Whoa, sorry guys, really crazy last couple of days, trying to handle all of my business. Anyway, I am back!
Brian - I'm glad that I haven't messed any of my settings up too terribly. I will definitely turn down the DMC samples a bit, I hadn't really thought about how high 15 really was. I had sort of planned on trying Low IR settings, especially since this is an exterior scene. With a little deadline extension, tho, I may reconsider. I figured I would try it on medium for the first, say, 10 nth frames, see if its manageable, then make my final decision. I have a couple of hours to dedicate to that. As long as I am at it, I will go ahead and render out those final images to be sure that I have enough samples for the low like you suggested.
Thanks a ton for your very valuable input!
Chad - I went for the 5 year MArch, even though I am really further from a license now than I was when I graduated almost four years ago. Its ok tho, I have mostly survived the recession and am making enough money to live! Can't ask for much more than that.