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After Effects looping menu shows black frame

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Lichai Cohn
After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 6, 2009 at 9:12:22 pm

Hi everybody,

First of all let me thank you for the great tutorials, they really helped me a lot!

I've created a movie in Premiere CS4 and exported it to Encore CS4 through Dynamic Link. Next I've imported an After Effects CS4 Composition, again through Dynamic Link. Next I've set up the DVD exactly the way I liked with the AE-comp as a looping background for my menu. I'm quite new to both After Effects and Encore.

Everything works exactly as I hoped except for one thing. The looping background shows one black frame after (or perhaps before) every loop. After Effects uses the complete timeline. I've also tried to set the duration of the video in the Menu Motion properties in Encore one frame less, but it didn't work. I also tried rendering from After Effects and importing, but the same happens.

I'm not sure whether I'm doing something wrong in After Effects or Encore, but because when previewing in After Effects I don't see the black frame I assumed it was Encore.

Thanks for any help in advance!


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 2:32:24 am

Burn a test RW disc and test it in a hardware and/or software DVD player. Encore's preview is usually slower than "real" DVD players when menus loop, timelines change, etc.

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 9:45:06 am

Thanks, but I already tried that. I have built the DVD and tried playing it back in VLC. I also burnt it and tried on a regular DVD-player, but both show that one frame black.


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 12:52:47 pm

Double-check the start/end frames of the footage in the AE composition, the composition length and the length of the work area. The work area won't affect the length of the comp in Encore, but it will affect the RAM preview in AE.

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:08:55 pm

Thanks for your help again.

The Comp is 5 seconds long, however, when using the Page Down key to move one frame ahead to exactly 5 seconds (because I can't seem to drag the CTI to exactly 5 seconds in time), I see a grey frame. I tried shortening the work area and trimming the Comp accordingly, but again the last frame is grey. In one of the tutorials here (on looping particles) I heard that a 5 sec Comp will go untill 4sec 24frames (PAL) because the first frame starts at 0sec. Is this where the problem is?

The footage is actually some Photoshop-layers with an animating mask uncovering parts of the layers.

I also tried creating a timeline from the After Effects file in Encore but when trimming the last frame off, the new last frame will be black aswell.

So it seems everything always ends with one black frame, what am I doing wrong?


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:20:35 pm

Is the last frame in the AE comp black? Or is it grey? This is important because black means that you have run out of footage. Grey means that you have navigated the cursor past the end of the comp.

The tutorial is correct; a five-second PAL comp runs from time 00:00 to time 4:24. This does not affect the rendered length of the comp it will still be 5 seconds) - it only affects the timecode display in the comp.

So what color is the frame at time 4:24?

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:50:03 pm

Thanks again.

In After Effects the last frame is grey, so I guess it's just the CTI moving past the work area.

In Encore the frame is black.


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 8:10:20 pm

This seems to require some more troubleshooting in After Effects. Can you post links to the AE project file and the Photoshop file/layers? I understand completely if there are client privacy issues that would prevent that.

However, without the AE project, I'm just flying blind and can only guess at what might be wrong.

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 8:30:40 pm

I've uploaded the files here:
AE-project
PS-file

I've removed one layer from both files containing names of other people who worked with me on this (school)project. Those layers where static so I guess it shouldn't make a difference.

Thanks again!


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 7, 2009 at 10:10:34 pm

I dynamically-linked the AE comp to a PAL Encore project, and then set the comp as the motion background for the menu. Encore's preview played it perfectly with no black frame.

I did not build the project nor burn it to disc.

If you have rendered the motion menu and then adjusted the length of the menu, Encore may be using the old rendered file version for preview and build. Try moving one or more buttons on the menu, re-rendering, and then moving the buttons back (move, don't undo) and rendering again.

Do you have audio for the menu? What is its length compared to the video?

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 11:58:56 am

Thanks!

I just created a new Encoreproject to test the same two files with nothing else in the project. Here's my steps:

I opened Encore (in the original I started by sending a project from Premiere to Encore) and started a new PAL DVD project without being able to change any other settings (all greyed out, but they were fine: 720*576, MPEG-2, 25 fps, Lower field first).

I right clicked in the project panel and hit import as menu and selected the PSD file.

I went to Adobe Dynamic Link -> Import After Effects Composition and selected the aep-file and the correct composition afterwards (menu_bg, there's also a second version: def_menu, which I used to just paste a lot of copies of the menu_bg composition after another in case I can't get this to work correctly for this project).

I double clicked the menu and from the Motion-tab I pickwhipped the Dynamic Linked After Effects composition from the video field.

Finally I right clicked on the menu and clicked Preview from here. Next I hit the button render currect motion menu or slideshow. 125 frames were rendered in about 10 seconds and the preview started.

And yet again I get that black frame. This is so frustrating...

I don't use audio for the menu.


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 12:40:38 pm

Try adding a new blank menu from the Library to the project, then Alt+Drag the AE comp from the Project panel to the Menu viewer. Do a Preview From Here on the menu.

What happens?

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 1:25:02 pm

I added a menu and pickwhipped (is this really different from alt_dragging?) the video to the AE Comp and I don't see the black frame!!!

So would this mean the original PSD-file is somehow not suitable?


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 2:33:48 pm

Hmm, I did some more testing. When I start a PSD from scratch everytime I have the black frame problem. When I use an Encore menu it works, however as soon as I edit the menu in Photoshop I get the black frame again... What is going on?


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 3:29:03 pm

Okay, I was able to reproduce the black frame here after an Edit in Photoshop.

What was interesting was that when I set the loop point anywhere prior to 4:15, the menu looped with no break.

At 4:15 and beyond, the black-frame break occurred.

NTSC GOPs are 15 frames apart, so maybe something weird is going on with NTSC menu transcoding even in a PAL project. Either that, or there is a problem with the Effects you added to the Black Solid layer in the comp. I'm inclined to believe the latter, but that's only a guess (and I didn't take the time to test the theory).

Try this: extend your AE comp by 15 frames and stretch the layers to fill. Use the extended comp as the menu background and set the loop point to 5:01. It worked here, even after an Edit in Photoshop.

(BTW, all DVDs pause for a split second when the menu loops; usually, though, you see a freeze frame of the menu, not a black screen.)

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 3:58:49 pm

Thanks again!

I tried extending the Comp length by 15 frames with stretching the layers and setting the loop point to 5.01. The Comp played one whole time and than it kept showing a black frame and than some of the Comp, black frame, Comp.... etc.

I also removed the black solid layer to see what would happen, but still that black frame.

I also went to the transcode settings of the Dynamic Linked AE Comp in Encore and saw it was set to automatic. I tried some of the other presets, but didn't notice any difference. When I hot the button edit to see some more settings I saw this for GOP settings: M frames: 3, N Frames: 12. I must admit I have no idea what GOP is.


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 4:29:31 pm

[Lichai Cohn] "I tried extending the Comp length by 15 frames with stretching the layers and setting the loop point to 5.01. The Comp played one whole time and than it kept showing a black frame and than some of the Comp, black frame, Comp.... etc."

Let's clean up some stuff.

1. Highlight the AE comp in the Project panel. If the DVD Transcode Status shows Transcoded, then right-click it and choose Revert to Original. If it shows as Untranscoded, then skip to step 2.

2. Remove the AE comp as the Menu background.

3. Go to Edit | Preferences | Media. Click the Clean Database button.

4. Save your project. Exit Encore. Re-open Encore and load your project.

Add the comp as the menu background again, set the duration to 5:01 and preview (don't render the motion menu yet). What happens?

Now render the motion menu. What happens?

It still works here.

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 4:45:32 pm

It showed as untranscoded so I cleaned the database and restarted. Added the menu-background, set the loop point en previewed. No motion could be seen, so I rendered and the black frame is there again...


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Jeff Bellune
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 6:27:52 pm

I'm sorry to hear that. Like I said, it works here. I'm out of ideas.

-Jeff

The Focal Easy Guide to Adobe Encore DVD 2.0


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Lichai Cohn
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Jan 8, 2009 at 6:44:13 pm

I'm sorry to hear that. Thanks for all your help anyway!


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lloyd stas
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Aug 24, 2011 at 10:01:12 am

Don't suppose you ever found a solution to this? I'm having exactly the same problem.

Anything over 4:20 creates that black frame.

It's weird cos I have another menu thats around 50 seconds and doesnt have the same problem.


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Gianni Salvador
Re: After Effects looping menu shows black frame
on Apr 24, 2012 at 12:14:28 pm

That last black frame in the menu is the second field of your exported movie.
you have to put the out mark just one or more frame before movie end, and then export it again.


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