If other people are encountering the same freeze with Blender’s FFmpeg implementation of h.264, where would I file a bug report?
h.264 works fine for me.
Also, can Blender encode audio without FFmpeg, say, when using the “AVI Codec” option for your video? And how?
If you are experienced at video editing, disregard this, but if not research codecs and ensure that your pc is configured properly first. I agree and disagree about blenders sequencer, it is not the best system out there and Atom is right about searching out others, but it is definitely functional, FFMPEG has sooooo many settings and they all have to be configured properly…and your machine must be as well.
I would keep trying with blender if I were you…but here are some other freebies.
Cinnelara is a professional suite, like blender it takes some getting used to, but it can do just about anything. (Linux only of course, Windows guys will need http://wubi-installer.org/ )
If you are new to video editing, and want decent results achieved easily, try pinnacle studio.
It is the baby of the Avid line, and beneath its home movie facade lie some very powerful features for just $99. I know several pros that have better tools available to them, that stll use pinnacle for their “simple” stuff. Its audio features are extremely intuitive, and it helped me to learn a few years ago. Baby steps.
Good Luck, Make us some movies!