Rendering and Per-Frame Timing

I’m rendering a long animation across a variety of computers, all of which are of different power levels. I did a benchmark to determine how fast they all are in relation to one another and this allows me to figure out how to distribute the frames such that all of the computers finish around the same time.

The problem is that simply parsing the frames out to each computer doesn’t work very well. Some frames render quickly while others render slowly. I need some way to measure the per-frame render time and then take that into account when distributing the frames.

Currently, my best course of action is to render the entire animation with a low number of samples which allows the animation to complete in only a couple of hours. I stamp each frame with the render time and then put this data into an Excel spreadsheet that allows me to work some mathemagic on it, but this is tedious.

Networking the entire mess together isn’t feasible, and even if it was, for my purposes, simply walking across the room with a USB drive containing the scene will always be easier.

Does anyone else have ideas about this?

One option:
Output to a dropbox (or similar) folder, in Render / Output disable ‘Overwrite’ and enable ‘Placeholder’.
Each machine will then render the next available frame and sync to the dropbox account

That is an amazing idea. I love it. I hadn’t even considered Dropbox since one of the computers doesn’t have it, but I can easily install it. You are a miracle worker.