There are a few entangled issues relating to QuickTime and After Effects, so I thought that it might be a good idea to clarify some of them and suggest some solutions.
Covered here are some causes of the following:
- “QuickTime is not installed on this system…” warning message
- “You have at least one output module template that refers to a missing output plug-in…” warning message
- some causes of crashes or hangs when initializing MediaCore
making sure that QuickTime is installed
First, the most basic thing: Make sure that QuickTime is installed. As you can see in the After Effects system requirements, QuickTime 7.6.2 or later is required for After Effects CS5.
Don’t be fooled by so-called “QuickTime X”. That doesn’t count.
If you have QuickTime 7.6.2 or later installed and you get an error that says that “QuickTime is not installed on this system…” or “You have at least one output module template that refers to a missing output plug-in…”, then the real troubleshooting begins.
blockage of TCP communication with QuickTime
One possible cause of After Effects reporting that QuickTime is not installed is a blockage in the communication between After Effects and the Adobe QT32 Server, which is a component that After Effects uses to communicate with QuickTime. (This is necessary because there is not yet a 64-bit version of QuickTime.) After Effects uses TCP to communicate with QuickTime, but some aggressive firewall software and other security software can block the TCP communication.
I’ve even seen non-security software such as FileMaker (as well as some malware, as mentioned here) block this communication by taking up the port that is needed. This is one more reason to not run software other than that required by your work while you’re using professional post-production software.
failure of QuickTime to load because of a bad importer component
Another reason that After Effects can fail to recognize QuickTime is that QuickTime can fail to initialize fully because it gets stuck loading a badly written importer component. If you have any AVI importers/codecs on your Mac, this could be the issue. Here’s a forum thread that goes into some detail about that.
permissions problem with preferences folder or corrupt preferences
Yet another cause of After Effects and QuickTime failing to communicate is a problem with permissions for files in the After Effects preferences directory. To force After Effects to rebuild the preferences directory and set the permissions correctly (as well as reset any corrupt preferences), quit After Effects, remove the following folder, and then restart After Effects:
- (Mac OS) [drive]/Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/10.0
- (Windows) [drive]Users[username]AppDataRoamingAdobeAfter Effects10.0
QuickTime failure because of its inability to work with large number of processes
QuickTime will often fail on computers with a large number of processors (CPUs), including computers with a large number of virtual processors created through hyperthreading. This is especially a problem with Apple’s H.264 exporter component within QuickTime.
To get around this problem, disable hyperthreading or reduce the number of processor cores available to QuickTime.
This document on the Adobe website describes how to do this.
If none of these solutions helps with errors that you’re getting related to QuickTime and After Effects, come to the After Effects user-to-user forum, and we’ll help you there—and I can add more information to this page as we come up with other solutions.
Do not ask for troubleshooting help in the comments of this blog post. It’s much harder to have a useful conversation in the comments of a blog post than on a discussion forum.