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Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow

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Charles Mouyat
Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 7:37:01 am

Hi guys,
I've looked, but there does not seem to be an answer that quite fits my problem. I have a 5 minute sequence that utilises still images key-framed to create a "slideshow". The sequence is HD 1440x1080.

i have tried to cut down or simplify render parameters as much as possible, for example; rendering in RGB, with "normal" render quality, at only 25fps.

My e-Sata raid seem to flash on every minute or so while FCP renders. It's as if FCP has put my 3ghz 8core mac into a coma.

I just don't get it. The source image files are NOT so damned big (approx 3.6 x 2.4k px), os as to cripple my machine in such a way... I have tried using them as JPEGs, PNGs and targas. I have repaired permissions. I have updated to the very latest OS and version of FCP studio... FYI, The images have a couple of title overlays (targas with alpha) and even simple "ken burns" style pan/zoom keyframing, to create very simple movement takes forever to render. Eg., just two "slides" (lasting 10) seconds will take 20 minutes to render, and to render the whole thing takes about 5 or 6 hours. This strikes me as being just NOT right.

Is there a way to get past this problem? It's unacceptable...

I have a number of sequences to work through on what is ostensibly still a very "powerful" production tower, but this rendering of keyframed stills ties things up to a virtual standstill. I'm in way too deep to start from scratch in another program. CLient has signed off on format and

Thanks in advance,
Charles

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 2:26:48 pm

HD has many flavors... what is the compression setting for the sequence? HDV? DVCPROHD? Uncompressed HD? or? You'll find a lot faster renders usually with ProRes or DVCPROHD settings... Also, those files are indeed big in size. I'd use Tiffs or PNG formats (not jpeg anyway) and size them down in Photoshop. You'll also find that files about 1/2 that size will look every bit as good as the big ones if the DPI setting is, say 300 dpi in Photoshop.

Your external drive SHOULD be involved with a render. The files have to be read and stored to it during the render... right?

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

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Charles Mouyat
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 9:39:35 pm

Hi Jerry,
thanks for responding.

to answer:
fame size: 1440 x 1080
Compressor settings: HDV1080p25
Quality:100
Video Processing: Always render in RGB
Motion Quality : Normal
Render control: Filters on
Frame blending on
frame rate: 100%
resolutions: 100%
codec: same as sequence

Yes the raid flashes, but so slowly, as to remain inactive for long periods of time (what seems like minutes on end) instead of flashing with constant activity, as one would expect.

I will try rescaling, but am concerned that each frame will require scaling and keyframe readjustment when the resolution is brought down. I have seven of these things built, and this is a very time consuming task considering the simplicity of my needs.

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Alan Okey
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 2:32:04 pm

If your project consists only of stills, why did you choose a thin raster sequence instead of full-raster 1920x1080? What are your sequence settings? What is the sequence codec? If it's a long-GOP codec like HDV, then you're just asking for trouble.

If you absolutely had to do this in FCP instead of After Effects or Motion (which are much better suited to this type of work), then I think you would have been better off working in a 1920x1080 ProRes 422 sequence.


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keith mcgregor
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:48:01 pm

So set your sequence to proRes (I just tried ProRes LT) and full raster size. I didn't see a difference between the jpgs and png but I use png and always make the pics 72ppi to conserve on resources. Render out a reference file and drop that into compressor. With the right settings for your machine in the Qmaster prefs, it should render much faster and not give you any more headaches.
-Beef

Reality? What did you make it?


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Charles Mouyat
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 9:55:57 pm

Hi Keith,
when you talk 72ppi, are you talking resampling the image by downing res, or just changing from 300ppi to 72ppi without resampling? And does "full raster size" mean 1920x1080?

With the workflow, are you suggesting by "rendering out a reference file" for compressor, rather than rendering in the sequence timeline??

I need to do some homework about qmaster, obviously. Any more insight here would be deeply appreciated...

Thanks in advance,
C.

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Charles Mouyat
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 9:46:35 pm

Hi Alan,
thanks. To answer your question, I did not build it myself. I contracted the work out to a very self-satisfied hack. I am left to pickup the pieces and deal with the legacy of what they started, and finish what the client has signed off on.

SO, you think if I push the sequence up to the higher res I may have a more "native" rendering capacity?....

I'll try anything at this point. I just don't understand why it takes SO LONG to render what seems like very basic manipulation (notwithstanding the size of my image files, which I still consider to be modestly sized considering the pathetic render times). I'd appreciate any insight to codecs and sequence settings that will mitigate my problem.

Thanks again, I look forward to your response.

C.

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Alan Okey
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 9, 2011 at 11:48:52 pm

[Charles Mouyat] "you think if I push the sequence up to the higher res I may have a more "native" rendering capacity?"

I suspect that your slow rendering times are due to the sequence codec, which I'm guessing is probably HDV. Long-GOP intraframe codecs like HDV can really bog down a machine when rendering. ProRes is an interframe codec, which is much easier to work with and render.

As for the 1440x1080 vs. 1920x1080 question, some codecs like HDV use a "thin raster" format in which the horizontal resolution is slightly compressed in order to save bandwidth. There's no good reason to do that if you're not working with video footage that was shot in a thin raster format. Full-raster formats are 1920x1080 square pixels. Since you're working with stills, which inherently have square pixels, it makes more sense to work in a full-raster format.

Unfortunately, if you've been handed a project that's using a 1440x1080 sequence, every clip that's been added to the timeline will have already had a slight distortion added to them automatically by FCP in order to match the square pixel images to the non-square pixel sequence format. Once you change your sequence settings dimensions to 1920x1080 square pixels, you'll need to get rid of this slight distortion that was applied to your clips by selecting all of the clips in your timeline, right-clicking (or control-clicking) and selecting "remove attributes." Next, check the "distort" box and proceed. This should reset any pixel aspect ratio distortion that was previously introduced and return all of the images to their native undistorted square pixel aspect ratio.

[Charles Mouyat] "I'd appreciate any insight to codecs and sequence settings that will mitigate my problem."

As others have mentioned, simply open your sequence settings, change the sequence dimensions to 1920x1080, make sure the pixel aspect ratio is set to square pixels, and change the sequence codec to ProRes 422. Next, perform the procedure outlined above to remove any distortion introduced into the clips in the timeline.

With any luck, your render times should improve substantially.


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Charles Mouyat
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Mar 17, 2011 at 4:55:27 am

Thanks Alan... I appreciate your insight, and have actioned much of your advice.

Best regards,
Charles

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Robert Krueger
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Apr 3, 2011 at 6:37:36 pm

Hi,

did you solve your problem? I have the exact same problem here and, like you, I am puzzled by the order of magnitude of the rendering times.

Comparing with other projects, I really don't believe that the timeline codec alone would explain the rendering times but I may be wrong. What rendering times did you get to, following advice in this thread?

BTW, this same sort of thing works a lot quicker in Adobe Premiere, with which I have done this stuff many times, regardless of the used rendering codec. That's why I thought there must be another explanation for this.

Thanks in advance,

Robert


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Charles Mouyat
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Apr 3, 2011 at 10:40:13 pm

Hi Robert,
Honestly it is a shit. I have sped things up considerably, but I'm still very very unimpressed with the result. IF ONLY, it had been constructed in Premier or some other more robust program. Key things I adjusted were an ensurance of square pixels in my Targa images supers and overlays that were previously set to 1440x1080, now set to 1920x1080 (native). All video components were changes from H264 encoding to Apple Prores 422 (normal, not high quality). Also, for voodoo's sake, I changed all resolutions of stills from 300 to 72 (without resampling, of course), and ensured all images were no larger than 3,600 pixels wide (just to be sure).

Sequence settings, I changed rendering from YUV to always render RGB

ANother key thin I changed in my Sequence> render settings> was to render at "half" resolution and "draft" while building and tweaking....

RT is now set to safe for playback.

Finally, what I portions of my sequence that I could export easily (relatively) to Motion, I did — which at least allows for real time review of the most mundane parts of my sequence.

FInal Cut is not an ideal tool. I am very unhappy to be running all this on a 12 core with 16gb of ram and have very little grunt to show for it. From what I have gathered FCP is in desperate need of an upgrade to 64bit. And considering I have a flagship macintosh computer, apple should ensure its OWN PRODUCT can utilise all that grunt.

GOod luck mate, all I have achieved is a lessening of my problem after a lot of stuffing around.... The steps definitely worked for me, but not so much as to make my life "satisfying", but only so much as to prevent me having to slash my wrists! I'm still somewhat depressed!

I've got other issues, my 12 core just seems to want to zone out and go into beachball mode every other breath it takes, and not no apparent reason. When I have time I am going to find a solution for that.

Best luck,
Charles

Jack of all trades, master of a few.


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Robert Krueger
Re: Render time for keyframe stills in HD sequence is agonisingly slow
on Apr 4, 2011 at 9:05:50 am

Hi Charles,

I was afraid of something like this. I'm going down the same road right now with results that make the workflow somewhat bearable but nothing more. It really seems like something that needs to be fixed on the software engineering side.

I don't want to switch between tools, when I have to work with still images in a project (which happens quite often in stuff like wedding movies). There is no obvious technical reason it should be this slow. It just feels broken.

OK, blown off enough steam here. Thanks for the update and good luck to you as well!

Robert


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