8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 20, 2013 3:16 PM by Warren Heaton

    Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!

    Paul Whitehead Level 1

      I was working on a project in the office today until all hell broke loose.  I had the VO and music track playing smoothly, things bouncing in and out with my music and VO.  Thought things were going great, until i exported.  I worked on this project for almost 6 hours and when i exported i noticed everything was out of sync, music wasnt going with video or transitions and text wasnt popping up where it was suppose to be.


      After face rolling against my keyboard and doing export after export of different file types, h.642, apple pro res, mpeg 2, .mov i simply gave up until i noticed something and then it dawned on me.


      When working on a project in after effects, you have your ram preview option where you can set it to full, half etc..


      If i was doing a ram preview and syncing everything up at only half the ram preview, does it make sense that this would play a huge roll in the way things are being exported?  Im checking here to double check, because i did a test and it worked out just fine. 


      I changed it to full ram preview and re lined my key frames and layers up to where i wanted them and what do u know it worked perfectly.  Is this a workflow that should always be used and always keep the ram preview at full so i get the final preview of what its going to look like at the final exported video?  This is very imported to me to be answered.

        • 1. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          It might have a lot more to do with the nature of the footage you're working with rather than your previewing technique. 

          For example, AE isn't exactly partial to compressed audio (mp3, aac, etc.) so it's best to use aiff or wav audio. 

          If your video footage is h.264 or mp4 -- and you're using one of AE's time-altering features -- it's not a good match, either: it's best to work with video in a lossless codec in such instances.

          • 2. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
            Paul Whitehead Level 1

            Dave all the footage being used is apple pro res 422, transcoded from sony ex3 xdcam.  The audio is an aiff file type.  Could doing and syncing everything up at a full ram preivew instead of half be the cause of my out of sync issue on the final export.  If you think about it, it does kinda make sense.  If your only ram previewing at half, and syncing everything on half.  Then go to export on a full preview, everything being out of sync does make sense because it wasnt keyed up and synced at full.  I know this is kind of a tounge twister way to think about it, but i did test it both ways after i discovered the problem and syncing it at the full preview vs. half did work.  Things came up in que and snyced as i placed them.  I never use h.264 or mp4, i was brought into editing either using apple pro res 422 or raw xdcam footage.

            • 3. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              I've never had syncing problems.  And I work with good quality footage like you do.  "Well, lah-dee-dah," you reply, and I can't blame you. 


              Since you say "ProRes 422", that implies you're on a Mac, and there are problems between Macs and AE if you're not totally updated on your version of AE.  Check it out.

              • 4. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
                Paul Whitehead Level 1

                I'm totally updated with my software being i'm a cc subscriber.  My apps are updated daily.  Do you agree with my work around?  When i go through half and full quality render, everything skips a beat.  Meaning a quote can come up at 5 seconds in on half, and then go all the way back to 3.5 seconds on full.  So if i were to drop a text in at half and export it it will pop in 1.5 seconds ahead of where i originally had it.

                • 5. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
                  Dave LaRonde Level 6

                  Nope, I dont think it has anything AT ALL to do with the way you preview.  I think it has more to do with your system: third-party cards being used in conjunction with AE are a common offender.


                  You might do well to answer this litany of questions so more knowledgeable people can help.

                  • 6. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
                    Warren Heaton Adobe Community Professional

                    Heya, pwhiteheadnj732:



                    What you are describing with the audio between your RAM previews and your rendered movies is indeed unexpected (and frustrating for sure!).


                    When it comes to picture, it's not uncommon to RAM preview at a resolution lower than "Full" and then have something unexpected happen when you view or render your Comp at "Full" later.  For example, what an effect looks like at Half resolution or Quarter resolution might look surprisingly different than it does at Full resolution.  However, it is unexpected to have your sound drift as much as you are describing when switching between resolutions.


                    Have you tried adding Layer Markers (Layer > Add Marker) to your audio layer at points that are important for sync?


                    I typically take the time to add a Layer Marker where I need something in the picture to be in sync with the sound before I start animating. As long as the markers are placed accurately, everything should be in sync during your RAM previews and in your rendered movie.  While the RAM preview is looping, you’ll be able to monitor the red Current Time Marker as it advances through the Timeline and passes the Layer Markers.


                    Of course, there is always the chance that you have some sort of latency happening on your system.  If that’s the case, what I’m suggesting probably won’t improve anything until that is resolved.


                    If you give what I’ve suggested a try, please report back with the results.

                    Good luck.




                    • 7. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
                      Paul Whitehead Level 1

                      So are you saying use the perioud key on the numpad to play through the music in real time and then use markers to sync it that way?  What i did to resolve this issue was i kept my render preview at full and used my renter In and out and did my comp section by section and it seemed to work just fine.  I'm almost certain because i was using a ram preview at half  its normal state syncing everything at half and then exporting it at the full render was my problem.  And if im wrong or if it doesnt matter either way, that sucks..  Now when you say i have some sort of latency happening on my system, what do you mean by this? 


                      Getting back to what dave was asking, i am using a black magic side video out for a monitor reference.  This shouldnt be an issue though, since im not actually using this but only to see if things are in title safe.  Do you think turning the black magic monitor off in the preview setting will help?  All i know is, i kept my render preview at full and adjusted everything accordenly that way and did the export.  Things worked out just fine.

                      • 8. Re: Ram Preview Help, Info Needed!
                        Warren Heaton Adobe Community Professional

                        It's good to hear that you've found an approach that works (even thought it's not ideal). For what it's worth, I've always been able to hold sync from Comp to rendered movie as expected in every version of AE that I've ever used.  It might be worth mentioning that I have run across issues where the sustained data transfer rate of the rendered movie is higher than what the storage media can maintain (causing unexpected audio sync issues during playback of the rendered movie); however, I’m not sure that’s what you’re experiencing.



                        *** Previewing Audio to Place Layer Markers


                        Yes, you could use the period key to do an audio only preview to locate where you want to place Layer Markers.  Then, animate to the markers.


                        I find these two AE features very helpful as well:

                        1. If you hold the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows while you click and drag the Current Time Marker in the Timeline, AE will scrub the audio.
                        2. If you Option click and hold on Mac or Alt click and hold on Windows the Current Time Marker, AE will loop the audio playback for a few frames. This is great for when you are trying to match the mouth movements of animated characters to syllables of spoken words or for any animations where you need to be very accurate with an audio file.




                        *** Latency


                        In this context, latency refers to something in your setup that is causing your picture to be out of sync with your sound during playback.


                        To further troubleshoot this:


                        Does your Blackmagic hardware allow you to monitor both picture and sound via the Blackmagic hardware? Some of their products do and some of their products don’t.


                        If it does, make sure that your audio out is patched via the Blackmagic hardware as well as your video out.


                        Regardless of whether it does or does not, check your Video Preview preferences (Preferences > Video Preview).  The Output Device is probably set to Blackmagic Video Output.  If not already set as well: set Output Quality to More Accurate (although, as far as I am aware, this is only affects picture and not sound); enable "Output During" Previews, Mirror on Computer Monitor, Interactions and Renders.




                        *** Other Troubleshooting (if the prior steps don’t help)


                        • Shut down, disconnect the Blackmagic hardware, boot up and see if you experience the same sync issues with AE by itself.
                        • Create a new user account, log in and see if you experience the same sync issues.
                        • Reinstall After Effects.
                        • Reinstall the Blackmagic drivers.