Do you mean rendering to a file from the Render Queue or the RAM previews?
RAM preview duration is limited by physical RAM on your computer. If you consider that After Effects always builds RAM previews as uncompressed 4:4:4, and apparently you also have your project set to 32 bits per channel, 10-15 secs is kind of great
If you temporarily switch your Comp to Half Resolution, and set your zoom ratio to 50 per cent, you would be able to preview segments twice as long with half-HD frames that should look very good. If your project really is set to 32 bpc (your source files are most likely 32 bits as in 8 bits per channel), you can also temporarily set it to 8 bits bpc, you also get much, much longer previews.
I would have to check this, but I think with a dual core machine and 12 GB of RAM on XP64, you could enable multiprocessing and have about 4GB for the main app (which could act as a practical ceiling for RAM preview duration) and then you could set about 3GB for each multiprocessing instance. Take a look at the After Effects Help section on Memory and multiprocessing to see how you can assign more RAM for the main app or the background processes. I don't think adding more RAM would make things better in a dual-core machine.
Now, if your renders to video files stopped at 10-15 secs, then yes, that would be a problem.
As Mr. Rozenfeld said, if it's RAM previews, then this is normal behavior - as a 32bit app, 4 GB is the maximum of what AE can manageand anything that does not fit into it, gets cut. The larger the resolution, the shorter the duration and likewise, the higehr the bit depth, the shorter, because each frame consumes more memory. If it stops on final renders, then it's a whole different matter. in such cases you should check your Quicktime install and other tools like virus scanners interfering. Rendering to image sequences as a test should help to track down the problem. Similarly, in a network environment, you may have problems with timeouts, disk quota or the remote drives quietly shutting down/ disappearing...
No I am not talking about RAM previews and as I have said I have NO problem with XP and CS3 on the same machine.
I am talking about rendering out 32 bit movie files using the render queue with Vista x64 and CS4. The render simply quits after rendering part of the sequence. This happens even with a new composition (1920 x 1080 square pixels) with just one bit of HD footage and no effects or changes made to it. It happens with 32, 16 and 8 bit projects. It even happens when rendering a still sequence. The time until failure is proportional. The 8 bit project renders further into the project than a 16 bit project which progresses further than a 32 bit project. To my simple brain that appears to be a memory issue.
My source files are mainly synthetic and at any settings I choose. At the moment I am working on motion graphics for a movie title sequence. There are lots of graduations which mean I am using the highest resolution I can manage to prevent banding. But I have the problem no matter what source materials I use.
My work station is offline there are no virus scanners or firewalls. I have cleaned the database and cache which is on separate drive. I have the latest version of Quicktime and I am rendering to an internal drive not the network. It was a clean install of Vista and CS4 with only 3DS Max and Audition neither of which have been used yet.
What I want to know is the optimum settings for my set up in the Memory and Multiprocessing preferences. I am not using any other software and have tried various settings. I am simply trying to narrow down where the problem is.
P.S. If I turn off render multiple frames simultaneously the problem goes away.
For the record, it's only now I see your computer is dual-dual, not dual
So everything I wrote about memory and multiprocessing is wrong.
If you have a quad machine and you're using fairly large source files, then more RAM could help. 12 GB is not inadequate, though.
You could try assigning more RAM to the background processes ("faster rendering" in the slider) as opposed to the main app ("longer RAM preview"). As you drag, you'll the "GB per CPU" read-out increase. You could also try leaving 1 CPU free for other applications, so the other three can take more RAM without having to grab it from the main app. Does that help?
The simple answer to 'does it help' is no I had tried all that. That machine is rendering quite happily now that I have turned off render multiple frames simultaneously. It is using all four processors but presumably rendering one frame at a time.
Speed is not as important as quality but I am open to suggestions in order to get multiple frames rendering. I won’t connect it into my small renderfarm (all dual quads) until I know the software is working properly.
How much RAM would be adequate? I have at least another year to go on this project and RAM is relatively inexpensive. The machine in question can hold another 4 GB in the present configuration and 64 GB if I replace all the chips.
I'll contact you off-list about this.