Looking at this graveyard of partial files that I've exported - the ones that get up around 45 seconds are almost 8 gigs big! And the ones I stopped at 3 seconds or so are around 300 mb. I thought H.264 was supposed to compress into viewable file sizes. Any ideas?
Let's start with simple things first. Try exporting an image sequence from After Effects, not a self-contained movie file. That way, we can see if the problem is in the rendering phase or the encoding phase.
I have it rendering as a JPEG sequence right now (all default settings for the JPEG sequence), so I wanted to double check that it fits what you recommend. Its been rendering for 13 minutes. When it started it estimated about 20 hours. At 9 minutes it dropped to about 12 hours, then popped back up to 13 and a half, went back down to 12, has jumped up to about 14.
More than anything, just want to check that the JPEG sequence setting works for what you were talking about. I'll let it keep rendering and get back to you a little later.
Yep. That's fine. The important thing is that by doing this we're determining whether the problem happens in the rendering of frames or in the compiling and encoding of those frames into a movie. Any image sequence export will eliminate many of the factors in the second phase.
OK, we've got an idea about your render settings, but what about your project is weird? Do you have any layers that are 2 or 3 times the size of the composition frame or scaled to 200 or 300%?
Are your 77 jpgs sized appropriately? If you've loaded 77 12 MP (megapixel) jpgs from a DSLR into the project and scaled them all down to 100 or so pixels wide then you're going to have all kinds of rendering problems. Resources should be somewhere close to 100% scale or if 3D somewhere close to the zoom value in pixels away from the camera at some point in the project. Scaling way down to fit something in the comp won't improve it's appearance. Scale an sharpen your images before you bring them into AE.
I see that you have 4 MP4 video tracks. If these are scaled, time remapped, or have any but the simplest effects applied they could be a major source of trouble. Transcode these to an easy to digest codec like Animation QT or PhotoJpeg. The size of the MP4 file in MB is irrelevant, but the compression isn't. It's hard as can be to decode MP4 files a frame at a time. MP4 is not a production codec.
I'm really curious about the 69 motion trackers. Do you mean that you tracked 69 different objects with AE's tracker so you have 69 motion tracks (with all 3 sets of keyframes each) loaded on a single video layer? If so, are you using an expression to retrieve the data from the tracks? This could be another source of the problem. An expression that sets up a loop to another expression an cause massive slowdowns and complete system lockups.
You gave us a lot of info on render settings. What we need now is a screen shot or two, and if you have expressions a screen shot or a description of them would also help.
First of all, thanks for responding.
As far as the jpgs go, they're all around 3.5 mb with a few that combined in photoshop and rendered out at 15.2 mb. The majority of them are scaled to around 70-80%. Two of them are at 200%. I have no 3D. Looks like I could do some tidying up in this department.
The MP4 are scaled in the premiere side of this project. Probably about 250%. I could easily re-render these on their own and bring them back into the project as simpler file formats.
As far as the motion tracking is concerned: in each shot I have a green-screened background that I created a new tracker for. I applied every tracked shot to a null object, and then parented the appropriate jpg to that tracker to serve as the background of my keyed video shot. So I had 69 shots that required tracking, thus 69 null objects with 69 jpgs parented to them.
When I get through/give up on the current jpg sequence rendering I will take a screenshot or two and post them. Hopefully they'll make more sense to you than I do.
I don't care what the file size of the jpgs is, what are the dimensions? They should be about the same size as your comp.
I stopped the jpeg sequence rendering. Turned out like all of the others. Ran for over 16 hours and only got 53 seconds into the composition.
Here's some screen shots. The first is just a basic breakdown - the null objects with the tracking info continue all the way up to 1. The jpgs/mp4 clips continue all of the way down to the bottom. The middle is two dynamically linked sequences from premiere pro 5.5. There's a solid yellow color burn above it at 8% opacity, an adjustment layer with curves, unsharp mask, and noise HLS, and a black solid vignette at 5% opacity.
This shot highlights the biggest JPG and mp4 transform details.
This last one highlights how I approached the tracking information. Each shot had its own tracker. A jpg is loaded and parented to the null object with the appropriate tracking information. Highlighted is 75 (IMG_2087.jpg) being parented to 69 (Tracking).
As for the jpg and mp4 dimensions... looking them up now.
The mp4's are 320 x 240 and scaled sometimes up to near 1000%
The smaller pictures (IMG_2087-92) are at 3648 x 2736 and the big one I use for any shot with a big pan (bigcenter) is 7608 x 2736. My composition settings are 1920 x 1080. Sounds like a bad match! And I've got 77 of these!
At least we've confirned that the problem is in the rendering phase.
Regarding the JPEG source images:
Resizing these down to the size that you need before importing them. Using Photoshop actions, you can automate this.
I see from your screen shots that you aren't running AE 10 or 10.5, but an earlier version. You should know that MP4 video can raise all kinds of unforeseen problems in earlier AE versions.
I advise converting the MP4's to a different media container & codec. Quicktime movies in the Animation or PNG codecs are always a good choice; if you happen to have Final Cut Suite 2 or 3 on the same machine with AE, ProRes 422 is a fine choice as well.
It's hard to tell from your screenshots but it looks like you haven't set in and out points for your layers. If a layer isn't being used trim it. I can only see one image in the comp window, but I can see a bunch of frames. All of those layers are being analyzed and that could be the source of your hang up. The nulls won't effect anything, but 77 big jpgs stacked on top of each other would. This is what a timeline should look like. There were 400 layers in this one but never more than 10 or so at a time.