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AE truly faster than FCP rendering Chroma Key?

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Chris Fisher
AE truly faster than FCP rendering Chroma Key?
on Dec 28, 2009 at 9:14:40 pm

Hey folks -

Hope this is not a dumb question.. But does anyone have real experience where After Effects is noticeably faster at rendering Chroma key and some effects than Final Cut Pro would be at the same task?

More Info:

I produce 30-65 minute video podcasts that use a green screen background that I key out with Primatte Keyer Pro 4.0 in Final Cut Pro.

The footage is ProRes 422 LT.

The Mac is a 2.66Ghz Mac Pro.

I typically include screen shots, some lower third motion templates, apply Primatte Keyer Pro, and Magic Bullets for quick and easy tweaking.

An hour long episode will take about 16 hours or so to render. Not too uncommon for HD.


Recently Final Cut Pro has started crashing more and more during the render (which I tend to let go over night, so I get up in the morning and find it crashed it is a major bummer).

I'm considering using something like Automatic Duck to send my Final Cut project to After Effects, and perform the keying and magic bullet looks in there. Hoping to get a speed improvement and less crashing..

Is it worth it? Or will I not really see an improvement in my render times?

Thanks for you insights,

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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE truly faster than FCP rendering Chroma Key?
on Dec 29, 2009 at 4:46:21 pm

FCP is getting wiggy on those long renders, huh? Well, that'll take the wind out of your sails, and how! AE can get wiggy too -- not nearly as bad as FCP weirdness -- but with AE, you can salvage the portion of the render that's done.

Here's how: render to an image sequence. If something goes wrong, you at least have the frames rendered thus far, which will save time. You then have the option to import the sequence into FCP, OR into AE, where the render to ProRes will go faster than a certain disgusting brown substance through a goose.

Does AE render faster than FCP in the first place? No clue. My guess is "about the same" on your system. In AE's multiprocessing mode, where it renders multiple frames at once, it can go F-A-S-T, fast! The downside: you probably don't have enough RAM to make multiprocessing really sing, which is a minimum of 2GB PER CORE on your machine, and up to 4GB per core. Don't forget that the OS and other open applications need RAM, too.

The last thing: don't forget that you can complete the entire shot in AE: foreground and background. You don't have to use AE simply to pull the key. A lot of FCP folks forget that tiny little detail, leaving themselves with more work later.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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