For some reason, whenever I attempt to export an edited project from either iMovie 6, 9 or Final Cut Express, the program(s) go into a very lengthy setup mode, which can last up to several hours. Kind of like the "writing video/audio" message you get with Final Cut before you can print to video. This only started up in the past three months and it extremely frustrating...my camera generally goes to sleep before the import begins.
I've check all camera settings and have had to resort to putting the camera into pause/record, then playing back the video, then recording. Sometimes even this doesn't work.
With that info is difficult to guess what going on with your computer.
What kind of footage are you working with?
This doesn't sounds like any camera issue to me.
Have a look to the Activity Monitor while FC is "thinking".
That may gives you an idea if FC is rendering.