptly closes down.
I'm begining to run out of ideas.