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Audio Waveform Not Showing in After Effects Timeline

Community Beginner ,
May 26, 2020

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After Effects will not display audio waveforms of video files in the project timeline for me. Sound plays normally, so it is definitely able to read the audio tracks, but the Waveform band remains blank as if there is no audio at all. Does anyone know how to fix this?

 

I have tried Edit → Purge → All Memory & Disk Cache... and Edit → Preferences → Media & Disk Cache... → Empty Disk Cache... and Edit → Preferences → Media & Disk Cache... → Clean Database & Cache. I have also tried restarting the program and restarting my computer. So far, nothing has worked.


The container files are MP4. The audio streams are MPEG AAC encoded at 32 KHz with 32 bits per sample. The video streams are H.264 MPEG-4 AVC Part 10 at 25 FPS and 1920x1080 px.

I am using AE 2020 Version 17.1.0 (Build 72) and Windows 10 Enterprise Version 1909 (Build 18363.836). I have 320 GB on an SSD and 28 GB of RAM reserved for AE.

Activating "Hardware Accelerate Composition Layer, Frames, and Footage Panels" did not immediately produce a change. However, after closing and re-launching AE, opening the project, selecting a video layer, and double-tapping the "L" key to open the Waveform view, an error message appeared - "After Effects error: could not allocate sound memory. ( 26 :: 392 )".

 

After some googling I discovered that this can be bypassed by splitting footage across multiple layers, such that no individual layer is longer than about 45 minutes, before attempting to view any waveform. For the moment, this seems to be working and layer waveforms are displaying as expected. I'm uncertain why the presence of a long-duration layer would affect the waveform display of other layers, but I can live with this workaround.

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Audio, Error or problem, User interface or workspaces

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Audio Waveform Not Showing in After Effects Timeline

Community Beginner ,
May 26, 2020

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After Effects will not display audio waveforms of video files in the project timeline for me. Sound plays normally, so it is definitely able to read the audio tracks, but the Waveform band remains blank as if there is no audio at all. Does anyone know how to fix this?

 

I have tried Edit → Purge → All Memory & Disk Cache... and Edit → Preferences → Media & Disk Cache... → Empty Disk Cache... and Edit → Preferences → Media & Disk Cache... → Clean Database & Cache. I have also tried restarting the program and restarting my computer. So far, nothing has worked.


The container files are MP4. The audio streams are MPEG AAC encoded at 32 KHz with 32 bits per sample. The video streams are H.264 MPEG-4 AVC Part 10 at 25 FPS and 1920x1080 px.

I am using AE 2020 Version 17.1.0 (Build 72) and Windows 10 Enterprise Version 1909 (Build 18363.836). I have 320 GB on an SSD and 28 GB of RAM reserved for AE.

Activating "Hardware Accelerate Composition Layer, Frames, and Footage Panels" did not immediately produce a change. However, after closing and re-launching AE, opening the project, selecting a video layer, and double-tapping the "L" key to open the Waveform view, an error message appeared - "After Effects error: could not allocate sound memory. ( 26 :: 392 )".

 

After some googling I discovered that this can be bypassed by splitting footage across multiple layers, such that no individual layer is longer than about 45 minutes, before attempting to view any waveform. For the moment, this seems to be working and layer waveforms are displaying as expected. I'm uncertain why the presence of a long-duration layer would affect the waveform display of other layers, but I can live with this workaround.

TOPICS
Audio, Error or problem, User interface or workspaces

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May 26, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 26, 2020

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If selecting a layer with audio and pressing the L key twice does not reveal the audio waveform, try changing the first tab in the Project Settings - Video  Rendering and Effects by pressing Shift + Ctrl/Cmnd + Alt/Option + K.

 

Try changing the Hardware accelerate composition, layer, and footage panels by pressing Alt/Option + Ctrl/Cmnd +;  Then navigate to the display panel.

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May 26, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
May 28, 2020

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Activating "Hardware Accelerate Composition Layer, Frames, and Footage Panels" did not immediately produce a change. However, after closing and re-launching AE, opening the project, selecting a video layer, and double-tapping the "L" key to open the Waveform view, an error message appeared - "After Effects error: could not allocate sound memory. ( 26 :: 392 )".

 

After some googling I discovered that this can be bypassed by splitting footage across multiple layers, such that no individual layer is longer than about 45 minutes, before attempting to view any waveform. For the moment, this seems to be working and layer waveforms are displaying as expected. I'm uncertain why the presence of a long-duration layer would affect the waveform display of other layers, but I can live with this workaround.

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May 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 29, 2020

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I'm really curious. What kind of visual effects shot is longer than 45 minutes? I hope you are not trying to edit in After Effects. My average comp is under 7 seconds. 

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May 29, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
May 29, 2020

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I'm combining recorded interview footage with motion graphics. The problem appears even when the composition is shorter than 45 minutes if the video file dragged into the comp happens to be longer than that limit, as is the case here. If the error happens once, it persists across the entire program until I've closed and re-launched AE, after which waveforms will appear as expected until and unless I try to open the Waveform view of another too-long layer.

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May 29, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 29, 2020

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I do the kind of program you are describing all the time. I take a shot with a spokesman or interview, or a narration track and combine it with motion graphics. The master shot or audio track is usually broken up into sections with markers in Premiere Pro for video or Audition for audio, and a separate comp is made from each section. Occasionally I'll break up a master shot in After Effects, but I almost never render the master, I only render the sections.

 

I've been doing this for a very long time. I know that it sounds like more work, but everything is easier to handle and you'll get finished in less time. I don't think I have ever had a single AE comp longer than a minute or two in the 25 years. A few years ago I produced 6 hour-long programs for a national client that was 100% animation. Every frame came from After Effects but not one of those comps was longer than a sentence or phrase, they were all rendered and the edit was done in Premiere Pro.

 

Here's a current project composed of 4 different shots. The shortest Master comp from the 4 shots is 15 seconds long, the longest just over 2 minutes. Each master has been split up into separate comps appropriately named. The flow chart shows the 4 comps that I will need to open up in the Scene 3 section to make some changes for the client. The master timeline shows the sections of the shot that did not need any work. The render cue shows 68 renders so far with a typical render time of about 5 minutes. The longest render time was for Scene 1-05, a 9 second and 1 frame comp that took just over 40 minutes because it was very complicated. 

Screenshot_2020-05-29 22.28.57_4Gh6EI.png

Just imagine if this project, with a total running time of just over 5 minutes was one comp. The comp would have several hundred layers. Drilling down to find about 75 or 100 total frames the client wanted to be changed in a half dozen layers would be a nightmare, and the project would take several hours to render. 

 

I'm just trying to help you work more efficiently. I would break up your comp into sections that were no longer than a single animated section before I did anything else. Even if you kept the Master comp a full 45 minutes long and never went to Premiere to finalize the edit, you would be a lot more efficient.

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May 29, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
May 30, 2020

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From your screenshot it appears that our workflows are already very similar, though my precomps tend to be on the order of one to two minutes rather than a few seconds and I use AME rather than AE for rendering.

 

The reason that the long source files in my current project are an issue is that my habit is to drag a full file into the timeline and use the waveform to quickly cut down to the part I want, but it turns out that doing so with a very long clip causes an error that prevents all waveforms from appearing in the timeline even on trimmed clips.

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May 30, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 31, 2020

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You can break up, add markers, and prepare your audio files in Premiere Pro or Audition in a lot less time and a lot more accurately. I have not looked at a waveform in AE to sync anything longer than a door slam or a balloon popping for years. Any audio track longer than a few sentences is going into Audition to be marked up. The labeled markers come into AE and the J and K keys take me there in an instant. You can even use marker labels to generate text or trigger animation. 

 

Put "Bang" in a marker label and you can use that marker with that name to trigger just about anything that can be keyframed. 

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May 31, 2020 0