Working around QT 7.4 After Effects error

As noted nearly everywhere motion graphics artists congregate on the web including here, QuickTime 7.4 and After Effects don’t play nicely together. Apparently Apple’s movie rental DRM scheme is the culprit. Any QuickTime render from After Effects that requires more than 10 minutes will generate a permissions error.

There are two obvious options to address the issue:

  1. Downgrade to QuickTime 7.3
  2. Render an image sequence and then piece that sequence together in either QuickTime Pro or After Effects.

I’m not a huge fan of downgrading because you just never know if you’re going to break something in the process. If 7.4 is working for you aside from this pesky After Effects error, you might want to try this work around. It adds an extra step in After Effects, but it works. Follow these steps:

  1. When it comes time to render your After Effects composition, take that composition and nest it in another composition with the same settings by dragging the composition to the New Composition icon in the Project window.
  2. Select the original composition in the project window.
  3. Go to the Composition menu and select Pre-Render. The original composition has now been added to your Render Queue.
  4. In the Render Queue, edit the Output Module settings so that you are creating an image sequence. (I like .psd files for this because the file sizes are reasonable and the files are written quickly.)
  5. Now add the new sequence with the original sequence nested in it to your Render Queue. Set its Output Module to the desired QuickTime settings. Since this sequence will render in much less than 10 minutes, you should have no problem getting a valid QT movie out of After Effects without reverting to an earlier version of QuickTime.

This adds just a couple of minutes to your total render time, and you can leave After Effects to do its thing with a long render without having to manually piece the image sequence together in QuickTime Pro.

4 Thoughts on “Working around QT 7.4 After Effects error

  1. oh it’s not just me then! lol

  2. Jeff Young on January 27, 2008 at 10:05 am said:

    Addendum to Step 4:

    In your AE Output Module, set the Post-Render Action pop-up to “Import”, and your frame sequence will be imported back into the open AE project upon completion of the render.


  3. Jeff, when you select pre-render that is the default behavior. No need to set it.

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