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Actually, weird things happen here when you compare direct export and using AME, depending on what the source material is and what the end result must be. Adobe is aware of these issues. A bug report has been filed.
What happens, and I only have figures for my system, but it will give you an idea of what is going on and that has been corroborated by others, including Adobe.
Look at the PPBM5 Benchmark and run the Disk test, simple DV AVI, exported to DV AVI. Direct export takes 18 seconds, AME needs 72 seconds. Then try the MPEG2-DVD test. Direct export takes 180 seconds, AME needs 70 seconds. And the H.264-BR test takes 80 seconds, both with direct export and with AME.
If you consider that DV AVI export in CS5 with AME is around 4 times slower than CS4, you will realize that the AVI exporter plug-in has some bugs in it, that do not happen with direct export.
If you consider the MPEG encoding times, again something really weird is going on here, because the scaling for this export is done with hardware MPE. This means that direct export should be much faster when using PR than using AME, but the opposite is true.
The only consistency I have found is H.264 with equal times for direct export and AME, which is logical since it is so much dependent on CPU/RAM communication and cache size.
Harm, thank you very much for your response. I thought I was going crazy there for a while.
Great to hear Adobe is working on this because the differences are quite significant, as you also have found out. With one-format exports, exporting directly out of PPro is fine, but, like I'm sure most users, I have to produce multiple formats.
Hope to hear something positive about this from Adobe soon.
Thanks again, Harm.
I'm only stating facts about my experiences in terms of timing and expressing the weird behavior that looks like magic and can not be explained by logic.
AVI should not make any difference yet is 4 times faster with direct export.
MPEG2-DVD is 2.5 times faster with AME, while logic says it should be slower.
I don't claim to be an expert on this, but then neither is Adobe. They said it needed to be fixed, and can't explain the magic behind it.
Apparently the introduction of MPE and the move to 64 bit has caused serious changes that sometimes defy our old-fashioned logic and requires new thinking about what goes on under the hood.