I'm editing more and more HD footage these days but the system is not nearly as nimble as when I was editing SD. Everything was snappy,and instant in SD, where I worked in DV or 8-bit uncompressed. NOW... with HD projects, ... The timeline pauses for long seconds every time I hit the spacebar to play or stop, and maybe ten-fifteen seconds to react to a cursor placement change on the timeline.
I've turned down the quality settings and only got a marginal improvement.
I'm editing DVC Pro HD 720 and 1080i footage (not both at once)e in native format and/or ProRes 422. An man, is it pokey.
Any tips to improve realtime performance on the timeline? Timeline sequence settings, preferences, that kind of thing?
Also, and perhaps unrelated, having some problems when ingesting tape. If I leave the deck in "remote" when logging and capturing, the program will occasionally freak out over nothing I can see, start hunting for a time code break that's not there, and hard crashing. If I run the deck in manual and hit "capture now", it captures fine. WTH?
I have an octocore xeon mac pro that's a few years old, 32gig 800 mhz ram, Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 with 1536 MB VRAM, and a 1 TB external RAID, I'm running FCS3, OS 10.5.8, AJA ioHD interface box. All software is updated to last versions.
I would guess the most likely reason for your performance issue, given the spec of your Mac is pretty good, is media drive speed.
How is your raid connected ? Firewire 800, for example, is only really good for a single stream of HD - after that it will possibly start to choke. (Use the AJA drive speed tool to check your drive speed)
So if you regularly do jobs where there are 2 or 3 or more shots on the screen at once, or multicamera stuff, you might want to look to using a faster interface.
Additionally when FCP starts doing odd things a good idea is to trash the preferences and re-set it up. (FCP pref manager does this quite well - free download)
That clears out some buggy behaviour that often cant really be explained, and speeds things up a little.
Finally which ProRes codec do you use ? - obviously 442 HQ and 4444 demand high bandwidth and again will give playback issues unless you have very fast drives.
Obviously some, or none, of that may apply in your case and you may well have tried most of it, but hope that helps.