18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 11, 2014 4:57 PM by ksoqueso

    After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips

    ksoqueso

      I initially shot a bunch of video with a Canon Vixia HF G30 in AVCHD. When I realized that Macs cannot read this format correctly, I used Handbrake to convert them to MP4 using the H.264 codec. I have all of the videos stored on a 1TB external hard drive and am dragging them into a folder on my desktop when I need them. I have imported 2 clips in my composition in After Effects totally 14 seconds of video. I cannot do ANYTHING in AE. I try to slide the clip over into position and it moves a tiny amount and then freezes up. I have a MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM, 6GB of which are dedicated to After Effects.

       

      I've worked with After Effects many times but never had this bad of an issue with such a tiny amount of footage. I am thinking it might be too large of a file so any suggestions on how to convert it to a smaller file without losing quality would be very helpful. Thank you SO much.

        • 1. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Transcoding to H.264r is a very bad idea. You. eed to learn about production codecs and use one of them.

           

          That said, without more information about your system and your project we are pretty much at a loss.

          • 2. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
            ksoqueso Level 1

            I am a complete newbie to Handbrake and just did what was recommended on a popular YouTube video which was H.264. The only other options are MPEG-4 and MPEG-2.

             

            The composition setting are 1920x1072 and frame rate is 59.94. I literally have not done anything other than import 2 clips totally 14 seconds and drag them into the composition. Max disc cache size is 23GB. I have tried emptying the cache. Multiprocessing is disabled.

             

            I am happy to provide any additional info you might need to helping me solve this problem.

            • 3. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              ksoqueso wrote:

               

              I initially shot a bunch of video with a Canon Vixia HF G30 in AVCHD. When I realized that Macs cannot read this format correctly,

               

              After Effects should be able to read the original AVCHD files without a problem. What happens when you try to import them into AE? So should Premiere. So should Adobe Media Encoder.

              What exact version number of AE are you using (down to the last decimal)?

              AVCHD is already compressed video, compressing it again into highly compressed H.264 files is a bad idea from a quality standpoint. I always suggest people transcode to a lossless production codec like QuickTime with the PNG codec or something like that instead of compressing it again. That being said, as I mentioned before, assuming your AE is not something super-old, it should read the native camera files.

              • 4. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                ksoqueso Level 1

                Thank you so much for the response.

                 

                In the reading that I did about these files, my understanding was that the .mts files are some sort of highly compressed file and it's not a good idea to use those. I read something that said if you move the file around at all, information easily gets lots. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

                 

                And yes I am able to import the .mts files into AE. I was just frustrated that I couldn't peer view them on my computer but I have downloaded VLC which should eliminate that problem I guess.

                 

                The version of AE I have is 12.2.1.5.

                • 5. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Ah, I understand. Yeah, you couldn't use Apple's player to preview them.

                   

                  If I were you, I would suggest previewing in Premiere and then lay down the clips you want in your Premiere timeline. Then, in AE, import your Premiere Pro project (File>Import>Adobe Premiere Pro Project) and you'll have all the clips you want laid out for you already! Since After Effects isn't an editing program, it's much easier to use an editor to find the parts of clips that you want.

                  • 6. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                    ksoqueso Level 1

                    So I should use the .mts files in Premiere? Can you explain why people were saying that .mts files were not full files and should not be used?

                     

                    My camera also has the option to shoot in mp4. I was thinking of just shooting in mp4 from now on ... Or is there a reason I should continue to use AVCHD?

                    • 7. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      You should be able to use them directly in Premiere without too much trouble. I would have to see the context of what others were talking about. Some cameras would have problems where a long recording (split into multiple files) would have weird glitches at the splits (audio drop-outs, etc.) You could use a piece of software from the camera manufacturer to sort such issues out.

                       

                      It depends on how the AVCHD and MP4 recording options are set up on your camera. I would shoot some test footage of some highly detailed shots (trees, etc.) and some really slight gradation shots (flat wall with gradual lighting difference) in both formats and compare them.

                      • 8. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                        ksoqueso Level 1

                        Ok I am in the process of using Premiere to organize the videos first and I have hit another roadblock. While I can preview the files in VLC, it is nearly impossible to find the ones I need since it only shows the traffic cone as the icon. I am dealing with over 350 clips here and I have not even been able to find the one clip I need because the numbers are in no sort of order in the file names (for example, 788931844.mts is nowhere near 788931845.mts if it even exists at all so the file names seem completely random).

                         

                        I tried to search online for a way to have VLC show thumbnails and I cannot find any way to do so. Do you have any idea? I realize this is a forum for After Effects and it has now gone to Premiere and now to VLC but I am completely at a loss and am desperate.

                        • 9. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          You shouldn't need to use VLC at all. Premiere has some great ways to preview footage. You can see thumbnails of it and when you drag your mouse over the thumbnail, it plays the footage! I highly recommend you look at a few of Adobe's tutorials to learn how to use Premiere because it is great for what you're trying to do.

                          • 10. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                            ksoqueso Level 1

                            The issue was that when I go to File>Import, I wasn't able to tell which files to import and I didn't want to import all 350. I found something called HD Quick Look by Shedworx. I'm not sure if this is what solved the problem with viewing the thumbnails, but now when I go to import, I can see a thumbnail (although I cannot preview it like you normally would be able to with mp4, in my experience). So that was actually good enough for me so I at least knew which videos I was importing and could just do a small batch at a time. And yes, Premiere allows you to preview the video very easily before adding it to the composition which is great!

                             

                            I was going to test it by uninstalling the HD Quick Look to see if I could still see the thumbnails in the import window, but cannot find anything on my computer other than the .pkg file for installation. Either way, Premiere was definitely the way to go for this initially step however if I do end up importing it into After Effects, I worry about having the same problem as I did initially... it being very laggy.

                             

                            I will update if I have issues. Thank you so much for your help.

                            • 11. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                              ksoqueso Level 1

                              Ok all the files are in place in Premiere Pro. Now there are only a few things left to do, one of which is creating depth of field which apparently I can only do in After Effects. I initially tried to open the entire composition using dynamic link in After Effects (composition is 12 minutes long) and I couldn't even preview the clips in AE it was so slow. So then I opened only 1 clip in AE using dynamic link, made a simple mask with blurring and it was still running so slow I could not preview it (the clip was 8 seconds). So I decided to just save what I had so hopefully I could preview my edit in Premiere Pro. I saved the file and exited AE and suddenly it said the media was offline. I relocated the file and now it is there. I am now having Premiere render the clip only and it says it is going to take an hour to render the 8 second clip.

                               

                              This is infuriating as I have multiple clips  I need to add the effect to. Can you offer any suggestions as to why both programs are running so slowly with such short clips? Everything worked pretty well using Premiere but now that I have brought AE back into the mix, the problems have arisen yet again.

                              • 12. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Without seeing you work and how it's behaving, it's going to be very hard to figure out what's wrong. How are you trying to preview in After Effects? How are you adding depth of field?

                                • 13. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                  ksoqueso Level 1

                                  I am previewing by hitting the spacebar. It just renders it so so slowly. I have changed the preview quality to 1/4 which seems to help a lot. I also clear the cache every few minutes. What I mean by slow is that it either is really jumping when I hit the spacebar to preview in AE, or when it is back in Premiere using dynamic link, it just sits on a still shot when I hit spacebar. The only way to preview it at all is to go to Sequence>Render Selection and then to render a 14 sec clip to preview, the time estimation jumps all over the place (from 2 hours, to 1:30, then 50 min, then 8 min, then 30 min, then it usually settles back around 1:30 and begins to show progress with the yellow bar). I really can't sit around for an hour and a half just to make sure 1, 14 second clip looks the way I want it to. Any suggestions?

                                   

                                  I am adding depth of field by creating a duplicate layer with a mask and inverting the camera lens blur that I have applied. Let me know if you need any more info. Thank you so much for your continued help.

                                  • 14. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    ksoqueso wrote:

                                     

                                    I am previewing by hitting the spacebar

                                    Ah. Found your problem! You misunderstand how to use After Effects! AE is not a real-time editing app. It is a pixel-based compositor. Like any pixel-based compositor, you must render a preview. And sometimes it can take a really long time to render depending on your effects. You shouldn't press the spacebar to preview. After Effects Help | Previewing

                                     

                                    Since you didn't know how to do something as basic as preview, I'm going to suggest you take a big step back and start here: Getting started with After Effects

                                    There are likely a TON of useful things you should know that you've missed.

                                     

                                    I've had 14-second clips that took a lot longer than 2 hours to render. You just have to know to set up your scene properly and how to work with the software. All of your issues come from not understanding how After Effects works (or how to work with After Effects).

                                    • 15. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                      ksoqueso Level 1

                                      Oh, man. Something so simple that I had forgotten since I took an initial course in AE back 6 years ago or so and then took a long break from AE. Wow, I feel stupid! I'd recently been working in After Effects on a very regular basis (mostly using just a few color "correction" effects and the rotobrush) but usually the clips were so short, the only problem I had would be the rotobrush taking forever to propagate.

                                       

                                      Now brings me to a problem I am still having. I am using After Effects only for the depth of field effects, as I had mentioned. I am using a very simple mask with a blur effect, or I use the rotobrush tool with a blur on the identical video layer underneath. The rotobrush is so so very slow going through the frames and I think it may be because I shot in 59.94 fps. Is this the issue?

                                           Edit: I am realizing that I probably should not have shot in 59.94 fps. I just wanted to try and have it at the best settings and in doing some reading, I'm seeing that a higher frame           rate does not necessarily mean higher quality video. I just recently purchased this video camera for an entirely different project and this was the first time I've really put it to use.

                                       

                                      Then when everything comes back into Premiere (I am using dynamic link), I need to render preview to see if everything looks the way I want. I have maybe 5 min of footage that I used the masks on in After Effects, and it takes HOURS to render preview in Premiere. I am going to Sequence>Render In to Out to accomplish this. It seems impossible to get anything done. I am beginning to think I simply do not have enough RAM (8 GB) and will be going to work tomorrow on a Mac desktop tomorrow to see if things improve. Do you think it is just an issue with the RAM or am I going to encounter this same problem tomorrow?

                                      • 16. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                        Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        ksoqueso wrote:

                                         

                                        the rotobrush taking forever to propagate...

                                         

                                        The rotobrush is so so very slow going through the frames ..

                                        Are you freezing it? Once you're happy with the result, you need to freeze it to lock it down (and make it go much faster). The Roto Brush tool is not as intuitive as it looks. Please help yourself out and, once you finish going through the link I gave you earlier, go through these resources on the Roto Brush: Roto Brush in After Effects.  They will help you work much faster.

                                         

                                        ksoqueso wrote:

                                         

                                        I am realizing that I probably should not have shot in 59.94 fps. I just wanted to try and have it at the best settings and in doing some reading, I'm seeing that a higher frame           rate does not necessarily mean higher quality video. I just recently purchased this video camera for an entirely different project and this was the first time I've really put it to use.

                                        If you're just shooting talking heads, I would use the normal 29.97 progressive frame rate. If you're shooting action that you want to have in slow motion, shoot in the highest frame rate you can.

                                         

                                        ksoqueso wrote:

                                         

                                        Then when everything comes back into Premiere (I am using dynamic link), I need to render preview to see if everything looks the way I want. I have maybe 5 min of footage that I used the masks on in After Effects, and it takes HOURS to render preview in Premiere. I am going to Sequence>Render In to Out to accomplish this. It seems impossible to get anything done. I am beginning to think I simply do not have enough RAM (8 GB) and will be going to work tomorrow on a Mac desktop tomorrow to see if things improve. Do you think it is just an issue with the RAM or am I going to encounter this same problem tomorrow?

                                        I would render an intermediate file out of After Effects (QuickTime with the PNG codec or QuickTime with the Photo JPEG codec or DNxHD or Cineform) and use that in Premiere instead of using Dynamic Link. That way everything is already rendered and ready to go.

                                         

                                        I would also recommend more RAM.

                                         

                                        This page may also help: optimizing for performance: Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects

                                        • 17. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Also, this quote from Rick Gerard in another thread :

                                          Traditional cell animators use pencil tests to prove their designs and animation before they proceed with color fill and background. That's a really good practice with AE. I seldom if ever do a ram preview at full res with all effects. I will spotcheck full frames, but it's a waste of my time to ram preview things when I know they're going to work from a lo-res "pencil test" of the animation.

                                          • 18. Re: After Effects lagging with only 14 seconds of clips
                                            ksoqueso Level 1

                                            Thank you for all the help. I think the original issue simply was not enough RAM on my computer. I only have 8GB on my laptop. I ended up using a computer at a school with 16GB.

                                             

                                            You were very helpful, thank you so much!