I'm just getting into network rendering. I've setup 4 machines as the farm. All is well and the image sequence is being processed pretty quickly. However, after rendering out several thousand static PSD frames, I realized I still had to go through the process of converting them to a movie. Importing them into Adobe Media Encoder was relatively easy, but it still took a long time to encode the final output as video. When you factor in the additional step of encoding the movie, I'd estimate a very small amount of time saving through network rendering.
What am I missing? How is this really faster in the end? I'd love to be enlightened. Is there a simple (and much faster way) to go from composition to final h.264 video through network rendering?
You see the biggest payoff with network rendering when each frame takes a long time to render. If that isn't the case for your current composition, then the overhead may not be worth it in this case.
Run a test yourself...
Set your three machines to render a PSD sequence, the once it's done use AME on one of them to make an h264.
On the other machine send your composition to AME and render an h264.
In my experience the more computers doing the heavy lifting (ie working out your AE file) the better. Once the image sequence is done the easy bit to process is getting it out into another format.