I'm sorry...I was thoughtless not to mention more information. I am in cs4, Avid Media Composer, Windows XP. The project is an after effects template with 8 video placeholders where I inserted HD footage. The background is several layers of snowflakes, snowmen, hillsides, trees etc.
Each videoplaceholder has a text element as well.
I rendered the project to out put as an .avi file (quicktime mov.) to import into my AVID. Hope this is more helpful.
Sorry, but it really isn't. If you had looked carefully at the list and provided the full range of information, we could probably tell you what to do right away.
Can you please try again?
Without knowing more details, I can only answer in general terms, but 16 hours is not an unusual render time for an HD composition that's a minute long---especially if you're using After Effects CS4, which is a 32-bit application and therefore much slower than After Effects CS5 and later, which are 64-bit.
That said, this page is full of information about improving performance for After Effects CS4.
I've had projects take an hour a frame or render in nearly real time. It just depends on the project. Without more info like comp size, kind of layers, effects, there's nothing we can recommend.
At the risk of sounding rude: Just get used to it. A simple review of the facts can explain it:
CS4,...,Windows XP...8 video placeholders where I inserted HD footage
CS4 is 32bit, meaning it will never use more than 2.something GB of your system memory since naturally your operating system and other stuff will prevent it from using full 4GB, if you even have that. Once decompressed to full RGB, your 8 videos alone will take up 500 MB for each frame of the comp. Now add to that any effects or other stuff as well as any output for compression, well, you get the idea. Having some 3D elements alone in your comp can drastically increase render times therefore. In any case, any render on such a system given these basic specs will probably suffocate under memory shortage. It's not that AE couldn't be faster, it's just got nothing to work with and is constantly trying to shuffle stuff around in memory so at least it doesn't crash. again, just accept that there is probably nothing you can do about it until the day you get a 64bit system and a 64bit version of AE with lots of RAM.
Todd, thanks for the link. Mylenium...no way were you being rude, but rather very helpful. The truth hurts and unless I beef up my system and software to more robust standards, I will just have to limp along and be patient. You all have been very generous and patient with my novice status in the AE world.