Premiere Elements 7 -- letdowns so far
You know, I read all the reviews I can, but why is it none of the reviewers of these products (referring to ALL of the latest iterations of consumer video programs) don't bother to discuss the items that are front and center on the mind of HD camcorder owners? I googled to no end and could not find any example of a discussion about AVCHD in depth. Certainly my chief complaint that PS7 won't make AVCHD-DVDs was not noted. After that disappointment, I couldn't even get it to make a simple Blu-Ray disc either. Awful.
I bought the program today (in the combo pack with Photoshop Elements 7) and here are my letdowns thusfar:
(0) setup-> I decided to install it on my 4GB Q6600 machine running WinXP Pro 32bit... after it complained about resources (during the first opening when it imported a bunch of clips -- I later rebooted after it finished) I already wished I put it on my 8GB Q9450 Vista Ult 64-bit machine instead (my video and photos are on that WinXP machine, though -- and that machine has the Dell 3008 monitor). Anyway, I put two AVCHD 1440x1080i (5.1DD) clips from my Sony SR7 on the timeline and took it from there (total time of the clips was under 5 mins)
(1) while it will import AVCHD files, it will NOT make AVCHD-DVDs.... what the hell is up with that? Pinnacle Studio 11 from a year ago didn't have this problem
-when you go to 'share' video if you want to make a "DVD" it will let you burn it to a folder or disc... either selection though seemed to make it ONLY dvd quality (i.e. no choice for making an AVCHD DVD)... the other choice is "Blu-Ray", but then your choice of burning to a folder is GONE -- you can burn ONLY to a Blu-Ray drive and Blu-Ray blank (I did try a DVD blank in my Blu-Ray burner -- to no avail).
(2) you cannot export BluRay quality video to ANYTHING but a BluRay drive with a BluRay blank in it (luckily, I do have one of those)
(3) despite making NO changes whatsoever to the two video clips, PE7 decided it needed to 'encode them'... on my Q6600 oc'd to 3GHz, this seemed to take about 2x the length of the clips put together -- not including actual 'burn' time
(4) ***edit/update*** [after 'encoding' I received a device error (assumingly during the burn), and the program hard locked on me -- this was solved with a driver update for my motherboard's JMicron controller]
(5) any number of context windows that pop up to provide text to icons show up empty... other entire pop up windows show up entirely blank until I swish the cursor about, and even then, I just see the outline of empty boxes... entirely unacceptable
(6) similar to (5), saving a project seems very quick, but when you are reloading the program for another crack at it, loading that same project gets to 95% and hangs (and this was for my mere 2 clip, sub 5 minute project!)
I hope there is a patch soon. I don't see it without a good amount of consumer backlash, however. This program is subpar especially given the extra year they've had to provide any AVCHD support.
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(7) Well, now that I've successfully authored a project...
(a) being able to finally make a menu for an HD project is nice, BUT, the menu choice I used seemed a little too lo-def for BluRay (there are a few HD menu setup choices, but I wish there were more and that the aspect ratios were strictly maintained on the scene pages)
(b) though my source files (AVCHD) are 5.1 AND I didn't edit the video or audio in any way (in Premiere or elsewhere), the outputted disc (H.264 1440x1080 Dolby as the preset) only has 2.0 audio --- while I knew from reviews that PE7 wouldn't let you custom mix 5.1 audio, I didn't see anyone say that imported 5.1 audio from the original clip would fail to render in 5.1... very disappointing and this is a deal killer... I keep hoping there's some way to make this work