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This THREAD might give you some tips. There are links in the thread, that will give you more info.
Most often, this IS a video card driver issue.
Please give the full details of your system, the Project and the Assets. This ARTICLE will give you some tips on what will be important.
Good luck, and we'll be watching to see what the specs. of everything is.
I read the links (thanks Bill) and from the looks of it, I am seeing the purple screen thing others have reported. On that Vista PC, I tried turning off GPU playback and it fixed the problem for SOME images, BMPs, but not the video. This is such a pain as I am not so far from completing a time-critical project well-enough to use it. I don't have time to diagnose another PC and that being a laptop, other than finding and downloading drivers (and in Vista that can often introduce new problems), there is little I can do, so I will shelve this one for the moment.
So back to my other XP machine, whose video doesn't keep up with the audio on preview, I messed with software priorities a bit, changing one of the running programs from below normal to normal, and introduced a NEW problem. And of course, I cant remember which one was at below normal priority in the task manager before changing it.
These are running:
(a second copy of same)
and FNPLicensingService.exe which I understand the purpose and necessity of.
Here's the new problem on the XP machine... Lack of response to STOP in playback most of the time! Kind of makes editing a bear!
I absolutely have to get this job done in a few days or I am toast. I will deal with the poor video performance and try burns to PC to check my sync but the stop and start thing is really killing me.
What did I do?
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I have a 2GB XP SP3 box and it runs PRE7 fine. I'm not sure what version you have but I'm guessing it's not horribly different, other than PRE v8 appears to have added some resource-sucking features.
But I had the exact same problem as you: often when hitting "Play", the monitor would have problems with the video keeping up with the audio (the video would either not start, start then stop, or start then stop then maybe restart later depending on the phase of the moon).
For me, this problem was solved not by reducing the priority of other programs, but by boosting the priority of AdobePremiereElements.exe to High.
I now make that a part of my regular workflow: I start PRE, wait for it to settle down, switch the priority to High, and then get to work.
BTW, priority changes only stay in effect for as long as the program is running. If you accidentally did something goofy like reducing the priority of the "System" process to "Idle" and your system is hosed, simply rebooting will return everything to its usual priority. If you want to revert back to the usual priority for a regular program (e.g. PRE), simply exit the program - the next time it starts it will be at its usual priority.
I have been in PCs since building my own with a Motorola 6800, and somehow missed the fact that a PC reboot resets processing priorities. I had no idea! So thanks for that very useful note.
I have boosted AdobePremiereElements.exe to above normal but never high because I was afraid I'd end up with this other problem I now have...I DID notice a preview improvement when I tried above normal, but will definately try high!
The bizarre thing now is the lack of response to the > play/stop/pause, once running. But I think I recall one of those other processes was set to below normal, something I would never do myself, and may have set it to normal. I will reboot and try it again. I may not get back to the forum till later as I need to re-shoot one chapter of this production in better lighting.
I'll let you know what I find out.