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Rich: Once you're satisfied with the previews, it's time to render. Now rendering can be more time intensive than previewing, so I typically do it when it's a good time to break. Maybe it's the end or the day or you're getting ready to head out to lunch. Try to group your renders and do several shots at a time. Here's how. Just select the shots in your project and choose Composition. Add to Render Queue. If you want, you can send it to Adobe Media Encoder for true background rendering, and continue to work in After Effects.
But, I'll just do this right from After Effects for now. I'll mouse over the render queue, and press the tilde key to maximize the window, temporarily. Here, I now need to choose my settings. So, the best settings will render this out at full quality with no field rendering. Which is fine if you're doing a Progressive output. But if you were doing Interlaced, you can choose Upper or Lower field first. Typically for HD, you'll use Upper field first. Everything else looks good here so I hit Cancel for the render settings.
But what I want to change is the output module. Rendering to lossless makes an animation codec movie which is beautiful but huge and most computer hard drives cannot play them back in real time. By clicking on the output module instead, I can chose to render out to any format. I'll stick with QuickTime Movie, but instead go with a h.264 codec to make that web ready. That looks good. And I'll keep it at 100% quality and chose OK.
I have no audio, so I'll set that to off, looks good. Click OK to store it, and now I can save this as a template, and I'll call this H264 Quicktime. I'll choose that as the method down here as well. Click on the output to specify where you want the files to write. When you're ready, save your work with File > Save or Cmd or Ctrl+S. And then I recommend you press the Caps Lock key to disable previewing. And click the Render button.
Your files will now be written to disk and assembled. You'll notice that if you took the step of exporting TIFF images or high quality JPEGs from the Camera Raw dialog or from Lightroom. This process will go very quickly because not a lot is happening. It's just resizing and lightly filtering the clips and writing them to disc. On the other hand, if you stick with an all RAW workflow, it can be significantly more time intensive. But you might want that greater flexibility during the adjustment stage.
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