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memory and storage tips for Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker

After Effects CS5.5 and later and Premiere Pro CS6 include the Warp Stabilizer effect. After Effects CS6 includes the 3D Camera Tracker effect.

When applied to short clips, these effects work quickly with low memory requirements, but you can begin to notice some problems with longer clips, as the memory and storage requirements increase with the duration of the clips.

Both of these effects have an analysis phase (indicated by a blue banner) followed by a stabilization or camera solve phase (indicated by an orange banner).

The memory required during the stabilization or camera solve phase is released as soon as the orange banner disappears, but the memory required for the analysis phase is not released when the blue banner disappears; the memory required by the analysis phase continues to be consumed as long as the project is open. The analysis data is stored attached to the effect, which is saved in the project. When this data is large, it can slow down project loading and saving, as well as duplication of the effect.

Depending on the content of the video, the analysis phase for the Warp Stabilizer effect can require approximately 10KB (kilobytes) bytes of data per frame, or 20KB per frame when Detailed Analysis is chosen; for Synthesize Edges mode, slightly more data is required. (No, this does not depend significantly on the frame size of the video.) For the 3D Camera Tracker effect, the memory requirement for the analysis phase is about half the size as for the Warp Stabilizer effect.

For the 3D Camera Tracker effect only, once you have finished using the effect (i.e., you have created a good camera and don’t plan to tweak anything or create any new cameras or layers positioned with the target), you can delete the effect, which will remove the stored data from the project. This will speed up loading and saving of the project.

For the Warp Stabilizer effect, that’s not an option. Instead, make sure that you have trimmed the clip to just the portion that you need before you apply the Warp Stabilizer effect. If that’s still very long, you may want to work in a separate project and render the result out and bring it back into your main project, so as to speed up project loading and saving in the main project. If you plan to chop a clip into pieces, do this before stabilizing, not after.

Computer systems and other factors differ, but a rough estimate of when it’s time to consider taking steps to mitigate the demands on memory and storage is when you’re working on clips more than ~7,000 frames (~5 minutes at 24 frames per second, or ~2 minutes at 60 fields per second).

During the analysis and solving stages, the Warp Stabilizer effect and 3D Camera Tracker effect use memory outside of the pool shared by After Effects and Premiere Pro. Therefore, you can allocate more memory to the analysis and solving phases for these effects by increasing the RAM Reserved For Other Applications value in the Memory & Multiprocessing preferences.

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