iMovie and Final Cut are excellent choices -- though Final Cut Express and Pro have a bit of a learning curve.
Yes. Almost went with a mac but since my real job centers around microsoft applications it just seemed more realistic to stay with this OS. Anything windows based?
Sony Vegas Movie Studio and Cyberlink PowerProducer have been mentioned on these forums as good alternatives. Both offer a trial.
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
As a home hobbyist, I am VERY happy with PPro5... with a good hardware base
My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 includes a link to the computer I built... since the GTX 285 is no longer sold, I would now go with a GTX 470
For my home hobbyist, family movies (which means that I am not trying to recreate Star Wars with video effects or many layers) AVCHD editing is "as smooth as spreading warm butter on hot toast" (also the MP4 video from wife's Flip camera)
My 3 hard drives are configured as...
1 - 320G WD Win7 and all programs
2 - 320G WD Win7 swap file and PPro projects
3 - 1T WD all video files... read and write
I am surprised that people are encountering difficulties with PE9 and HD.1900x1080i
The tradegy of HD is that many cheap cameras or TV sets don't really show HD much better than SD or else they are not adjusted correctly with all the multitude of presets available inside them. Factory presets are usually not the best and a vast number of people really don't know how to adjust a TV set or a their Computer monitor brightness and contrast correctly! If they fiddle with the presets they usually make it worse!
When you have it right, the difference is really quite dramatic and you would never go back to using SD if you had the choice! For example the Sony 350+ series cameras are much more HD than the latest 150 range, the latter being not much better than a good SD except in bright sunlight. This is mainly because they have much better lenses.
I think a 'problem' with PE is that some people don't take the time to set up their PE project properly in the first place.(See many the posts here)
I have a modest computer (Core duo 2.4g/ 4m ram/ 800mb motherboard) and find normal editing is a breeze in HD.
I have never had a PE9 crash as is often reported but I never did try out the trial version.
Initially I found it very cludgy until I split it up over 3 drives (1=OS & Program, 2=Media, 3 All project files) and increased my RAM from 2 to 4 g
As far as HD, I find the only annoyance is that if you do a complicated series of multiple effects, it slows down the preview unless you render the work area around the effects. This takes up to 4 times longer than it does with SD because the area of pixels is about 4 times greater. Once rendered it previews perfectly.
Another thing is to keep your disks unfragmented whether Windows recommends it or not, expecially before you inport media.
A lot of people seem to try to use laptops but I suspect they often have slower motherboards to keep them cool only have one drive which is inferior for fast HD editing.
Regarding the distrubution of hard disks, I found that keeping one disk for reading the original media files for reading only purposes was indeed faster.
I keep a seperate disk for media. This is my 'reading disk'
I keep one disk for all writing of projects, cache etc. This is my 'writing disk"
On my third drive C: drive I keep it for all the Adobe programs and the windows pagefile. It doesn't need to be big.
The pagefile should be OK on this disk because if Adobe have done their job, all dll routines should be running in memory during normal editing procedures and the only time their program files are accessed is if you initiate another function.
In other words I try not to mix reading and writing operations on the one disk.
Another thing sometimes forgotten is that the time to access the furthest track on a hard drive from where you last were varies with different drives and can be slower with very large drives. This is important when previewing a heavily edited timeline.