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I recently upgraded from PE 2018 to PE 2020 due to the claimed support for h265/hevc video on Windows 10. I spent the 99 cents to download the recommended app from Microsoft. I can import h265 content and things seem fine at first, but when I attempt to scroll through the preview timeline the entire program slows to a crawl. Eventually the preview simply stops showing. Even if I open a different project the program continues to hang. Also, if I attempt to render the timeline the "rendering" dialog hangs on the very first frame indefinitely. Also, the program gets botched so badly that the background service continues to run even after I close the program from the menu. I have to end up manually terminating the lingering process with the task manager before I can start it up again.
My system can handle h265/hevc video just fine in VLC and the Movies app. I can even play 240fps h265 video at normal speed with few hiccups. Looks like I'll have to convert h265 clips to h264 using FFMPEG before importing as I was before This is extremely disappointing as I bought PE 2020 specifically so I could skip this extremely tedious step.
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You didn't describe your computer. The primary benefit of HEVC/H.265 is extraordinary compression to smaller files. That's great for broadcasting, emailing, etc. To get that compression, massive processing takes place. To edit those files, more intense CPU processing is necessary. In other words, it is hard computer work. Playing them is much easier. That's why VLC can play them. It has less work to do that Premiere Elements.
If you bought Premiere Elements directly from Adobe, there is a refund period that (I think) is two weeks long. Other software might be better, but if my guess is correct, your CPU may not be up to the work with that either.
There are more things that can be looked at that includes project settings, available RAM, scratch disk locations, hardware acceleration, etc. Can you provide more information about your system and settings?
CPU: Intel Core i7-6560U CPU @ 2.20 GHZ
GPU: Intel Iris Graphics 540
12 GB RAM
It's a 2016 laptop, so not the fastest ever. Still, my intuition is it shouldn't be THAT much slower. I don't necessarily expect to be able to play a smooth preview. I just don't expect the preview process to become terminally unresponsive. The preview will display initially, but if I attempt to play it or move the current frame the preview screen will lag and then lock up completely (only a blank black screen will show until I completely close and restert the PE suite). Also, the background process does not shut down when I close PE normally. I cannot restart the program until I terminate the background process manually through the windows task manager.
Okay. I think I just learned something. The preview process runs smoothly with a single HEVC clip when the project frame rate is exactly the same as the video stream frame rate. The problem is I record video on my GoPro Hero 7 Black at 120 fps. I insert the 120 fps HEVC video clip into my 30 fps project timeline. I do this so I can break the video up and play certain sections in slow motion. I have never had a problem doing this if I first convert the video to h264. Also, I just tested the very same clip after converting to h264 and it previews perfectly smooth. I can seek anywhere on the timeline and there is minimal lag, even without rendering the timeline. I then use the "stretch" function to set the clip speed to 25% to slow the video down such that every frame is sampled. This is a very normal editing process I use.
I've now discovered the hanging is due to continuous hard drive read activity while accessing the source file. CPU activity is well below 50%, as is RAM usage. GPU is only around 10% usage max. Only the disk activity is spiking to 100%, and it is entirely due to a single process. The Adobe Premiere Elements Editor process reads the file fevorishly at 100 MB/s or more, fails to close, and is labeled unresponsive. I have 366 GB of free disk space on my main 1TB drive. The cache is nowhere near full and there is no writing to disk going on anyways.