Try WMV. That usually is pretty fast. I tried a 30 minute HDV timeline encoded to WMV SD, PAL High Quality, 2 pass VBR takes around 25 minutes and 1 pass 12-13 minutes.
For this purpose I usually encode the file as an .iso image file and then mount the image for viewing with Ultra ISO. This goes very fast. Just use your mouse to navigate like you would with a dvd remote.
I just finished a movie slideshow (35 minute movie) and had to change it 5 or 6 times. After the first .iso rendering, I went back and made changes ie. audio, menu video etc and each encoding after that only took a few minutes each. Once you have your final version you can burn the image to DVD in a few minutes and play on any player. Or convert to any format you wish. I had 6 .iso/image files when I was finished and just deleted the 5 I did not want/need.
I also use a raid-0 array on my C/system drive for my temp/work/encode area which speeds up encoding by quite a bit.
For SD material, I found that good-ole plain DV-AVI Type II was the fastest. Did a lot of variations and settings, but the stopwatch always gave the nod to the DV-AVI. Even reducing the resolution and all other settings, did not put MOV, WMV or MPEG into the same realm.
I was looking for ways to get a reference file into SonicFire Pro for scoring, since it is not available as a plug-in, like the SmartSound Pr plug-in. All I wanted was fast, and some image with accompanying Audio to score by. DV-AVI Type II was the winner for my SD footage.
Does not help directly with your HD footage, but sometimes keeping it simple is actually fastest. Get out the stopwatch, and give a few options a whirl.
Good luck, and please report for your HD material, as others will benefit.
How do you encode the video as an iso file? I don't see that option anywhere. Thanks!
I export the file to Encore and then use the build menu for the final output settings and/or also use encore to create any menus or final actions for the video. I believe there is a similar option via premiere but I prefer to use Encore for the final finishing touches and final output or for creating my iso file.
Make changes in premiere, export to encore, build .iso, mount/view >edit and repeat as needed. I believe you can jump to premiere to re edit and the changes are global back in Encore. I am using a system with an Intel P4 3.6 ghz cpu which is much faster than a core 2 duo or quad because of the cpu speed for encoding.
If you have Premiere then you should have Encore also. I've been working with Premiere and related programs since CS1 and it still drives me crazy because I have never found any easy to understand tutorials so I created many of my own.
I hope this is what you are trying to do.
An example for me is to import video clips into encore of old 8mm films, edit the video in premiere, export to Encore and add all the extras to the video/movie, then encode the final output via the Encore build menu usually to an iso/image.