If you're rendering a QT, is the render time fastest if you choose Animation? My thought is, because it's the least compressed, your system doesn't have to work as hard crunching numbers, so it renders faster. Does that seem right?
Because I'm bringing the QT into Premiere Pro for editing and outputting it as an mp4, in the end, I'm just looking for the fastest way to get it out of AE.
Maybe this is a job for Dynamic Linking? I've used it before with weird results. Unlinked media issues, etc.
it depends a little on the drives you are reading/writing to... uncompressed (or less compressed) files require less cpu time to encode/decode, but the larger files take more time to read/write.
however, assuming you are not using a usb1 or 2 external drive for hd or larger frames sizes, you're not likely to see too much bottle-necking.
you might consider quicktime photo-jpeg with quality set to 95 or higher. it's virtually lossless, but the files will likely around a third the size (and thus a third the data rate) of lossless animation and it encodes and decodes quickly. however, it does not support alpha if that is something you need.