13 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2011 7:16 AM by Lukabrazzi

    CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.

    Lukabrazzi Level 1

      I was having performance issues and repeated crashes with AE CS3 on Win XP, so I talked my boss into upgrading me to CS5 and Win 7.  All was well until we hired a new guy to help me with my video work load.  He has inherited my old software and there's no money for another upgrade, so we're going to have to figure this out.

       

      He running CS3 Master Collection on a Dell PC running Windows XP (Intel Core II Duo 2.33Ghz, 3.25GB RAM).  The graphics card is the ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro, which came stock with the machine.  Specs on that card here: http://reviews.cnet.com/graphics-cards/ati-radeon-hd-2400/4507-8902_7-32763888.html?tag=sp ecs.  Pretty wimpy, I know.

       

      Anyway, my new coworker has been experiencing at least as much frustration as I was, with frequent crashes, a fickle RAM Preview and bad renders.  His machine has more RAM and a faster processor than I had when I ran CS3, but his performance seems even worse  Since CS3 won't handle AVCHD files, I've been converting our HD camera footage into 720p MPG 2 (Adobe Media Encoder) for projects he's assigned.  I suppose that could have something to do with it, but I can't see why CS3 wouldn't run an MPG generated from CS5.  Anyway, I asked him to write up a short list of the problems he's experiencing and he gave me this ...

       

      - rendered movies are often corrupted with red frames that flash in spots

       

      - when i try to render an MPEG2 at full res it will give me an error message that says:

       

      After Effects: AEGP Plugin Media IO Plugin:

      There is a mismatch between Output Module settings and Transcode Settings. Please verify your settings and try again.

      Property Data Invalid!

      MediaIO2 error: 0x400e0004

      Frame dimensions out of bounds

      (5027 :: 12)

       

      - when i try to render a RAM preview, often it does not render the complete work area. it takes several attempts to preview the entire selection

       

      - occasionally, when i bring in new media it gives a message saying 'media pending' and i will have to shut the program down and re-import the media

       

      - it will often (1-3 times per hour) crash unexpectedly and give a message saying 'After Effects has crashed'

       

      - when i try to render a RAM preview an error message pops up saying it needs at least 2 frames to render when i clearly have more than that selected

       

       

      It's my hope that someone here will recognize a common thread between these various issues and be able to suggest a silver bullet that will fix it all.  I realize that's not likely.  Research to date has yielded glimpses of possible solutions involving cache and scratch discs, but there are few specifics and I'm not sure exactly what adjustments to make.  I also have a spare Nvidia GForce 6800 graphics card form my own computer at home that I could donate to this office if it would help.

       

      I'm about to pass these issues on to our Help Desk and let them deal with it, but I'd love to be able to at least point them in the right direction, since they mostly deal with standard office software and won't have much experience troubleshooting multimedia applications.  I believe they also have the option to call Adobe for tech support over the phone, but I'd like them to have a clue if they do.  Can anyone suggest what settings, drivers or hardware might be a good place to start to get my man's system running a little more smoothly?  I'd really appreciate some insight before we start poking around blindly and I offer my thanks in advance for any forthcoming wisdom.

       

      Thanks!

       

      P.S. For what it's worth, my copy of CS5 is running like a champ on Windows 7 with the 64 bit OS.  My machine has an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT for a card, which can't be much better than the "Pro" version in my coworkwers machine, right?

       

       

       

        • 1. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          Lukabrazzi wrote:

           

          ...frequent crashes, a fickle RAM Preview and bad renders.  His machine has more RAM and a faster processor than I had when I ran CS3, but his performance seems even worse  Since CS3 won't handle AVCHD files, I've been converting our HD camera footage into 720p MPG 2 (Adobe Media Encoder) for projects he's assigned.

           

          No wonder he's having problems!  For AE 8, MPEG2 is just as bad as AVCHD.  MPEG2 can, and often does, result in the woes this guy's experiencing.

           

          Try a codec that isn't long-gop, a lossless codec.  I'm a Mac guy, so I favor Quicktime's PNG codec.  If you work in Windows-land exclusively, you're on your own.

           

          And if I were your coworker, I wouldn't try rendering MPEG2 in AE, either.  Or any highly-compressed codec for that matter.  Here's my cut 'n paste response from the Creative COW:

           

           

          Dave's Stock Answer #3:

           

          Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc.  AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.

           

          Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime Pro is better than compressing in AE.

          • 2. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
            He has inherited my old software and there's no money for another upgrade, so we're going to have to figure this out.

             

            You know that you are one inch from obliterating the line between good and evil, I hope...?! Aside from these legal isues, I 100% concur with Dave - throwing MPEG 2 or whatever at CS3 is just as bad as AVCHD. The only way to fully resolve your issues is to use image sequences or Quicktime files with a suitable CoDec or ultimately upgrade to CS5, after all...

             

            Mylenium

            • 3. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
              Lukabrazzi Level 1

              No legal issues, both my CS5 and his CS3 are bought and paid for.  However, if After Effects CS3 is incapable of rendering a decent looking file compressed to a reasonable file size, then I'm not sure how valuable it is to us anyway.  It seems unbelievable to me that one of the most popular industry standard video aps isn't designed to render anything more than draft quality files for client review.  Even if he renders an uncompressed file from AE, CS3 didn't ship with Adobe Media Encoder as a separate ap, so what can he do with it without resorting to third party software?  I don't get it, but I'm clearly no expert on the subject.

               

              So, things being what they are, what file format would you suggest I convert the AVCHD file to in order for my CS3 burdened coworkwer to be able to work with them?  We are a Windows shop, so I don't know if Dave's Quicktime/PNG suggestion will work for us or not.  You've always given good advice to me in the past, so if you have an alternate suggestion I'm eager to try it out.  Just go easy on me with the jargon because I'm primarily a print designer and my video skills at this point are (obviously) intermediate at best!

               

              In any case, I really appreciate both you and Dave taking the time to respond to my post.  This forum continues to be the best resource I have for solving problems and augmenting my understanding of these programs.  My thanks!

              • 4. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                No legal issues, both my CS5 and his CS3 are bought and paid for.

                 

                You bought an upgrade, not a new license. So the number of computers to run the software on can't magically multiply, can it not? It may be technically possible and Adobe may not actively prevent it, but IMO it definitely is not intended to be this way...

                 

                I don't get it, but I'm clearly no expert on the subject.

                 

                AE is first and foremost a compositing app, not a compression tool. That doesn't mean it could not be used to produce one or the other compressed format, but it will always be a compromise. I mean, Photoshop does "video" too, but you wouldn't expect it to produce perfectly compressed YouTube clips, would you? If you get my meaning: AE was never meant to be an end-all-be-all to cover all bases. Including additional tools like AME, Premiere Pro or Encore has always been part of the plan.

                 

                We are a Windows shop, so I don't know if Dave's Quicktime/PNG suggestion will work for us or not.

                 

                It will. Other than that you can always use image sequences - TIFFs with LZW compression can be equally small as do PNG images. PSDs, JPEGs, Targas and whatever you fancy will work just as well.

                 

                Mylenium

                • 5. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                  Lukabrazzi Level 1

                  I didn't upgrade my copy of CS3, we purchased a full copy of CS5 and I passed my bought and licensed copy of CS3 to my coworker.  Clearly, I misused the language and the confusion is my fault, but no need to worry about Adobe going broke on my account.

                   

                  Though I don't want to turn this into a debate about the merits of AE, Photoshop is not sold for the purpose of creating video and naturally no one expects it to do so.  Any video ability it offers is merely an extra, like the camera in your cell phone.  On the other hand, After Effects is promoted specifically as a tool for creating animation for video and I don't see why I shouldn't expect it to render a usable file at any export settings it permits me to set.  If it can't deliver those settings, then they shouldn't be there.  If it allows me to import an MPG2 file, then it should be able to work with one.  Otherwise, why even bother letting me bring it in to my project?  Just my opinion, of course.

                   

                  As for the problem at hand, I'll try what you suggest and see if he has better luck with the image sequences.  Again, thanks for the input.  I'll let everyone know how it works out.

                  • 6. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                    Dave LaRonde Level 6

                    Lukabrazzi wrote:

                    After Effects is promoted specifically as a tool for creating animation for video and I don't see why I shouldn't expect it to render a usable file at any export settings it permits me to set.  If it can't deliver those settings, then they shouldn't be there.  If it allows me to import an MPG2 file, then it should be able to work with one.  Otherwise, why even bother letting me bring it in to my project? 

                    Just like every other piece of complicated software, AE has its quirks.  It doesn't do video compression well; other applications simply do it a whole lot better.

                     

                    I agree with you on importing MPEG2 files: Adobe should never have allowed that in AE, because MPEG 2 is both a lossy and lousy compression scheme for frame-by-frame compositing, especially for an application like AE with the capability of using effects influenced by time.  Makes no sense.  Get rid of it.

                    • 7. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                      no need to worry about Adobe going broke on my account.

                       

                      I'm not.... Just wanted to point out a potential legality issue, nothing more. I'm not getting percentages for doing it or any of that, so in the end, we can all go easy on that one...

                      On the other hand, After Effects is promoted specifically as a tool for creating animation for video and I don't see why I shouldn't expect it to render a usable file at any export settings it permits me to set.

                       

                      Nope, I humbly disagree. Just like you would differentiate between doing different steps of your print workflows in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and no doubt tons of other tools, "video guys" use a variety of tools and AE is just a link in the chain. People for years have happily invested in alternate encoding tools and will continue to do so, even if AME may get better with every release. I really don't see a problem here and I still think you are simply are trying to use AE as a one stop solution for everything when it isn't meant to be... In that light, it dealing with compressed footage at all is a convenience, but not an ultimate requirement. You can't work with anything compressed in "serious" compositing tools like Nuke, Fusion or flame*, they all rely on image sequences and Quicktime. Now I will agree that not handling MPEG formats properly even if they can be imported feels like a broken promise, but even then - there is a million flavors of any MPEG sub-format and even a company like Adobe doesn't have the resources to smooth out all kinks, much less in a version that was produced several years ago, when these compressed formats where not as widespread used for acquisition and ingest and were mostly considered a delivery format like for viewing on DVD....

                       

                      Mylenium

                      • 8. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                        Lukabrazzi Level 1

                        Okay, you've convinced me that I may be misunderstanding AE's role in the production bundle.  I'll try integrating Premier and Media Encoder into our workflow and get over my fixation on AE as a standalone solution.  I'm guessing I should export my AE project to Premier to render?  I'll have my guy give that a shot and see what happens.  My continuing gratitude for your help with all of this.

                        • 9. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                          Lukabrazzi Level 1

                          I'm converting a 7 minute AVCHD to a Quicktime with PNG CoDec using Adobe Media Encoder.  Looking at a 5hr estimated render time, which seems extreme.  I think I'm gonna let it play out just to test the result, but I don't think we can afford to devote so much pre-pro time to converting these files for use in CS3.  I'll keep toying with settings and share the results for anyone else who may be following the thread.

                           

                          Actually, I just checked the file size, which is passing 2 Gb with well over three quarters to go.  The end file will surely be at least 10Gb, which is probably too big, right?  Is anyone outside of a professionally equipped production house juggling 10Gb source files in their AE projects?  Perhaps I lack perspective.

                          • 10. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                            Dave LaRonde Level 6

                            Lukabrazzi wrote:

                            I don't think we can afford to devote so much pre-pro time to converting these files for use in CS3.

                             

                            I agree: it's a right royal pain, but you really don't have much of a choice IF you're obligated to use a camera that shoots AVCHD footage and IF you have to use AE 8 with the footage.

                             

                            However, if you can use a camera that shoots DVCPro HD, you either have the codec already (on a Mac) or you can get it for $150 (Win), no conversion necessary.

                             

                            Lukabrazzi wrote:

                            The end file will surely be at least 10Gb, which is probably too big, right?  Is anyone outside of a professionally equipped production house juggling 10Gb source files in their AE projects?

                             

                            That sounds about right for 7 minutes of HD video converted to the PNG codec.  You get used to huge file sizes when working in AE.  Considering you can pick up a 1 TB external hard drive for about $100, it's not all that daunting.

                             

                            The whole philosophy when working in AE is to do no damage to the image.  That's why you're converting the problem footage to a lossless codec, and why it's always best to render to a lossless codec if you're unsure of the codec necessary for delivery.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                              Lukabrazzi Level 1

                              Yeah, unfortunately our camera only shoots AVCHD, so we'll need to convert for my coworker.  As I said, I'm going to render this thing and see how my his machine handles it.  Maybe if I back off a little on the settings I can find the right balance between image quality, render time and file size.  My feeling is that his machine is going to choke on this massive file, but we'll see.

                               

                              For the record, my copy of CS5 handles the AVCHD files wonderfully and generates great looking MPG2 files with no problems whatsoever.  Crashes are infrequent and the program runs smoothly.  The performance difference between the two versions seems to be stark and the problem may go beyond the software, but with the number of hardware/OS variables involved it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause(s) of my coworker's headaches.  I'm sure eventually I'll be able to upgrade his software and get us both better machines, but in the meantime I have to find a workflow that we can live with.

                               

                              Thanks for your help, Dave.  Very appreciated.  I'm sure I'll be back (sigh).

                              • 12. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                                bogiesan Level 4

                                > For the record, my copy of CS5 handles the AVCHD files wonderfully and generates great looking MPG2 files with no problems whatsoever.  Crashes are infrequent and the program runs smoothly. <

                                 

                                Then you have a simple, logical, mathematically irrefutable proposal for your company. Add it up. The never-ending cost of jumping through the hoops (you have) caused by your acquisition media decision easily and quickly surpasses the cost of a new CS5 bundle.

                                 

                                bogiesan

                                • 13. Re: CS3 Performance Issues - Productivity Crippled - S.O.S.
                                  Lukabrazzi Level 1

                                  Ahhhh .... if only I still worked in the private sector where that kind of unassailable logic might carry the day.  Unfortunately, I work for a state agency, where logic stands no chance against the beauracracy.  Politically, projecting a real savings in the long term isn't nearly as safe as showing a percieved savings immediately.  I gotta get outta here ... !