Are you monitoring playback on an external monitor connected via a DV device (eg. DV camera, A/D converter, etc.)? If so, there is a bug in PPro that causes the program monitor to freeze during playback, unless "External Audio" is selected in the Playback Settings.
Other possibility is the source media itself. Most often this kind of behavior is caused by people trying to edit media that was intended solely for viewing, such as downloaded off the Internet, shot with a still camera, ripped, etc.. The solution is to not edit such media, but (at least with Premiere) to use only professional media formats from cameras that you shot yourself.
My media is absolutely fine, shot myself from DV cam and has always been editable and playable in Premeire before.
i don't use an external monitor atm, I rely on the premiere playback window which has worked fine up until now with Windows 7
could it be that windows 7 doesn't have the overlay drivers even though it says it's installed okay?
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I'd blame Windows 7, then. Seeing how it's not officially released, and not officially supported or tested with Premiere Pro yet, you're kind of on your own. Not the answer you want, but is the truth.
I'd actually not blame Windows 7. I've not had this issue using either 32 or 64 bit Windows 7 RC with that type of media.
Using that media, my next guess would be a graphics driver issue. Have you another card you might test? (Preferably ATI, as there has been some nVidia funkiness in the past with CS4.)
I also have just started using Prem Pro CS4 on Win XP Prof 64bit. I cant preview video or audio. All video files are CG generated Quicktime. I never had any problems with my old version of Premiere. I'm running a nVidia Quadro FX4500.
OK. It's only 5 minutes since I complained about no play back. Now it's working! The thing I changed was in Preferenceces > Audio Hardware. It was set to 'Premiere Pro WDM Sound' but when I changed it to 'Adobe Default Windows Sound' everything worked! Guess I can go home now. High Five!
Glad that you got it sorted. I've found that sometimes just asking a question immediately leads me to the answer - even before a response. I saw this all of the time in civil engineering. Just walking into another office to ask the question, often lit the lightbulb.
Good luck, and unfortunately, you can't award yourself "points" for the correct answer.