There's a magical little text field in After Effects at the top right corner. It's called Search Help. Type media cache in there and you'll find lots of good info including the location for the settings.
Naturally, I read this help article, and searched the help for others. My question was how to disable the media cache, while this help article only explain how to change its location.
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Your media cache is used for rendering too. You can set convenient locations so It's easier to clean out, but you can't turn it off. It actually speeds up rendering and many Adobe apps use this cache. If it wasn't there none of the data that's used to do things like read timecode, match audio to video, and keep track of the footage would exist. It would have to be pulled out of the source files a frame at a time and that would slow things down a bunch.
A preference setting for the amount of time to hold on to media cache files would be a good thing if it were tied to the projects you're working on. It might be a good feature request… no wait, I've already filed one. Maybe you could throw another log on the fire. If enough people do it may happen.
If I'm going to be hammering on a large project for several weeks I won't touch the cache. If I'm working on two projects over the same time and I think of it I'll change the storage locations for each project so that I can keep the cache for the one that is still going on but delete the cache for the completed project. The media cache doesn't effect AE as much as it does Premiere Pro. Nuke the cache on a feature film length project with hundreds or even thousands of clips in the project and the next time you open the project you'll be waiting for a very long time while the cache and database is rebuilt.
I hope I wasn't rude. I've been answering so many questions lately that are so easily answered by using community help that I've gotten a little cranky.
Thanks. I wasn't aware media cache was important for rendering as well. And I'll try the feature request - it certainly will be an improvement over what we have now.
There's one think I wasn't sure I got right. You write:
If I'm going to be hammering on a large project for several weeks I won't touch the cache. If I'm working on two projects over the same time and I think of it I'll change the storage locations for each project so that I can keep the cache for the one that is still going on but delete the cache for the completed project.
Can I select a different cache folder for different projects? When I select a media cache location, it looks like it's a global setting. Or did you mean you will use this if your feature suggestion will be approved?
My personal machine is a mac. My media is stored on an external eSATA or firewire 800 array. I keep projects very carefully organized in folders. The structure is always the same and is modeled after the same structure you use when you're editing on film. Imagine hundreds, maybe even thousands of little strips of movie film scattered in the bottom of a clip bin and the producer wants to put back 5 seconds of an interview that you trimmed out two weeks ago and tossed in the bin without a label because these 5 seconds completely change the tone of the story. That happened to me on the first documentary that I shot. It was the last time that I lost something on a project.
Here's my structure. It's actually very simple. On my working drive there are only 3 main folders. The first has a start date in the name and it's called Arhives110725. (This archive folder was started July 7, 2011) The number is year month day because this keeps them in order. I use the same numbering system for many of my files. If they were number month day and year the mass storage would be a mess. The second is called Projects, the third is called System. Go to the root of my storage drive and all you see is:
My finder is set to open the Projects folder automatically. Two clicks and I'm ready to work.
In the zStuff folder go the cache files and anything else that can be thrown away with no danger to the project. It's basically my stored junk. It's the folder that gets cleaned out on a regular basis.
In the Projects Folder I place each job in it's own folder with the client's name and start date. Open the Projects folder and I get a list of each project I'm currently working on. The real magic happens in the Job folders. That's where everything else is organized. Open a job folder and you'll see the following folders. For example a current project looks like this:
- Master Art
- Proofs(an alias to a DropBox folder for the client to see)
If there's a web site involved in the project there's also a web folder.
When a job is completed and it's delivered it's moved to the Archives folder and everything remains in tact because the directory structure from the AE, Premiere, Photoshop, Final Cut, and everything else is still the same. No time is lost looking for missing footage or replacing a linked file in an illustrator document. Anything can be found in 2 or 3 clicks.
Now to answer your cache question. If I'm in the middle of project 1 and I'm going to be off that project for 2 weeks working on project 2, sometimes I'll change the Media cache file location in my zStuff folder for the two weeks I'm on the other project. When I'm through with project 2 I'll delete the Media Cache files for Project 2, reset the location to the original media cache folder, then open up project 1 and start work again. This way, I don't have to wait for my NLE to re-cache the files for the first project. I don't do this very often. Most of the time I just routinely check the zStuff folder to see how much junk is in there.
I hope these suggestions help. About half of the time I spend on the first two days of most projects I'm called in to work on as a freelancer are spend just finding and organizing materials, instructions, and media. If every project i worked on had the same file structure I'd have a lot more time to spend with my family.
Wow, that has been very educational. Thank you!
However, in my situation I'm working on several small projects simultaneously, on a daily basis, so it seems it's no use to switch the cache locations as you suggested. Too bad, let's hope Adobe might change this behavior in future versions.
All nle's that I know of cache media. Most don't automatically clean out the cache. Final Cut reccomends that you delete cache files when you are through with your project, but FCP stores cache in the same folder that you use for the project and names them so they are a little easier to find.
Adobe just doesn't have an option to delete the cache on exit or set a timer for something like delete cache files that are more than 30 days old. It's a good feature request.