Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Why is my output file huge, and why doesn't it play smoothly?, part of Adobe After Effects CS5: Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently asked question about After Effects CS5, why is my output file huge, and why does it not play smoothly? The default Output Module settings on Windows are for an AVI file, a video for a Windows file, with the Codec set to none. This means that no compression is being done on the video frames. So, the video frames in the AVI file take up a lot of memory. That means that the file will be enormous. Also, when you attempt to play this AVI file in a Media Player, the hard disk has a hard time keeping up just serving the information to the Media Player.
So, the video plays back in a very stuttery fashion. Let's see how to fix this. Let's add this composition to the Render queue, and from the Output Module Settings dialog box, choose a format. In this case, I'm using QuickTime. From Format options, choose a Compression Scheme. Currently, I have this set to PNG which also produces very large frames. So, if we are creating a movie for playback in a Media Player as opposed to a movie for further post-production work or archiving, we'll choose a highly compressed such as H.264. Click OK.
Or, if we wanted to stick with AVI, from Format, we could choose AVI. Notice the default is None, meaning no compression, as was stated before. And from Format options, choose a Codec that will do some compression, such as the DV Codec, which is highly compressed. And click OK. Most of the formats that you see in the Format dropdown list involve compression. Most of the Codecs that are available for the QuickTime and AVI wrappers also involve quite a lot of compression. So, really, as long you don't use the default, you'll probably get a smaller movie that will playback more smoothly.
But what you really need to think of is, why are you making your movie? Who is going to be using it, and how are they going to be using it? And make decisions about how to compress your movie, what format to use, and what Codec to us, based on the answer to that question. Let's click OK. For more information about compression, search for compression in the Search field on the upper right of the Application window. And choose encoding and compression options for movies. In this page, you can read all about compression.
Specifically, I recommend that you read about, Planning your Work, so that you know what kind of compression you need to be using at the end of the process and make plans at the beginning of the process, that suits these requirements.
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