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How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?

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Melanie FisherHow to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 4, 2016 at 10:23:58 pm

I've created a small animation in AE CS4 and the entire thing goes to 18 seconds long, it's two 3-second long animations looped to 9 seconds each. It took around 8 hours overnight to fully render and the file size came out to 10GB, and it didn't even render the audio for some reason. I'm left with a huge silent clip I don't know what to do with.

The file has 541 frames total, the size is 2500x2500 pixels (I'd size it down for rendering but I'm not sure how without changing the size of the whole comp. unless that's what I'm meant to do, it doesn't seem to make it go any faster either) and I have four layers of 0.5 birth rate Particle World effects, they're each meant to look like tiny pecks of fire being blown away slowly. I do have a lot of keyframes and layers because I have individual body parts being moved in the animation (arms, legs, clothes, hands etc.) so I imagine it would take a while, but 8 hours and 10GB seems excessive for something 18 seconds long with 541 frames.

I'm a little new to AE so I don't really know what settings I'm meant to use to render. I'm trying to get it to render out for the web but some settings I've tried have given me an estimated time of 25 hours which I am not up to waiting for, and I can only imagine that would give me a huge file size too. I tried using file > export > .mp4 but that just makes the program stop responding and gets me nowhere. How can I get short projects to render to a reasonable file size with working audio? I had to re-render it with Sony Vegas 12 with audio at the same file size and got a file of 42MB. Any help for this newbie would be great, thank you.


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Roei TzorefRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 4, 2016 at 11:53:19 pm

The first thing you should consider is your resolution. if this video is intended for the web you should use the web standard which is most likely HD. 1920x1080 or 1280x720. if you already have your 2500x2500 just change the composition to an HD preset via the composition settings. second thing you should know is that rendering for the web means you have to encode your footage i.e compress it with some playback codec such as H.264.


for some information about the process, you can watch this tutorial:





also read here: https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/basics-rendering-exporting.html


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Roei TzorefRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 5, 2016 at 12:11:10 am

As for the audio, if you render through Ae to H.264 (you can up until CC2014 to render from Ae to H.264) - check the output module settings main window at the bottom that audio is checked. the default is NO.


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Melanie FisherRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:22:13 am

Thanks very much for the replies and help, it's much appreciated and I'll look in to what you suggested. I'd use AME but unfortunately I don't have access to it. I tried rendering again overnight after resizing it down to 1300x1300 and the file came out at 2GB after 5 1/2 hours which is a very decent improvement but still not good enough considering I need to upload this to a blog and the max MB per file is 100MB, however it unfortunately didn't render with any sound because I either forgot to turn it on or something went wrong (knowing me, probably the former).

I rerendered again today after fiddling with settings and ended up with a .mov file of 167MB with audio! Which is great! I compressed it through clipchamp and now it's only 5MB. Except now my problem is it not only took even longer than the previous file, 8 hours, it rendered out extremely dark in contrast and light in comparison to the original composition/preview. It looks perfect as it should in VLC media player but any other program or on the web it appears very, very dark for some reason. Almost too dark to see anything unless it's viewed in HD, and none of the previous files have done this. Not really sure what to do at this point, I'm sure it's something to do with codecs and the video format but I'm really useless with these things, I might just give up on the current project and leave it as is after rerendering through Sony Vegas with Levels adjustments..


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Roei TzorefRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:53:52 am

[Melanie Fisher] "I'd use AME but unfortunately I don't have access to it."
if you watched the tutorial, I explain that you don't really need AME if you are using CS4. you can encode directly from Ae to an H.264 format.

[Melanie Fisher] "after resizing it down to 1300x1300."
1300X1300 is still not standard resolution, and unless you have a specific reason to show viewers a square video, you should avoid it.

[Melanie Fisher] "I rerendered again today after fiddling with settings and ended up with a .mov file of 167MB with audio! Which is great! I compressed it through clipchamp and now it's only 5MB. "
since you are still not encoding your file, you will have a large file size. like I mentioned previously, you need to encode it using a playback codec like H.264. this will create a file with the extension of mp4 and not mov. this will be the first indication that it's not so big in size.

[Melanie Fisher] "I need to upload this to a blog and the max MB per file is 100MB"
note that duration is also affecting your file size so you may have to use lower bit rate settings in your H.264 settings to get 100 MB file. if you want to save time here, you can render your file to a lossless version (Qt Animation for example) and this will create a hugh file but don't panic. re-import that file to Ae and render and encode this file using the H.264 settings. this means that you don't have to re-calculate the rendering data of all your layers,effects and animation all over again, but just the already rendered file. using a 2 step process like this is a good way to experiment with different encoding options with heavily rendered files and save time.

[Melanie Fisher] " it appears very, very dark for some reason."
this could be the result of your improper rendering workflow. really can't say. first do this by the book and then we will see what happens.


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Melanie FisherRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 6, 2016 at 1:58:29 am

[Roei Tzoref] if you watched the tutorial, I explain that you don't really need AME if you are using CS4. you can encode directly from Ae to an H.264 format.

Sorry about that, I've been running around trying to figure this program out! I'll look into it more

[Roei Tzoref] 1300X1300 is still not standard resolution, and unless you have a specific reason to show viewers a square video, you should avoid it.

You're right it isn't, however the websites I'm uploading to are Tumblr and Instagram and both have quite small posts on the main part of the website where most people spend their time, anything less than square would make the video difficult to see. I'd definitely render and upload it as a 16:9 ratio for something like Youtube or Vimeo.

[Roei Tzoref] since you are still not encoding your file, you will have a large file size. like I mentioned previously, you need to encode it using a playback codec like H.264. this will create a file with the extension of mp4 and not mov. this will be the first indication that it's not so big in size.

I've attempted to render it with H.264 but I get an error that confuses me a bit.




There seems to only be one place for me to choose H.264, under Format options when Quicktime Movie is selected, but when I go to apply the settings it tells me I should select it directly from the output module but there is no option for H.264 there. If I click off the error, H.264 tends to stay there anyway regardless but when I go to render I get an even longer render time, around 10 hrs. Is this normal or even what I'm meant to be doing? I've watched the tutorial you posted but most of the tutorial doesn't seem to apply as I don't have access to AME. There's also no option for "show duplicated formats.." in my preferences if that matters. Sorry if I'm asking anything you've already answered, this program isn't nearly as straight forward as I expected it to be.

[Roei Tzoref] note that duration is also affecting your file size so you may have to use lower bit rate settings in your H.264 settings to get 100 MB file. if you want to save time here, you can render your file to a lossless version (Qt Animation for example) and this will create a hugh file but don't panic. re-import that file to Ae and render and encode this file using the H.264 settings. this means that you don't have to re-calculate the rendering data of all your layers,effects and animation all over again, but just the already rendered file. using a 2 step process like this is a good way to experiment with different encoding options with heavily rendered files and save time.

I've done a lot of re-rendering at this point so it shouldn't be too difficult. I'm not sure how much more time I'm willing to spend getting this project to work properly but I'll set it to render overnight as QT H.264 animation later on and see how it goes from there since it's telling me there's a wait time of around 7 hrs. This might bring me back to my possible issue with H.264 though

Thank you for the help, it's very much appreciated


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Roei TzorefRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 6, 2016 at 8:54:01 am

Resolution
1300X1300 is pretty large. I have a 24" 1920x1200 monitor and it doesn't even fit my screen. maybe you need half of that? make sure what the site your uploading to recommends not just in file size but also resolution

encoding options
Are you using a trial version of CS4? this could explain why you don't have any of the mpeg codecs in the format menu. your options are either to activate your software or to use another software to encode your file. using the Quicktime and H.264 is not a good option since this codec is not that good.

Where do we go from here
what you should do is render again your whole composition as Quicktime Animation. then take this file to an NLE software (Premiere, Vegas) and use a preset for H.264. if you don't have that, you can use a 3rd party encoding software like Handbrake.


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Kevin CaminRe: How to render videos for the web without a huge file size?
by on Sep 5, 2016 at 8:14:05 am

Hey, I'll be around tomorrow during the day. If you have Team Viewer, I can help you out. I know this stuff can be super confusing at first.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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