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Dale Robinson
AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 17, 2013 at 5:08:14 pm

I just got a new IMAC with the 3.4 GHz I7 processor with GeForce GTX 680 MX 24 GB of RAM.

I am working on a project with Pro Res, h.264 and AVC Intra footage. I have found the system to be
extremely slow.

I tried transcoding the h.264 footage and AVC Intra footage to pro res and the system seems faster.

Am I correct that the footage should be transcoded to pro res even though AE will read the h.264 and AVC Intra footage ?

I would like some insight into why the system seems so slow when I was expecting a fast system.

Thank you,


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Walter Soyka
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 17, 2013 at 5:39:44 pm

[Dale Robinson] "I am working on a project with Pro Res, h.264 and AVC Intra footage. I have found the system to be
extremely slow. I tried transcoding the h.264 footage and AVC Intra footage to pro res and the system seems faster."


H.264/AVC does require more CPU effort to decompress than ProRes -- but I'm surprised that the difference feels noticeable.

Nonetheless, if you're seeing a big performance boost from transcoding to ProRes, then I say go for it.


[Dale Robinson] "I just got a new IMAC with the 3.4 GHz I7 processor with GeForce GTX 680 MX 24 GB of RAM... I would like some insight into why the system seems so slow when I was expecting a fast system."

What kind of work are you doing? What's the rest of your workflow like? What Ae features are you using, and what's your experience level with Ae? What's your storage setup, and what are you memory & multiprocessing settings? What are you comparing the speed of this system to?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Dale Robinson
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 17, 2013 at 6:22:23 pm

Walter thanks for the reply. This project consist of footage, hi res photos, talking head green screen,
multiple track mattes filled with footage and a letterbox graphic overlay. I decided to upgrade to the IMAC from a 2009 Mac Book Pro for this project so I was expecting a significant speed improvement.

I have a G-Drive 4TB Thunderbolt with all of the elements. I went through a process I found online to
tell AE what my graphics card is so I could use GPU. Sometimes it seemed like 2 or 3 second for position to open when I pressed the P key or twirled the arrows on a layer. The RAM previews and rendering is obviously faster but on screen commands and updating have been extremely slow. I was hoping to avoid transcoding my P2 AVC Intra and GH3 h.264 footage. But the footage codec was the only thing I could attribute the slow response to. So I imported some 1080p pro res footage and started replacing footage on a duplicate project. Once I got the footage replaced I quit and re-opened AE and found things to be much faster. I was hoping for some confirmation that YES those codecs are slowing down the system.


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Ridley Walker
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 18, 2013 at 5:13:28 pm

Neither H.264 or AVC intra contain real whole frames. After Effects must reconstitute the frames from these files before it can work with them. This is why working with transcoded ProRes files is faster.

Premiere Pro uses the Mercury playback engine which deals these formats differently, it can use GPU acceleration, essentially transcoding the files on-the-fly. As of the current release, After Effects does not use Mercury Playback.


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Dale Robinson
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 18, 2013 at 5:22:23 pm

Ridley, Thank you for that insight. I was quite unhappy with the performance of my new IMAC when
I began working in AE with the various footage codecs.

Now that I have transcoded all the footage to pro res working in AE is much faster.


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Walter Soyka
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 19, 2013 at 3:24:15 am

[Ridley Walker] "Premiere Pro uses the Mercury playback engine which deals these formats differently, it can use GPU acceleration, essentially transcoding the files on-the-fly. As of the current release, After Effects does not use Mercury Playback."

Decode is CPU-only even with Mercury Playback Engine. See Todd Kopriva's blog post on what CUDA/OpenCL can accelerate [link].

That doesn't change the advice, though -- if you're seeing way better responsiveness with ProRes, then by all means use that.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Ridley Walker
Re: AFter Effects & Pro Res Footage
on May 19, 2013 at 7:28:51 am

[Walter Soyka] "Decode is CPU-only even with Mercury Playback Engine. See Todd Kopriva's blog post on what CUDA/OpenCL can accelerate [link].
"


I stand corrected.


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