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Render Crash....frustrating

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Michael Schnyer
Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 1:02:11 am

Hi, I am having a render issue. It seems that for certain comps, AE decides that it wants to have an error and stop rendering. This isn't a popup error, it simply stops rendering and says "Failed" under the status.
This started a few days ago, and about 11 files in a row failed to render fully. They each got a certain amount of time into the comp before failing, sometimes 11 seconds, sometimes 30 or so (render times varying from minutes to hours).
Oddly, I was able to render a composition that had previously failed last night, but now no such luck with the others. This is really aggravating.
I did some research about the secret preferences and that seems to only have sped up the errors, i.e., now it'll fail after only 1 frame of rendering. I tried 15, 5, and 9 for the frame purge.
I can provide more details if needed, I'm just not sure what I'm looking at here.



Michael Schnyer
Aspiring Filmmaker and Editor
After Effects
Premier Pro
3DS Max


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Walter Soyka
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 4:57:23 am

If you are using AE CS4, have you upgraded to 9.0.2?

If you are using multiprocessing, do you have enough RAM? Try turning it off.

If you are using any footage with interframe compression (like HDV or h264-based material), transcode it to a format that uses intraframe compression instead. Uncompressed, Quicktime Animation, or Quicktime PNG are reasonable choices.

If you are using OpenGL for rendering, turn it off.

Can you narrow it down to any specific clip, kind of footage, or effect? Does it ever fail consistently in the same spot in a comp?

When all else fails, render to an image sequence instead of a movie. With an image sequence, you can check the "Skip existing files" option in Render Settings to allow a render to pick up where it left off after a crash.


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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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 8:11:43 am

I had the same "failed render" symptom yesterday.
I had a lot of 3D layers, Particular with 12 light generators, camera move and motion blur. The render failed at the same frame- tried every trick in the book for settings- no luck, but when I turned the motion blur off it went fine, so I had to render groups of layers separately and do a final comp. Hope this helps.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist
Bucharest, Romania
http://www.ennstudio.ro


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Michael Schnyer
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 12:00:31 pm

Hi, thanks for your response.

The odd thing about this issue is that it fails at roughly the same time for each comp, but never exactly. I am rendering several color correction effects (Levels, Curves) as well as Remove Grain which seems to be the memory hog, along with a couple glows and such. Other than that, nothing too complicated. I do not use OpenGL (that had caused some crashing a long time ago and I haven't used it since). My footage is HDV captured off an XH-A1. I am rendering to uncompressed .avi for a final render out of PPro.

The last thing is that, last night, I restarted AE and chose a scene to render from the same project file (I imported about 12 AE projects into a new one so I could render them all out at once; this was when the issue first occurred). And lo and behold, the first one I chose rendered fine (still is now, but so far no issues). A 12,336 frame comp has taken about 10 hours to render 7,694 frames. There is a section toward the end that I expect may fail because of some motion blur. If that's the case, I may just nix the effect, we'll see.

Ultimately, it seems like it's working now. But it's also possible that it's just this one comp that is, and the other ones may still crash. I have to wait until this render finishes to know.

Michael Schnyer
Aspiring Filmmaker and Editor
After Effects
Premier Pro
3DS Max


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 2:38:18 pm

[Michael Schnyer] "...My footage is HDV captured off an XH-A1..."

Ah, the root of the problem! That footage may work just fine in Premiere, but not in AE:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, AVCHD, mp4, mts, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


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


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Heath Alseike
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 3:56:16 pm

I was having the same problem and I ended up figuring out that it was a problem with my drive. Are you working off an external drive? That might be the problem. Also it helps to hit caps lock when rendering. That will keep the screen form rendering too, that will help things go smoother if you are not already doing that.


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Michael Schnyer
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 6:20:12 pm

Thanks for the info. Do you know of an easy and lossless way to convert my footage?

The only thing is that I've rendered several (about 5 or 6) scenes thus far with no issues, it was only when I started using this one huge project file that the issue cropped up. It seems that a reboot of AE will solve the render issue for a certain amount of time, until it fails again, which sounds like what you suggested may be accurate. It could also be a memory issue.

To Heath, yes I am rendering to an external drive. It's running through firewire right now, which I had hoped would be fast enough to handle this whole deal, but who knows. Thanks for the caps lock tip, by the way, I didn't know that.

Michael Schnyer
Aspiring Filmmaker and Editor
After Effects
Premier Pro
3DS Max


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cowcowcowcowcow
Dave LaRonde
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 6:59:37 pm

[Michael Schnyer] "Do you know of an easy and lossless way to convert my footage? "

Okay, I'm a Mc guy: keep that in mind
Quicktime movies in either PNG or Animation codecs: both lossless
To do it:
Apple Compressor
Adobe Media Encoder
QT Pro

On a Windows box? Find a Windows guy.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 7:05:59 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Okay, I'm a Mac guy: keep that in mind
Quicktime movies in either PNG or Animation codecs: both lossless
To do it: Apple Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, QT Pro"


Dave, this could make a great addition to your Stock Answer.

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 7:14:54 pm

Good thought! Less reinventing of the wheel that way. Thanks.

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


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Michael Schnyer
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 14, 2010 at 11:24:22 am

Hi, thanks again for the responses everyone. I do have a PC (actually, running XP on Bootcamp, technically I have a Mac as well, the reason I do this is to use 3DS Max and keep it all integrated).

Here is a question for you: I see that Media Encoder has the option to "Add After Effects Composition". Will this allow my footage to render properly without having to convert it first? I think I might try it anyway, but if you have the answer that'd be awesome.

To Heath: I would love to be able to do that, unfortunately, though, I am working with about 200gb of footage, plus what I need to render which it looks like may end up being about 900gb. My computer's HD is 300gb partitioned into 150gb chunks for OSX and XP. The thing is, I hadn't had any issues rendering the first 9 scenes, all of which use the same footage files as scenes that are now having issues. I'm just not sure what to make of that.

Michael Schnyer
Aspiring Filmmaker and Editor
After Effects
Premier Pro
3DS Max


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Heath Alseike
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 13, 2010 at 10:29:20 pm

Yeah, working of external drives that just happens no matter how fast it is. If you are on a mac try the disc utility see if it can help. Also I know it is a pain in the ass and I hate doing it too but if you go to file> Consolidate all footage, and save it to your computer. Work off you computer directly that will help it go faster. Then just re-save it to the external once you are done delete everything and do the same with your next project.


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Michael Schnyer
Re: Render Crash....frustrating
on May 14, 2010 at 9:27:09 pm

Okay, rendering from Media Encoder has resulted in 1 success with no hitches, and I'm hoping for more in the future.

One problem: I had set Remove Grain to disabled for speed, with the intent to set the render options to "All On" later. Is there a way to do this within my project so that Media Encoder renders what I want, or do I have to go through hundreds of shots and click that little FX icon?

Michael Schnyer
Aspiring Filmmaker and Editor
After Effects
Premier Pro
3DS Max


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