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Josh Dekay
FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:28:40 pm
Last Edited By Josh Dekay on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:38:19 pm

Hey there,

I'm going to be creating some animated lower thirds graphics for footage that my coworker shot and edited. (He's a Software Developer and I'm a UI Designer by day, so a little help would be great).

He shot C Log footage with a C100, edited and color corrected in FCPX. My plan is to take this footage and build the lower thirds motion graphics on top of it in After Effects 2014. Perhaps add a soundtrack in Premiere Pro 2014.

Here are my questions:

- What file type should he send my way, exported from FCPX (see options in attachment)?
- When I export with Adobe Media Encoder, what is a solid option these days as far as codec/container file for web delivery?

The footage is Travel Channel-like, where different locations are shown off. I'm working on a 27"iMac with an i7 and a 3TB Fusion Drive. The total length of the video will be approx 2 mins.

Any other advice is welcome.

Thank you for your guidance!

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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:05:16 pm

I'm a little unclear on what you're doing: are you mating the animated lower-thirds to the video & rendering everything, or are you just rendering the lower-thirds?

If I'm doing the job, I'm rendering just the lower-thirds with an alpha channel. ProRes 4444. I'd let my buddy put them on the video in FCPX. I'd have him send the video to me in ProRes Proxy just to have something to look at. If they're multiple lower thirds, I'd render multiple animated files.

But that's me....

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Josh Dekay
Re: FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:17:02 pm

Hey Dave, it looks like we replied at the same time.

Our plan was to have him complete the edits, then I'd take that video and create the lower thirds over the top of it in AE. From there I'd export the final file. Is this bad practice?

I have AE and Premiere Pro, but not Motion nor FCP so I am not sure that I can even read ProRes files.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:30:47 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:33:03 pm

How'd you make the screen grab, then? I see a list of ProRes codecs.

I'd keep the supers separate from the video unless you happen to know this guy inside & out and you KNOW he won't change his mind.

I'd also make the animations longer than desired... you know, with trim handles of a couple-three seconds.

By doing so, you reduce the chances of hearing, "Uh, Josh, you know that shot of the river? I'd really like to make that a little longer."
If you're doing the supers & video, you're both making the changes.
If you're doing the supers alone, he's making the changes.

People who can't make up their minds: the bane of AE practitioners.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Josh Dekay
Re: FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 13, 2014 at 12:02:41 am
Last Edited By Josh Dekay on Nov 20, 2014 at 9:28:25 pm

Thanks for getting back to me Dave.

Let me give you a little more background to help paint a picture of things.

We're a small company that has built a digital product/smartphone application that allows users to create reviews of businesses, services, hotels, etc.

That screenshot was sent to me from my coworker when we were discussing workflow. He has FCPX, but I don't. I have the Adobe Suite. He's literally stationed on the other side of the planet.. I've worked with him for a number of years very closely, creating software.

I'm actually the UI Designer and Creative Director for our company so I have final say in how things look, etc. If there are any changes, they're probably coming from me - haha! My coworker on this project is a Software Engineer. At this point, we're content with his edit, so I don't anticipate changes in this particular project.

Neither of us have done this type of project before with motion graphics. Although we've both done some simple editing and I've been learning AE recently (I did a lot of animation with Flash years back). He's getting into photography/video as a hobby. I'm getting into motion graphics and Cinema 4D for work and pleasure.

We're joining forces to create a video (editorial content for work) that will show off different locations in Asia.

As you can see, it's probably not a traditional setup since he edited it, and I'm the Creative Director/Designer who is doing motion graphics, etc. Being a smaller company with very little "red tape" to get through, we just put together the project idea and are sorting things out along the way. Hence my inexperienced questions about workflow and the like. If I was on location, I'd probably edit and do it all on my own. But he shot the footage and had the desire to edit it, so that's why we're where we are.

As far as making the the animations a little longer, that sounds like great advice. Can you elaborate a little more on the technical side/implementation for clarification? Are you saying to make the nested comps longer than needed and then trim them back?

Thanks again for your help!

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Josh Dekay
Re: FCP > After Effects Workflow/Files
on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:03:08 pm
Last Edited By Josh Dekay on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:18:46 pm

Hey Dave,

I'm picking up what you're laying down so to peak. :)

I also have obtained the ProRes 422 codec so I am now good to go there.

I have another batch of questions if you don't mind sharing your video wizardry. I'll try to be short/direct, some of these are probably obvious questions but I am asking for clarification and so I can fully understand and commit it to memory with confidence.

Your workflow with proxy files does seem like a great option for us given our distance apart.

1. Premiere seems to like editing native camera formats based on what I've read. However, since my coworker is sending ProRes 422, they're already encoded and we're no longer using native camera files correct?

2. A proxy file should be a "editing friendly file", in other words not h264 which is more for end user playback, correct?

3. For a moment, let's pretend FCP is out of the picture and so is ProRes. Assuming #2 is true, It would be better to use something like a QT with the PNG or Animation codec *at a lower resolution* (i.e. small dimension, then scale it up in the editing program), than say a large 1920 x 1080 video that is highly compressed with something like h264, correct?

4. Regarding #3, the reason certain files are better for editing than others is that the editing software doesn't need to encode/decode the file as you're working on it, correct?

5. Regarding #4, this would mostly apply for larger files that can't be stored in ram, correct?

6. I don't have ProRes 4444, but did experiment with the PNG (RGB+A) codec in a QT container and liked the results. However, a minor thing came up that I am curious about. When exporting from After Effects via Adobe Media Encoder, there was no option that I saw which allowed for exporting with an alpha channel (i.e. no RGB + A). However when I exported from After Effects via "Render Queue" I did see this option. Easy enough to use Render Queue instead, but curious to know why this is not available in AME?

7. I was able to export with an alpha channel from AME, however I had to use the GoPro CineForm with Alpha (RGB 16bpc) or (RGB 8bpc) in order to get the alpha out. Do you still recommend the PNG codec instead of this?

8. These are all editing friendly files, correct? Animation codec in QT, PNG codec in QT, ProRes 422 including ProRes 422 Proxy.

That's all I have. I really appreciate your help and input on this!

If anyone else wants to chime in to help ease some of my burden off of Dave, please do. :)

Thank you!

PS - As an aside, for future projects my coworker is probably switching to Premiere Pro.

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