I have to say that I am happy with the media encoder...although it isnt my preferable workflow..I have procoder 3 installed and used it for all of my renders before CS4 came along and made using it another render to .avi before importing to procoder.The AME actually works very quickly on my system and the quality is very good...I can queue multilple formats and output them all without issue.My computer is an i7 proc with 12gb ddr3 ram on a gygabite udx58 motherboard and an ati radeon 4800 series 1gb hd video card....I do not work with HD footage maybe that is the difference?
ps..I did recently upgrade to Win7 64 bit with no issues at all
What format(s) do you work in? What length of project? Do you output to AC3? I have no problems with AME for short projects or to output the same size/format -- for instance, I can usually output full HD for Blu-Ray but experience lots of crashes if scaling down to SD for DVD. The crashes also occur above certain lengths, usually 20 min +. With audio, I can output 5.1 uncompressed WAV in the same format (for instance, 16 bit) but if I try to output 24 bit (which AME is supposed to be able to do) I get "Encoding Failed - Unknown error." In fact the error log is ALL that very helpful message, always when transcoding to another format/bit depth/size. When outputting 5.1 to AC3, AME freezes up and fails at around 20 minutes.
Our systems are very silimar -- the current system is i7 proc with 6gb ddr3 ram on a gygabite GA-EX58-UD3R.
A have not had any huge issues really with AME for short videos or output to FLV for web.
But the workflow I use is something that CS4 is SUPPOSED to be able to do. And the very unusual issue is that I have seen posts about the same type of errors (with ImportProcessServer etc) on Macs as well.
In my professional HD720p environment I am reasonably comfortable /happpy with AME (Windows XP32pro) but that is not to say it could not be tweaked a little. Kind of the same way I feel about PPRO Tiitler and maybe the entire NLE in general more than any particular show stopping gripe.
AME loads fast enough and exports fast enough. Copes fine with batching. Dont like some of the tiny hidden menus. Dont like the slow reload of an AME project so I usually go back to the PPRO Project and start a fresh encode project.
Dont like the massive build up of AME project files. Could be an easier way of Project File Management built in to AME.
I really like the standalone version of AME because I often just open it to encode from my Master Clips ( sometimes import the PPJ)
Note: my work is mostly short form. eg TV commercials and projects from 2 - 12 minutes. MIxed assets plus 720P
At the end of the day PPRO CS4 does the business for me just fine.
John my projects are from 30 secs to around 15-20 mins max no longform work, formats are H264-WMV9 and MPEG2DVD usually.....I agree with everything shooternz says as well:)
My answer is a BIG NOOOO..... I hate it to the bone. As simple as that.