12 Replies Latest reply on Nov 14, 2008 12:51 AM by Jonas Hummelstrand

    AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!

      Hello AE wizards,

      The Problem: After exporting our HD After Effects project to QuickTime the playback stutters just a bit. It will run along fine and then it jerks/hiccups. This happens at various times during playback. We have tried many different export settings but no luck. We would really appreciate some help with this. Thank you.

      About our project: We are creating an intro animation for viewing on our computer monitor and for DVD. The movie will be made up of only High Res photos separated into several layers to create a 3D effect. We import the .psd files, add the layers to the timeline and check 3D layers. We create space between each layer on the z axis and then move a camera through the scene. The project dimensions are 1920 X 1080 and the photos are as big as 2000 px X 2000 px. The movie length is about 2:00 min.

      Export Settings: File/Export QuickTime movie:

      Compression Type: H.264
      Frame Rate: Current (29.97)
      Key Frames: Every 24 frames
      Frame Reordering: Checked
      Compressor Quality: Best
      Encoding: Best quality (Multi-pass)
      Data Rate: Automatic

      Export Size Settings:
      Dimensions: HD 1920 x 1080 16:9
      Preserve aspect ratio using: Letterbox
      Deinterlace source Video: Unchecked
      Prepare for Internet Streaming: Unchecked

      - Product - Adobe After Effects CS3 Pro
      - Version -

      Platform information:
      - Hardware - Mac Pro - 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
      - Graphic/Display Card - NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
      - Memory - 4 GB MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM
      - OS Version OS X 10.5.2
      - Monitor - Cinema HD 30"
      - Color Depth 32-bit color
      - Resolution 2560 x 1600
        • 1. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
          Jonas Hummelstrand Level 2
          If your playback in QuickTime Player stutters at different times your system isn't fast enough, which sounds strange considering your specs. H.264 with heavy compression can be pretty tough to decode, so you could try a bigger codec, such as QT PhotoJPEG.

          Using "Export" is almost always a bad idea in AE, use the Render Queue instead.

          - Jonas Hummelstrand
          • 2. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
            >Data Rate: Automatic

            That's exactly what's wrong. It will creatre way too hunky files for smooth playback. Use a fixed data rate. Something like 10Mbit/ sec should be way enough for desktop playback.

            • 3. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
              Level 1
              We are still having trouble with the playback.

              We have lowered the frame rate to 24.

              We rendered our movie with the Data Rate restricted to 10,000 kbits/sec and in the QuickTime movie inspector it shows 46.32 mbits/s and the file size is 849MB. This render played as the others, with stutters/jerky movements.

              Last night we rendered and restricted the Data Rate to 9000 and in the QT inspector it shows 10.76 mbits/s and the file size is 197MB, it still plays with stutters/jerky movements.

              Our movie dimensions are 1920px X 1080px and we are using 2000px X 2000px uncompressed psd (digitized photos) placed on 3D layers and moving a camera through the scene, perhaps this is just too much. We are wanting to playback at fullscreen on our 30" cinema display.

              Is there something else we can try?
              Thanks for any advice, we really appreciate it.

              • 4. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                Level 1

                We just exported another movie, I restricted the Data Rate to 3000 kbits/sec and in the QT inspector it shows 4464.05 kbits/s and the file size is 81MB and we still have the stuttering/jerky movements.

                I had read that these problems would go away when the movie is put on DVD, any truth in this?

                Thanks, Mark.
                • 5. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                  Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional
                  This could be a codec issue, or a display issue. Some thoughts off the top of my head:

                  Use the Render Queue rather than File/Export

                  Try a half-res render but play back at full screen. Same issue?

                  Try rendering with less CPU-hungry codecs: perhaps PhotoJPEG at 60% quality, Animation codec at 90% quality with keyframe every 24 frames.

                  Can you try playback on a different system, or move file to a different hard drive at least?
                  • 6. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                    Level 1
                    Thanks for the ideas Andrew,

                    I used the render que and rendered at half res and viewed at fullscreen. Yes, same issue.
                    I also played the movie from another hard drive and still, same issue.
                    I tried the PhotoJPEG which made a rather large file but it was even worse.
                    The animation format was a huge file and played the worst of all.

                    I guess I should try to put it on a DVD and see if it will run better that way.

                    Thanks to everyone that has offered help. I will continue to watch this thread in case someone has any other ideas.

                    • 7. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                      Get rid of the fixed keyframe intervall and frame re-ordering. For most MPEG 4 stuff you should leave them set to "automatic" as you want optimized stream behavior, not ultimate control of the exact GOP structure. Also checking the stuff on a 30" Cinema display is not particularly "safe". Due to how the display works, there is always a slight delay (the dual channel DVI sync). I would recommend checking this on either a normal 22" or 24" single channel DVI monitor or if you really must go big, on a HDMI-enabled monitor that does not suffer from the Cinema Display's workaround. The data rates should not be an issue - SATA drives provide enough bandwidth for this type of content even if they are not striped. That would only have relevance when you do uncompressed editing or stuff.

                      • 8. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                        Level 1
                        Thanks for the input Mylenium.

                        Some of your message is a bit over my head but I tried many different render settings since our last post and our movie still runs with stutters.

                        I took a lossless,(8.3 gig) render we made sometime ago and exported it from QuickTime 7 pro for web so we could put up a link and show you what our movie looks like. See link is below. This movie seems to run quite well, is 19 mb, but only 800 px wide. If I run this movie full screen (30" width) it still stutters. Maybe this offers more clues.

                        If your interested, I'd be more than happy to send you a DVD with the entire project file so you can have a better idea of what the problem is.

                        Thanks in advance for all the help, Mark.

                        19 mb movie.

                        • 9. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                          I'm right there with you on the jerky playback. I've rendered using Sorensen 3 or .264. I normally have it set to 2kb/s - 4kb/s. I am using the render Que by the way. My Playback will have a random Jerkiness. It might be linked to the amount of information AE has to render per frame. I don't know. I have not been able to find a solution. though.

                          Model Name: Mac Pro
                          Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
                          Processor Speed: 3 GHz
                          Number Of Processors: 2
                          Total Number Of Cores: 4
                          L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
                          Memory: 5 GB
                          Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
                          • 10. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                            Hi I,too, have just run into this problem. Does anybody have any new ideas? The thread sorta just died without solving the problem:(
                            • 11. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                              Yes. I've viewed your quicktime and...

                              The stutters are actually already in your animation, they are NOT being caused by playback issues.

                              You can see this by single frame advancing through your animation, you will quite often encounter frames where nothing changes when compared to the last frame, and you then get a jump on the next frame. This means frames are being dropped during rendering of the animation or the master file you are using has gone through some sort of frame rate conversion. Probably you have converted from 24 frames per second to 29.97 frames per second which requires repeating a number of frames/fields per second (5.97 frames) , these repeated frames will destroy the illusion of smooth motion.

                              Heres something you can try:

                              Check the original animation file by step framing through one frame at a time. Do you see frames that are exactly the same as the previous one? If the answer is yes... then you need to re render the animation, try doing it at the same frame rate you plan to output (29.97fps).

                              If the answer is NO... then just use the native framerate of that file to do the rest of your project. ie. DONT upsample the framerate to 29.97 or anything else.

                              The other option is (if the actual real time sync of the animation doesnt matter) to go back to your original animation file and just play the 24fps animation at 29.97 at one to one frame. So we discard the playback rate of the input file (24fps) and just display one frame of the input for each frame required at the output. This ensures that the motion will be smooth, (because we are not repeating frames to keep the duration the same) however it will be playing back slightly faster.

                              I happened to find this topic because I'm researching how to get smooth playback of quicktime movies on a desktop screen. Its actually proving incredibly hard. Even if you manage to create a master file that actually has your smooth animation in at 24fps... chances are Quicktime will frak it up for you... because it dynamically changes the framerate on playback to suit the display anyway.

                              If your on a Mac then your desktop is probably set to 60Hz (Which really means 59.94Hz). So re-rendering your 3d animation at 29.97 is probably your best chance at getting smooth motion in the final viewing.
                              • 12. Re: AE CS3 HD exported Quicktime playback stutters!
                                Jonas Hummelstrand Level 2
                                Yes, use the right arrow to advance one frame at a time and the first two parts have every other frame doubled, effectively halving your frame rate.

                                - Jonas Hummelstrand