So I opened up Premiere, imported the .mts files I shot at 1080p 30fps, and when i drag the files into the timeline they immediately need rendering (red bar above them, assuming that means the same thing as in FCP).
No, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to render, but is indicative of your source footage not matching your sequence. What sequence preset are you using? You can also drag a clip to the New Item button at the bottom of the Project panel to automagically create a sequence that matches your footage. And read here for more on what colored bars mean in PPro: Red, yellow, and green render bars and what they mean « Premiere Pro work area
However, when I don't render then playback is choppy, has parts of the video moving around in "blocks", and it seems like it would be tough to work with.
Right-click the Program Monitor or click the Output button (the three circles) and go to Playback Resolution > Full. This will force full resolution decoding of the AVCHD footage; it demands more of the system, but will look better. This setting has no bearing on output--it's merely for preview.
Bottom line: you shouldn't have to render. Try the above, and report back if it doesn't fix things.
Thanks so much Colin, I used your suggestions and now it plays back beautifully. I'm not sure why the footage wasn't matching up with the sequence but very glad to know Premiere has the feature to match a sequence TO the footage. Resolution was set to 1/2 and when I set it to full it looks great. This may very well have saved me a lot of time and money.
Knowing that I can edit natively in Premiere, I think my next step is to learn the program Any suggestions of where to find a good set of free video tutorials on learning Premiere Pro basics??
Thanks so much for your help,
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You're welcome--glad that was the simple fix!
There are lots of resources for getting up to speed on Premiere Pro; since you've got FCP experience, you probably won't find the transition too difficult once you learn where the various switches are that match those in FCP. Sure, it's different, but I'd argue that it's like learning to drive a stick shift after you already knew how to drive an automatic--it's not going to be like learning to fly a commercial aircraft
Definitely start with the Help documents: Using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 & CS5.5. Not only will it tell you just about everything you need to know about Premiere Pro, at least in regard to where various commands and functions are located and carried out, there are lots of links to external resources. Most of those are free, and a lot of them are really well done. These videos would be a good place to start, too: Premiere Pro: Frequently Asked Questions. They're not broad topics, nor are they in-depth, but they're often just what you need to get past an obstacle.
Personally, I think the forum here is a great resource, and one that can often provide you very direct assistance to whatever is hanging you up. We're getting more and more switchers here all the time, many of whom have quickly gotten up to speed with Premiere Pro, and they're becoming very vital members of the community because they can help other switchers bridge the gap. If you encounter an issue, see what you can find in the Help docs--or even just with a Google search--and if you get no joy from that, don't hesitate to fire away with your questions here.
We're glad you're here!
Great thanks for the info, I'm very excited about all this and look forward to being part of the community.
If you have not done so already, download the user guide PDF's for easy searching
CS5 User Guides - online and PDF (see link in upper right corner at individual pages)
Some tutorial links
A "crash course" http://forums.adobe.com/thread/761834?tstart=0
A Video Primer for Premiere http://forums.adobe.com/thread/498251?tstart=0
Premiere Tutorials http://forums.adobe.com/thread/424009
CS5 Premiere Pro Tutorials http://forums.adobe.com/message/2738611
CS5 Tutorials http://bellunevideo.com/tutlist.php
PPro Wiki http://premierepro.wikia.com/wiki/Adobe_Premiere_Pro_Wiki
Tutorial HD to SD w/CS4 http://bellunevideo.com/tutorials/CS4_HD2SD/CS4_HD2SD.html
Premiere Pro Wiki http://premierepro.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
Exporting to DVD http://help.adobe.com/en_US/premierepro/cs/using/WS3E252E59-6BE5-4668-A12E-4ED0348C3FDBa.h tml
And http://help.adobe.com/en_US/premierepro/cs/using/WSCDE15B03-1236-483f-BBD4-263E77B445B9.ht ml
Photo Scaling for Video http://forums.adobe.com/thread/450798?tstart=0
After Effects Tutorials http://www.videocopilot.net/
Encore Tutorial http://www.precomposed.com/blog/2009/05/encore-tutorial/
And more Encore http://library.creativecow.net/articles/devis_andrew/