Hum... what is the height and width of your composition and your biggest element ? Because working with too big elements can cause cache error and failed renders. Have you tried to render with the secret menu options ?
Last but not least, is AE crashing at the same frame each time ?
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What machine are you using? As you surely know, After Effects 7 is engineered for the Power PC (G4, G5, etc) architecture. If you use it on an Intel-based Mac (Mac Pro, Macbook/Macbook Pro, etc) it will run under Rosetta emulation and memory usage will be incredibly high (and rendering very, very slow). So, unless you're using a PowerPC-based machine, this is not surprising at all.
It's a 17 inch Intel MacBook Pro. I realize it runs under emulation. but it's what I have and and and for the last 6 months (with this particular MBP) it has worked well enough. I've had another intel MBP in the past running mostly the same set up with no crashing problems. It's one of the reasons I haven't upgraded yet.
As for the other suggestions
It crashes in different places and the comp size while unusual for most (2928 x 48 stadium ribbon board) is a comp size I've been using for the last 3 years without issue.
I'm thinking that it might have to do with importing a project from digital juice's motion designer's tool kit at the begining.
I'm going to start over from scratch with a new project and quickly rebuild the comps and project without the DJ project stuff.
Thanks guys for answering.
Just as a reference, it has been estimated that for most applications, Rosetta emulation takes twice as much memory as the same application running natively. If you consider that large frames requires a ton of memory, then again, it's no mystery why the app vanishes
Also, consider that Tiger and the current version of Quicktime didn't exist at all when the application was created, so all these things can each add a layer of instability.
Oh I realize all of that. I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to troubleshoot. And was looking for suggestions on what to try.
Well I tried a few things and nothing worked so I upgraded. I knew that sooner or later I'd have to upgrade.
I realize that answer isn't helpful to anybody but me.
I thought if anybody does a search and this comes up, I might at least put down how I resolved the issue.
I think upgrading to a version that supports Intel processors natively is what makes sense, also from the point of view of the investment you made in hardware. Hopefully, you also like the new features added since AE 7