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I need advice from fellow video editors

Ok so here's the deal I haven't really edited anything for about three years, it's was pretty much at one point my second most active hobby. I want to get back into making some music videos again, but I find myself a little bit tiresome and wary this time round.

Here's the deal: I used to use Premiere Pro 2.0 (after ages of horrific encounters with windows movie maker and ulead video studio) and this works great for me, I can edit well in it and my main reason I like it is the ammount and also the flexibility of the effects... however I don't want to have to have a degree in video formats in order to render something, don't get me wrong I do actually know a fair ammount about codecs, bitrates and all that crap but STILL I can never get it done quickly... I end up spending longer than I actually did editing the damn thing getting the balance between video quality and file size right.

Now I know this sounds silly and I would usually say this kind of thing is dumbing down user interfaces and taking away flexibility - but WMM has this "best quality for my computer" preset, which was always kind of *this is ok* for me - I believe Sony Vegas Pro has an easier rendering system as well as my friend seems to cope well with it with very little editing experience. Ideally I want to stick with Premiere Pro because I like the interface, but can someone make rendering a little less mind boggling for me? Perhaps what I need are just some EASY PRESETS for my simple brain. I think if rendering was less difficult and specific I probably would have edited tons more stuff in my time.

Thanks in advance.
Convert your footage to an editable format first. Things like avi, wmv, etc. are end-user formats, not meant for editing.
But i think Avi files can be edited....
Also I think MPEG files can be edited...
I tend to switch between After Effects CS4 and WMM. Depends on what I am doing. But After Effects has a pretty intense rendering menu. So it can be pretty painful at times.

If you are uloading for YouTube or something like that, they usually have a rendering guide that will help you out with making sure everthing comes out best for your upload. If you are just making stuff to play on your own comuter then why not do your editing in your prefered program, render it in whatever settings that WMM uses and you should be fine. I can load footage in my program and it will tell me all the settings. It also renders in WMV. So that comes in handy.

Just an idea. I don't really know much about setting myself. I just go with what the guide on YouTube says to do.
There's no magic wand that can be waved to make a quality render take less time. It takes time because it is processor intensive. Having a great video card and a ridiculous amount of ram can steadily improve performance on your computer. Using a scratch disk (external HD for cache dumping) can also take paging (page-ins/page-outs) out of equation and make a vast difference to the speed and demand on your internal HD (I use a scratch disk for After Effects ram previews and rarely for 3d programs like Fluid Motion - a water simulator, which absolutely murders the life out of my poor computer). You can speed up your workflow, but if lossless compression is what you're wanting - and it always should be, apple's animation codec, millions of colours, Alpha+ for example, then you've got a wait on your hands. But that's just part and parcel. Rome wasn't built in a day.

After Effect's rendering, I find, is pretty much the business. It's not as capable as some high-end dedicated professional commercial editing suites but it actually does certain things that they do not - like all programs. Snobs may smirk at you using ULead, for example. Don't listen to them if fulfills the particular task at hand. Hell, I still I have a copy of iMovie floating around on my computer somewhere. Why? It's for moms and dads to make birthday videos I hear you say. Yeah, but a little known discovery in that app is that the reverb filter for audio is actually crisper and more agreeable than Reason and many other top end music editing apps. Likewise with After Effects, it handles some simple 3d jobs 90% more effectively and quickly than certain commercial 3d apps do. So use whatever app you feel comfortable using and use whatever app is correct for the correct job.

If you want to sacrifice quality for speed then H.264 at quality 70% in an mp4, mpeg, avi or mov format is the way to go. Saying, though, this is just for internet interaction (youtube, hobbyist stuff). Don't do paid work for somebody with those settings. It (and thus you) will look like a joke.
Good advice. Much more elegant than I could muster.
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