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First thing you should do is upgrade to CS4 4.1
Then also run HDtach on your array and tell us what the average read transfer rate is for that device.
know of a utility like HD tach which runs on a mac?
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Don't shoot the messenger because he is bearing bad news!
Get a more powerful computer. The one you have is way underpowered for AVCHD material. Your processor is too slow, you do not have sufficient memory, your disk configuration is below standard. That about sums it up.
Bet your salesperson never told you that next to the camera, you needed a new computer...?
He is eagerly awaiting your return to the shop and has already prepared your order. All you have to do is sign and pay....
PS. Even on 8-core Macs with 16 GB RAM, people are struggling with AVCHD.
As Harm points out, with AVCHD material, one needs a stout machine to edit smoothly. A Quad-core is considered the bare minimum. Dual-Quads is obviously better. More RAM is very good, and an improved I/O sub-system with a minimum of 3x internal fast HDD's is required. More, with proper allocation will help too. A RAID for the media files will not be overkill.
With a minimum of 3x SATA II internals, I can easily edit to/from a FW-800 external. However, I am ONLY doing so with SD material. I'd not be doing so with HD, and would never probably attempt to do it with AVCHD material.
The news is not good, but seems to be oft delivered with great regularity, regarding editing AVCHD material.
thank you all so much for your help!
with all due respect gentlemen, the computer is not the problem.
I just performed a series of tests. using clips shot at 30fps 60i, and 30 fps progressive, I imported them into a new project with the correct sequence settings and did a bunch of quick edits+mashups. they play back like a charm, with itunes playing music AND a file transfer going on from a usb drive to the raid concurrently.
the problem is that premiere THINKS that the 24fps clips are 29.97, and they are not.
now I'm not denying I'm underpowered for full on pro video editing of avchd, but all I'm trying to do is a few simple edits, be able to watch them in the timeline, and export them...
I will try updating my software. if anyone has any other ideas, I will be forever in your debt.
Is he correct? Does PPro get it wrong and therefore render a confused, choppy final clip of 24fps stuff?
I have seen the 29.97 designation for my Canon HF S11 24fps files, too, and as well the choppiness in the timeline/program monitor AFTER rendering. This has nothing to do with computer power, as I, too, have had fine playback from 30p and 60i material.
So, we actually didn't address his point here, maybe being a bit too forward with our ideas of the massive power needed to do fast AVCHD work (is that a contradiction in terms?) and not reading carefully.