This is the story of my four day experience installing and running PE8. For some of you there are tips that may help fix your problems. For others you will simply relate to my experience. For those considering purchasing PE8 I highly recommend that you do your homework before jumping in.
I've been using PE4 for the last two years and was quite happy with the features and flexibility. I consider myself a prosumer/serious hobbyist and have extensive geek experience. My usual jobs consist of importing HDV video from DV tape that was recorded with a Canon HV20. I combine the video with still shots from a Canon 20D in JPG format, throw in some music, and make short (<5 min) videos. I render and export in Widescreen DVD format (both PC and disk) and to H.264 HD format (both PC and Blu-ray disk).
Last week I decided that I should finally upgrade to the newest version just to stay current. I didn't read any reviews or do any research since I've always had a high level of respect for Adobe quality. Unfortunately my experience with PE8 has not been good. I've spent the better part of four days trying to get it working properly. I've had successes and disapointments. Some of you may benefit from the fixes that I used and I hope they will get you going with a functional and stable platform.
Intel Core 2 Quad (Q6600) native 2.4 GHz, overclocked to 3.0 GHz
4 GB RAM
1 TB striped RAID (RAID 0 for speed)
Nvidia 8800 GT
Samsung SH-S203B DVD RW
Pioneer BDR-203 BD RW (Blu-ray)
Installed PE8, updated to the latest version of QuickTime (7.65.17), and went merrily off working on my first project. I immediately started having stability issues. Crashes without any warning, crashes with "out-of-memory" messages, crashes with "unknown cause" messages, crashes to the BSOD, couldn't render anything without a crash, overloaded processors even when the program was idle AND after it was closed, etc. Not good. All this on a platform that is extremely stable with every other software package I run.
After spending a couple days researching the issues I applied some system modifications that actually fixed most of the problems I was having. In fact the program only crashed once or twice following the changes - a tolerable frequency as long as I saved frequently. Prior to the changes it was crashing very frequently.
Here's the steps that got my PE8 running stable (insert reboots in the usual places):
1) Uninstalled existing QuickTime and Nvidia drivers (QT 7.65.17, Nvidia ?)
2) Installed QuickTime 7.3.1 and updated Nvidia GeForce drivers to v195.62
3) Uninstalled GeForce Stereoscopic 3D Driver (this doesn't affect your 3D gaming unless you use 3D glasses)
4) Disabled the Auto-Analyzer "feature" in Elements Organizer
5) Disabled Background Rendering in PE8
After taking these steps the only really annoying problem that still existed is that "Adobe Premier Elements.exe" continues to run after closing the program. It hogs about 25% - 100% of the 4 processors but doesn't appear to be doing anything. And yes, I did leave it running overnight just to see if it would ever finish whatever it thought it was doing - nope.
Overall I was very happy that the mods fixed 90+% of my stability issues. I completed my 4 minute video without much trouble and then...I tried to render the final product. The standard DVD quality rendering works great - in both PC executable and disk products. The HD 720p works fine in PC executable format. But the one thing that I really need to produce is H.264 or MPEG2 at 1920x1080. In the final product everything seems to render okay and the video starts out okay but at exactly 30 seconds the audio cuts out. The interesting thing is that I can start from any point in the video and the sound lasts for 30 seconds and then dies.
I found a post where another person was having the exact same problem with standard resolution PC output and they were able to fix it by selecting the Advanced button to open the Export Settings, selecting the Audio tab, and then selecting MPEG for the audio format. If you are having this audio problem you should definitely try the above fix! Unfortunately, for the higher res HD output no such option exists under the audio tab. There is perhaps a 3rd option to fix this problem and that is to buy another video editing program, read in the corrupt PE8 output and re-render. Apparently this has worked for some folks but I'm refusing to buy another program just to fix the errors of the editor I already have.
In summary, if you are having stability issues try the fixes I've listed above. They could potentially fix your problems and get you up and running. As for me, I can't find a way to get around the audio problem and it's the one last thing preventing me from having a functional PE8. I plan to return the product (ordered from Adobe online) in the hopes that voting with my dollars will encourage them to fix the PE8 problems. My impression of the current version of PE8 is that it is an abomination that should have never been released. It is substandard even for a beta version. If Adobe can fix their PE8 problems and create a editor that is half as good as their other products they I will be the first to sign up for a new copy.
Good luck with whatever trials and tribulations that you may be experiencing with PE8. I'm glad that the program is working for some and for the rest I hope Santa delivers a serious PE8 patch!