Large animation render advice...render as image? Aimate in After effects?

I am working on a landscape that seems waaaaay toomuch for my computer to render. It’s taking an 30+ minutes per frame, I don’t know what i did, other than it is a landscape with a lot of elements going far into the background, and I am not really all that skilled at keeping it low poly. I want it to be about 3000 frames,a few minutes.
I ama doing a simple camera pan across the desert (like the long pan in Touch of Evil or Godard’s “weekend”). There are no moving elements other than the camera. I’m thinking perhaps I can do three things.
pay a ridiculous amount of money to render it with a service, ones that i’ve found who support blender don’t do avi or .mov?
try to convince someone in the tech area of my school to allow me a late night render session threaded out over a dozen or so boxes in one of the labs?
Or 3, and this is my curent leaning… Render the foreground, middle ground, and background planes separately as loooong hi res images with alpha channels, and do the camera pan in After effects, which is where I was planning on doing some of the post work anyway.
I guess I assume someone would point out the cons of doing the third which is why i bring it up. One con is that AE isn’t real 3d sapce and it seems like blender has some AE export problems, but I guess I’m just using images so that shouldn’t be an issue.
any sugegstions would be gretaly appreciated.