When you play or export digital video from the Timeline in Adobe Premiere Elements to an outdated IEEE1394 (FireWire/i.LINK) device, it can stutter or play too fast. These problems can also occur if system components aren't optimized or don't meet the requirements for digital video, or if device drivers are outdated. Microsoft system components provide digital video support in Adobe Premiere Element. The interaction among these components and with the system determines the quality of digital video playback. Although playback problems can occur in Adobe Premiere Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements isn't necessarily the cause of the problem.

Work through these tasks if video plays too fast, stutters, or appears to drop frames. After you complete each task, export or play the rendered digital video from the Adobe Premiere Elements Timeline to determine if the problem is resolved.

Beginning troubleshooting

The following tasks can help you resolve the most common installation problems. If the problem recurs after you complete these tasks, proceed to the next section in this document.

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Adobe Premiere Elements.

Video can't play back correctly on a system that doesn't meet the following requirements:

Note: To check basic system information, such as processor speed and how much RAM is installed, choose Start > Control Panel > System.

Try these solutions first.

  • Ensure that the file you are using works on other software other than Adobe software.
  • Use a third-party converter to convert file to a format that the OS running on your computer supports.
  • Connect DV device via FireWire rather than USB if option is available.
  • Temporarily switch to a single display configuration.

2. Render all effects, transitions, and titles in the Timeline.

It's sometimes necessary to render media files before smooth playback is possible. Adobe Premiere Elements attempts to play all effects, transitions, titles, and other unrendered elements in real time without first rendering them. The real-time playback capabilities of your system depend upon the CPU and other available system resources. By rendering the unrendered media elements of the Timeline, you reduce the dependence on the available system resources.

3. Switch the GPU playback option. 

Note: This option is not available in Adobe Premiere Elements 9.0 or later.

Adobe Premiere Elements is designed to take advantage of display cards with accelerated GPUs. If you are having playback issues, make sure that you use the correct GPU playback mode that corresponds with your display card.

  • Enable GPU Playback: The setting if you have a GPU-accelerated display card.
  • Disable GPU Playback: The setting offers the lowest performance but is appropriate for display cards that do not fully support Direct 3D

To switch the Desktop Display Mode, do the following:

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > General.
  2. Select the appropriate option for GPU playback and click OK.
  3. Click OK to close the Project Settings window.

4. Disable video overlay in Adobe Premiere Elements.

Video overlay enables Adobe Premiere Elements to play video on the desktop (from the Monitor window) and on a digital video device at the same time. If you disable playback on the desktop, video is more likely to play smoothly on a digital video device.

Note: Video overlay is not available for HDV projects.

To disable overlay options in Adobe Premiere Elements:

  1. Choose Edit > Project Settings > General.
  2. Click Playback Settings.
  3. Specify a Real-time Playback setting:
    • To play video on a DV device only:

      1. Deselect Desktop Video Display During Playback.
      2. Select the External Device Settings: DV 29.97i (720x 480) for NTSC projects; DV 25i (720x576) for PAL projects.
      3. Click OK.
    • To play video on the desktop only, do the following:

      1. Ensure that Desktop Video Display During Playback is selected.
      2. Select None from the External Device settings.
      3. Click OK to close the Playback Settings window.
  4. Click OK to close the Project Settings window.

5. Disconnect all peripheral devices except the digital video device.

Peripheral devices that connect to the computer via USB, serial, SCSI, parallel, or FireWire ports can disrupt video playback when the device driver requests system resources. (Peripheral devices include printers, network cables, scanners, and modems.)  Turn off or disconnect all peripheral devices to reduce system requests when playing video in Adobe Premiere Elements. Also, Adobe Premiere Elements doesn't support multiple devices on either a FireWire chain or a FireWire card.

Note: After you disconnect network cables, network protocols remain active until you restart the computer.

6. Optimize the project settings.

Verify that all clip properties, such as frame rate, data rate, and compressor, match the project settings. In addition, make sure that clips and previews are on the same hard disk--preferably the fastest disk--as the project file.

To change the scratch disk setting in Adobe Premiere Elements, choose Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks. See the Adobe Premiere Elements User Guide for more information.

7. Test digital video playback in a third-party digital video utility.

Capture and export digital video clips in a third-party digital video utility. Using the third-party utility can help you determine if the system can play digital video without problems. Capture and export clips with the same durations as the clips that have problems in Adobe Premiere Elements. For instructions, see the documentation included with the utility.

If you can't capture or play back the digital video using the third-party utility without problems, verify that the system is configured for digital video. 

If clips stutter during playback, it's possible that your system doesn't meet the requirements for digital video. Verify that the hardware and software configuration you use is compatible with digital video components by checking the Microsoft DirectX Frequently Asked Questions at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/diagnosing-problems-directx.

Intermediate troubleshooting

8. Update the video card driver.

Outdated or flawed video display card drivers can incorrectly display motion video and textures. Or, they can incorrectly report their ability to display motion video or textures to Adobe Premiere Elements. Contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website. (To determine the manufacturer of a video card, view the card's properties in Device Manager.)

9. Check for device driver problems.

Device drivers are files that enable Windows to communicate with devices such as video display adapters, SCSI and IDE controller cards, and mainboard BIOS and chipsets. Contact the computer or device manufacturer for the latest device drivers.

To check for device driver problems, see the following documents:

10. Disable non-essential startup items and services.

Antivirus software, firewall software, anticrash software, or other applications and services loaded with Windows can cause conflicts with Adobe Premiere Elements or compete for system resources. You can temporarily disable nonessential startup items and services from loading by using the Windows System Configuration Utility.

To start Windows in a simplified mode, do the following:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • On Windows XP, choose Start > Run, and type msconfig in the Open text box. Click OK.
    • On Windows Vista, choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and then press Enter.
  3. Write down all deselected items under the Startup and Services tabs.
  4. Click the General tab, and choose Selective Startup.
  5. Click the Startup tab and select Disable All.
  6. Click the Services tab and select Hide All Microsoft Services.
  7. Select Disable All then reselect FLEXnet Licensing Service. If you are unsure whether an item is essential, leave it deselected (disabled).
  8. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

    Note: Upon restart, you are notified that the System Configuration utility has changed the way that Windows starts up. Click OK. When the System Configuration utility appears, click Cancel.

  9. Right-click icons in the Notification Area and close or disable any startup items that are still active.
  10. Double-click the setup.exe file in the Adobe Premiere Elements folder you copied to your desktop.

Then, try to re-create the problem:

  • If the problem no longer occurs, one of the startup items conflicts with Adobe Premiere Elements. Re-enable startup items one at a time, testing each time until you determine which item conflicts with Adobe Premiere Elements. Contact that item's developer to see if an update is available.
  • If the problem recurs, startup items are not the cause of the problem and you can re-enable them.

To re-enable startup items, do the following:

  1. Do one of the following:
    • On Windows XP, choose Start > Run, and type msconfig in the Open text box. Click OK.
    • On Windows Vista, choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and then press Enter.
  2. Click the General tab, and choose Normal Startup.
  3. Deselect any items that you wrote down in Step 3 of the previous section.
  4. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

11. Test playback on an external device.

Connect an external device to the computer (such as a DV camcorder via FireWire) and test the playback of your project. If playback stutters on the external device, the video card is the most likely cause. Contact the manufacturer of the video card to find out if there are updated drivers available or known issues with your device.

Note: Not all external devices can display incoming DV signals. With the devices that can, it's sometimes necessary to adjust the camera's settings to display the signal. Check the product manual or contact the manufacturer to find out if and how your camera works with incoming DV signals.

To test playback on an external device, do the following:

  1. Open your Adobe Premiere Elements project.
  2. Choose Edit > Project Settings > General, and then click Playback Settings.
  3. In the Real-time Playback section, ensure that Desktop Video Display During Playback is not selected.
  4. Click OK to close the Playback Settings dialog, and then click OK to close the Project Settings dialog.
  5. Connect your external device according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Play back the desired clip in the Timeline.

12. Test the hard disk performance.

Test the hard disk with a third-party hard disk utility, such as TCD Labs HDTach or Canopus EZDVtest, to determine how the disk performs. Adobe recommends that hard disks meet the following specifications.

For playback of DV media:

  • A seek time of 18 milliseconds or less (16 milliseconds recommended)
  • A read speed of 8 MB/second or greater (12 MB/second recommended)
  • A CPU utilization of 5% or less
  • An average data rate of 5 MB/second or greater, if the utility provides a graph to indicate data rate performance. (The graph line should be straight, indicating consistent data rates; peaks indicate speed variations, which cause poor playback.)

For playback of HDV media:

  • Two or more 7200-RPM UDMA 133 IDE 80-GB SATA drives in Zero Raid configuration (recommended)


  • A dedicated large capacity 7200-RPM UDMA 133 IDE/SATA or SCSI hard disk capable of sustained rates of at least 20 MB/s

13. Optimize hard disks.

Optimize hard disks by defragmenting them, updating their drivers, and configuring the disk drives to improve playback speed and performance in Adobe Premiere Elements. For further assistance with these tasks, contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized repair service facility.

  • Defragment hard disks by running the Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or a third-party disk utility, such as Symantec Norton Utilities. If you use external (non-system) disks for video, you can reformat them instead. Formatting erases all information on the disk. For instructions, see Windows Help or the documentation for the utility.
  • Update disk drivers to ensure that they aren't damaged or incompatible with the system. If a disk was formatted with a third-party disk utility,  use the third-party disk utility for this procedure. For instructions, see the documentation that came with the utility.
  • Enable write-caching for the hard disk:
  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Double-click System.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • On Windows XP, choose the Hardware Tab and click Device Manager.
    • On Windows Vista, choose Device Manager in the Tasks pane.
  4. Click the plus sign (+) beside Disk Drives.
  5. Double-click the hard-disk drive.
  6. In the Disk Device Properties dialog box, click the Policies tab.
  7. Select Enable Write Caching on the Disk.
  • If you use multiple IDE (or EIDE) disks for video-editing, connect them to the secondary controller. Because it's necessary that the system is connected to the primary controller, connect all devices other than the IDE disks to the primary controller. If only IDE disks are connected to the secondary controller, data is transferred at a single, optimum rate. When other, slower devices are connected to the same controller, data rates conform to the maximum rates allowed by the slower devices. They are typically slower than the data rates for video-editing hard disks. For instructions to connect disks to a controller, see the documentation included with the computer.

14. Create an AVI file of the Adobe Premiere Elements project before exporting it to a device.

Render the project and export it to avoid stuttered playback from the Timeline. Playing several clips in the Timeline places more stress on the hard disk and IEEE 1394 bus than playing a single clip. Therefore, playing several clips can result in poor or stuttered playback.

To render and export the project, do the following:

  1. In Adobe Premiere Elements, choose the green Share tab.
  2. Click Personal Computer.
  3. Choose AVI.
  4. Select the appropriate preset: DV NTSC Standard/Widescreen (or DV PAL for PAL projects).
  5. Give the exported file a name under File Name and click the Save button.
  6. Import the exported file into the organize tab.
  7. Double-click the imported file to open the file in the Preview panel (you can then export the rendered movie to a device).

15. Visit the Adobe User to User Forums.

You can see if other Adobe customers have a similar problem by visiting the User to User Forums at www.adobeforums.com. If other users have experienced the same problem, then Adobe Technical Support may be able to duplicate and research the problem.

Advanced troubleshooting

16. Contact Adobe Technical Support.

If none of the above steps has resolved the installation problem that you are experiencing with Adobe Premiere Elements, then contact Adobe Technical Support. You can find the support options at the Adobe Support Center.


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