If you're a fan of Quicktime movies, try a QT in the H.264 codec. But DO NOT use AE to render the file. Instead, open the AE project in Adobe Media Encoder, navigate to the appropriate comp(s) and do the compression using one of AME's presets. You can build a QT H.264 preset if necessary.
A 2-hour-long file will take a good deal of time to complete. Do it overnight. Computers don't have to sleep.
1. Reverse your workflow: import your MPG files into Premiere Pro, cut your movie and only then send clips from PrPro timeline to AE for de-noising - this way you won't waste your time on something that never appears in the final output.
2. Check this good old VideoCopilot tutorial - you'll find some ideas on how to apply de-noising selectively instead of the whole frame, which may result in a better de-noising quality.
3. For SD digital intermediate use e.g. Avid DV codec (free Avid QuickTime codec pack can be downloaded here), which should provide optimal 'render time / file size / quality' ratio.
What would be the best format to use when exporting a 1080p video/animation from AE? I just used QT with a PhotoJPEG compression method (as mentioned in another post) and got a huge 11gb file that took several hours to render. The several hours is no problem but the 11gb file seems excessive. I was wondering if you or anyone else knows of a better format or compression method. I'm planning to edit this file in Premiere, export it again, and then re-open it with AE so I can publish it to Blu-Ray with an animated and interactive menu. A file half or a quarter of the size would be nice, but I do still need it to be "HD" and good quality. It doesn't have to be major production quality but the higher the quality with a smaller file size would be nice. I am pretty new to AE and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If you know the best settings to use when exporting from Premiere that would be appreciated too. I am experienced with Premiere but haven't used it for HD video before and just don't know the best formats/codecs/etc. yet.
Lossless or nearly lossless compression for HD video is just going to be big. There's no way around that. Delivery formats are much smaller and the Adobe Media Encoder (which is what Premiere Pro uses) has templates for all of the standard delivery formats that produce very good results. If you are reusing footage in PPro, then rendering again, then processing it again, then building something from that you had better stick with a good production codec and not worry about the file size. The only time file size is a problem is when you are trying to 'deliver' the video as a final product. AME is your friend there.
Read the help files and other information that is available by simply typing rendering in the Search After Effects Help field at the top right corner of AE. The basics are covered there.
The file size is defined by bitrate. The winners among production codecs regard to 'quality / render time / file size' ratio, DNxHD and ProRes, utilise almost identical bitrate: up to 440 Mbps while encoding with 4:4:4 colour subsampling and up to 220 Mbps while encoding to 4:2:2. Do some math, and you'll end up with 90-200 GB/hour.
So, the only option to save on disk space is to utilise highly compressed codec like H.264. With target bitrate set to 100 Mbps (you can set the bitrate in the Export Settings dialog) the quality loss might look affordable (don't remember if you can encode to Level 5 on CS4 though).
If you eventually choose H.264 (working with which on CS4 might in turn result in a nightmare), do not export to H.264 from AE directly. Export to H.264 via AME...
I tried to open the comp in AME and it was not possible. It only allows me to import video files.
Launch Adobe Media Encoder
Add a file and choose an AE project
Dynamic link will open the project
This will take a few moments to launch
Add the composition you want to use to the cue.
If this does not work tell us which versions of AE you are using.
Yeah, it won't let me choose an AE project in AME. I tried exactly what you said. I'm using CS4.
Importing After Effects compositions and Premiere Pro sequences into AME were new features introduced in CS4. So as to import AE composition you must choose File -> Add After Effects Composition, you can't import AE composition via Add button.
Missed the part about CS4...
In that case render to something like Photo Jpeg QuickTime, drop that in AME.