Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Real-time footage playback without a RAM preview, part of After Effects Tips and Techniques: Shortcuts, Navigation, and Project Management.
- One thing that can surprise people who start to use After Effect is that it has no video player. So if you want to play video files from the hard drive you must first cache those frames into one which can take a lot of time and also eat your hardware resources and this is just to be able to play the clip and hear its audio. So let me demonstrate what I mean. I'm going to use this "Book of the Week" clip and in order to play it I'm just going to double-click on it. This will open the clip in its footage window over here and now there is no play over there.
So there is no play icon or play button. If you want to see it and hear its audio you need to cache the frames meaning that you need to create a Ramp Preview and this of course, can take time depending on your hardware configuration. (music) Also, depending on your setup you'll get a small player over here. So if you really want to see the clip and hear its audio just in order to examine it instead of creating this Ramp Preview and I'm just going to close this window you can use this nice workaround.
Hold on alt on the PC, option on the Mac and double-click on the clip. And this will open it using an external media player QuickTime player in my case and this is associated to the video file on the system level. You will be now able to play it from disc in real time and also monitor the audio. So let's just give this a try. (music) Much easier to see. This is full screen and you can also, of course monitor the sound.
By the way, you can do it for multiple clips at one time. So just shift+select the clips that you want to preview or ctrl+click on them if there are not one next to the other. Hold down alt on the PC, option on the Mac double-click and this will launch everything into the same player. So you can toggle between those clips using the regular commands of your favorite player. Let's just watch this clip for example. (waves) (thunder) Great.
Much easier than to preview it using the footage window of After Effects. By the way, if you want to change the associated player using Windows Explorer or Finder on the Mac you can select one of those clips right-click on it and then choose to reveal in Finder or reveal in Explorer if you're working on the PC. This will show you the clip in this case it is part of these source files under the exercise files and then you can get the info for this clip either by right-click on the PC or command+i on the Mac and here you'll get the option to set it to open with a different player.
Let's say VLC for this case and you can set it to change all and this of course will launch VLC the next time that you are actually going to alt+double-click on the clip inside the Adobe After Effects project panel. I'm just going to close it and set it back to normal and just going to mention that there is one limitation that you should be aware of. This method. This workaround can only be used in order to play videos which uses the containers such as QuickTime .avi or MP4.
For frame sequences for example that you shot like timelapse or 3D renders file that you rendered you still need to Ramp Preview those clips those sequences in order to play them in real time. But all in all this is a good shortcut to remember, so next time you want to examine a clip in the project panel hold down Option on the Mac, Alt on the PC double-click it in order to play the clip in your favorite media player.
- Using a reference monitor for color testing
- Browsing to import
- Dragging and dropping imports
- Selecting and moving layers
- Rendering regions of interest
- Exposing properties on the Timeline
- Finding missing fonts, footage, and effects
- Collecting files