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Extremely long render/export times when working with keyed footage from After Effects

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Fraser Walker
Extremely long render/export times when working with keyed footage from After Effects
on Sep 2, 2012 at 4:03:54 pm

Creative Cow and it's users have been helping me out with so much over the past few months, but now it seems I have an issue that I can't seem to find an answer for...

My current project is to add a signer to some already completed films. I have shot, keyed, synced and exported one complete project and everything went very well. It was around 7 mins long and my final file size was just a little over 2Gbs. I noticed that that is exactly what my original file size was for the film before I had added my keyed signer footage.

Now, however, I am doing the exact same thing, exactly the way I did it before with all the same equipment on the same computer and even in the same Final Cut project, but now my render/export times have gone through the roof! And, after exporting, my file sizes are way bigger than the original files before the addition of the keyed footage. The current case is that an original file of 4.46Gbs is now 120.44Gbs!

The only differences between my attempts are as follows;

First attempt (the one that went quite well)
QuickTime movie file at 2.49GB, 6mins 20secs
Dimensions: 1920 x 1080
Codec: MPEG-2 Video, Linear PCM, Timecode
Colour Profile: HD (1-1-1)
Total Bit Rate: 52,298

Second attempt (the one that's killing me - also, there are four parts to this project, these are the details of the largest file. Dimensions, Codecs and Colour Profiles are the same in all four parts)
QuickTime movie file at 9.2GB, 29mins 20 secs
Dimensions: 720 x 576
Codec: Apple ProRes 422, Linear PCM, Timecode
Colour Profile: PAL (5-1-6)
Total Bit Rate: 41,734

Now, I fully understand that the size and duration will mean longer renders and exports, but 2 hours and over? Really!? And why are my final exports more than 10 times the original file size when my first attempt caused no change in size?

As for using After Effects, I am trimming down my signer footage first in FCP, so as not to key and export one frame more than I need to. Then, once keyed (using Keylight) I export without audio and use the 'RGB + Alpha' options in the channels menu and use the pre-selected Animation codec. I don't do anything else between AE and FCP for fear of losing my Alpha channel.

It might be that there is no answer and I just have to save up and get a better/faster mac. But if there is anything that anyone can see above that is out of place and can be changed to make my life easier, please do let me know, and follow it up with a slap if it's a total rookie error. Also, sorry about the huge post, but I just wanted to offer as much relevant info as possible...

Thanks in advance!

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Fraser Walker
Re: Extremely long render/export times when working with keyed footage from After Effects
on Sep 6, 2012 at 2:55:46 pm

So... I figured it out.

In the second attempt, the first bit of footage I had dropped in was my After Effects export with the Animation codec. So my timeline adjusted its settings accordingly, and then everything was rendering and exporting with an Animation codec.

I'm answering my own question just in case anyone else ends up in a similar situation ;)

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