11 Replies Latest reply on Oct 28, 2009 5:00 PM by ScreenRighter

    Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4


      New to forum, I see lots of threads on this topic, but I don't see a clear-cut answer for everyone and I really need help so I can finish a project in time. I thought I could list my specs and someone can maybe help me?


      Or is the answer, which some have claimed here, that the software is just not good this time and this is a big problem with no solution unless they fix it in an update?


      In specific, playback is horribly choppy and unwatchable. Sound plays fine, but image gets stuck behind, catches up after numerous edits have been missed and resumes playback, then sometimes slow-mo briefly (or step-framing), sometimes stuck on a frozen image, sometimes plays fine for a little bit, then stutter-freezes, rejoins in progress. Occasionally it stops altogether (including sound) and resumes.


      It is also very slow to react to hitting the space bar to pause it. Continuous playback if I just let it run is acceptable 60% of the time, unwatchable 40%. (Maybe 70% to 30% sometimes.)  Meaning it plays for stretches almost fine and then bogs down, and then gets back up, etc.


      I shot on HVX-200 P2 footage MXF files. HDV.  24p. 720p. My project is 17 minutes long, fully edited sequence, just need to do some brightness corrections on shots. A black and white effect (on all shots) and other brightness effects are added and rendered (green bar).


      I edited on CS3 first and imported to CS4 and now am in horrendous-freezing land.

      (Created new project and imported.)

      I have done all the CS4 updates. I am on 4.1.0


      Here are my specs, just request what it is missing from this list and I will add it:


      MAIN CPU (laptop)

      Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop 5400 rpm

      Internal 136 GB (41.7 GBs free) C:drive

      Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit (SP2)

      Memory: 4.00 GB RAM (I just upgraded and think that is the max on my model, but would upgrade more if possible.)

      Intel Core 2 DUO T7250 2.00 GHZ 2.00 GHZ



      Seagate Free Agent 1.5 TB drive

      Attached via Fire-Wire 400

      7200 rpm


      • The external does have an eSATA output, so I could buy Harm's suggested eSATA-expresscard slot adapter? Will this solve it or just help a tiny bit? I dont' have an eSATA input on the laptop, but I do have an express card slot. That will work?


      • I can probably free up a bit more C:drive space by deleting or moving some preview files of earlier versions.


      • Index drive for faster searching currently ticked on both drives. Coud untick? Big difference? (Need to restart cpu?)


      • Scratch disks (preview files) going to local C: drive folder, it's down several sub folders, I could move it up closer to the root or move all folders to the external? The raw footage (MXF files and music files, etc) are on the external, in a folder that dislays on the root. That is also where I export.


      Oddly have best luck with Highest Quality playback. Draft Quality or Automatic Quality seem to require CPU "thinking" (??) that slows them down even further?  On timeline I have "show heads" thumbnails turned off and only show the titles so it doesn't need to talk to the external when I stop and go back to the timeline each time.


      I did check CS4's specs before buying, and they were almost identical to CS3's specs which I was running successfully. I am obviously short though on the listed specs for processor GHZ and the C:drive rpm. But help me, is there a work around via the external on these issues? (Or was I stupid to buy CS4?)


      I did all the steps in the Adobe article "Optimize Windows Vista for Adobe Premiere Pro CS4" (or just about all of them.)  I followed several other suggestions on this forum  about disabling lots of the junk from startup that is installed on your cpu and even turn off my AVG virus whilst editing.


      I also have a lot of hourglass freezing in general, especially when leaving that window and coming back to it.

      (I allow the project to load and index fully before working in it.)


      Thanks in advance, ladies and gents

        • 1. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Usually P2 material is not very taxing on the system, so often you can get by with a less powerfull CPU if the rest of your system is properly tuned. Having indexing on is a severe burden on the system, so better turn that off. Why would you need that anyway on an editing rig? Can you post a screenshot from Process Explorer to see what else you have running? I would not initially invest in an eSATA card, but first try to optimize your system and if that is not enough, you can always get an eSATA card. FW400 is not the fastest, but if the rest of your system is OK, you may have sufficient speed for P2 material.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
            Jim_Simon Level 8

            Since the project is rendered, and scratch files are on C:, which is sorely lacking in space and speed (5400 RPM), it could very well be your hard drive simply can't keep up with the requirements of DVCPRO HD.

            • 3. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
              ScreenRighter Level 1

              Here are the process screen grabs.

              I just turned off indexing on the C: drive and will do the external next.


              FYI, my rig is not a dedicated editing deck,it is my only cpu,

              but hopefully we can make it work to get through this project and I can look into getting more serious later...


              Grabs are from just before I turned off indexing.




              • 4. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                Reduce the number of processes to around 40, starting with AVG, RealNetworks, HP, etc.

                • 5. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                  my rig is not a dedicated editing deck


                  Aw, dude!  Your processes are a mess!  It's entirely possible your system just can't handle the job.  Too much going on that's not necessary.  Not enough hardware.


                  Definitely get that dedicated edit rig.

                  • 6. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                    ScreenRighter Level 1

                    Turning off indexing seemed to improve it quite a bit at first (although not fully), but now system has bogged down again..!? Why?

                    I also see something that sounds suspiciously like indexing in the process list...? (SearchIndexer.exe) Why?

                    (I had unticked it and applied on all drives including external and recovery drive (and restarted).)


                    I disabled some things you mentioned, Harm. Here is an updated process list whilst Adobe Premiere Pro is actually running (the grab happens to be while rendering actually, so Premiere Pro is high.)


                    Harm and Jim Simon, I appreciate both your help! I am unfortunately not a computer whiz, can you suggest further processes that are safe to turn off in this list and how to turn them off if it requires more than msconfig? For instance, all those NVIDIA things seem scary to me to turn off since it's my graphics card... but I suspect possibly I can turn them off? WLAN seems essential if I want to connect to Internet, or no?  dgaudio.exe eats a lot but won't I lose sound if I turn off? Dell Quickset I can turn off, but was nervous to do so since it relates to power settings. That one fine?


                    Thanks if you can help me get down to 40 processes!





                    Jim Simon, thanks for your suggestion of getting dedicated CPU, but in the meantime any help to get this project done would be appreciated. I am also still slightly baffled because CS3 and CS4 have similar specs, and I was able to playback fine in highest quality even with my messy process list on CS3.... Yes, I understand new software versions can get bulkier, so I guess that's it, but still seems really quite a dramatic problem to me... (I freed up a bit more C:drive space.)  Do you think moving EVERYTHING to the external 7200 rpm would be better since you mentioned my 5400 rpm c:drive as a problem for DVCPROHD?

                    • 7. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                      Definitely put your Scratch files on the external.

                      • 8. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                        ScreenRighter Level 1

                        I moved scratch files to the external and unfortunately this made absolutely no difference.


                        Playback stutter/freeze is still in the "horrendous" zone.


                        Can anyone assist from my screen grabs above about what further processes are safe to disable?

                        And any additional ideas toward solvingt this problem?


                        I was excited that there should be a solution when Harm above said P2 footage should probably be doable

                        on my system, but I am not making progress yet.



                        • 9. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                          ScreenRighter Level 1

                          Does Adobe Media Player have anything to do with this problem? What player did CS3 use to play the preview files?

                          Are there settings on Adobe Media Player that should be tweaked?

                          • 10. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                            dradeke Adobe Employee

                            AMP shouldn't have anything to do with this.


                            I would second what the guys said and try to reduce the number of processes as much as possible.  40 might be a bit unreasonable for a laptop, but 70+ is clearly too much.


                            AVG is pretty efficient but if you can remove it temporarily, it might help.  Take away stuff and see how the performance does.  Also, make sure you run a malware app.  If you haven't, that might be part of the problem.


                            Also, think about trying to clean up some registry stuff - I'm sure the guys can suggest some things.  I recently tried this and thought it was pretty cool:



                            recording video to the dedicated drive is absolutely essential - make sure you're not going to the C drive.



                            • 11. Re: Horrendous stutter/freeze playback in CS4
                              ScreenRighter Level 1

                              I disabled everything in AVG successfully, no improvement.


                              Regarding malware, doesn't AVG do that included? It is an antispyware program also... right?

                              Also Windows Defender seems to routinely install anti-malware-related items via Windows Update regularly.


                              If that is not sufficient, can you suggest an anti-malware app for me, please?