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Newbie Questions Regarding Project planning, AE Settings and Film (4k) advice please

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Aurora Manning
Newbie Questions Regarding Project planning, AE Settings and Film (4k) advice please
on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:42:38 am

Hi All,

I apologize in advance for any dumb questions here. I've spent quite some time searching and reading and watching various tutorials but I just can't seem to find definitive answers. Also, I apologize if this is excessively lengthy, I'm just trying to provide adequate background information.

  • I am relatively new to AE - I'm more comfortable with Flash and animation for the web but I am working on a project that has the potential to end up being displayed on a cinema screen (film festivals and such). I've never done something intended to be seen in a theatre.

    I have no clue exactly how that part will be done (type of projector set up etc.).
    It's sort of a trade off: loads of creative freedom, relatively low pressure with deadlines etc. - in exchange for very little certainty.
    More of a labour of love and a learning experience than a well defined, contractual gig.

    I have no intention of actually rendering this project at full cinema scale myself because I know my system can't handle it.

    I do need to render it for web viewing.

    I just want to make sure that I plan it in such a way that if it actually does need to be rendered for movie screen viewing I can successfully turn over all my files to someone who is capable of rendering it because it would just kill me if it got that far only to find that I had not planned accordingly.

    I am keeping everything organized within a main folder.

  • There are no film footage or video footage assets being used (nothing shot with a camera)as of now.
    There may be such assets worked in at some point as this is a collaborative venture and I realize that this could pose a challenge depending on the 'quality' of that footage. All I can say is that I have little to no control over that part and it may come down to finding creative solutions to make it work aesthetically…again that creative leeway thing.

    I am creating the assets for animation in Photoshop using that application's Film 4k settings. To be on the safe side I did change the resolution there to 300 (it defaults to 72), I saved my final PSDs at 300 and then saved 72 ppi versions to use in AE.
    Originally I did this because 300 was just too slow to work with - too big.

  • I looked around and it is my understanding that pixel resolution does not matter to AE but I'm still not 100% sure if 72 is actually good enough or not for cinema.
    Also - I do need to do some zooming in. Like 200% - maybe more. In this particular case it just does not make sense for me to accommodate for this by, say switching to a layer with a larger sized 72 pip version of the image or something like that.

  • I have never had to add sound to an animation, although so far, I'm not really daunted by the actual process of adding and editing / editing to the audio track etc. Mostly, I'm just not sure if there is anything special I need to take into account given the possibility of it needing to be rendered for cinema.

    Currently I am just working with a single audio track of a reading. I'm strongly considering going the extra mile and adding music.
    To do that I'm considering taking the AE project into Premier Pro once Im done animating. So I in that case I guess the final renderings would be done from Premiere or maybe not… I guess it's not strictly necessary… but might that be better?

  • I have done a little test run of a 36 second 'scene' and rendered it to a .mov.
    I did that at Quarter resolution in the render settings and scaled it down to 640x480 High Quality in the output module.

    I selected 44.100 kHz - lossless I think - for the audio - not sure what would be best for web but this came out sounding good.

    It took 4 minutes, 8 seconds and went fine overall but I do have some jagged edges where I want smooth lines. I'm thinking that it may be because of my 72 res psd files because it looks bad after the zoom…

    Unfortunately I don't have many specific questions. I guess I'm guilty of being one of those newbies who doesn't know what to ask. I'm hoping for advice / warnings / tips etc. that have to do with the fact that I'm planning to create the project at film 4k but then render it for web in hopes it might actually need to be rendered at film 4k by someone else - sound nutty enough?

    sorry for the essay - below are basic facts regarding how I'm working

    My system:
    iMac 3.2 GHz Intel i3 - 4GB RAM 1333 MHz DDR3
    (& 2 TB Raid external backup)

    from CS5 Master Collection:
    Photoshop (Sometimes starts in Illustrator taken into Photoshop)
    After Effects
    Premier Pro (Maybe?)

    I do not have Final Cut.

    Below I just tried to cover everything about my project as I currently have it.

    AE Project Settings:
    Display Style:
    Timecode Base: Auto
    NTSC: Drop Frame
    Frames: Not Selected
    Feet + Frames: Not Selected

    Color Settings:
    Depth: 16 bits per channel
    Working Space: Apple RGB
    Linearize Working Space: Not Selected
    Blend Colors Using 1.0 Gamma: Not Selected
    Match Legacy: Not Selected
    Compensate for Scene-referred Profiles: Selected

    Audio Settings:
    Sample Rate: 48.000 kHz

    Composition Settings:
    Preset: Film (4K)
    Width: 4096 px
    Height: 3112 px
    Lock Aspect Ratio to 512:389 (1:32)
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square
    Frame Aspect Ratio: 512:389 (1:32)
    That's not right is it?
    I believe it defaulted to that because of my PSDs.
    Do I need to select Anamorphic?
    I could swear I remember seeing or reading about an easy fix for the "squeeze" result of changing this Aspect Ratio but now I can't remember where. I'm hoping it's not just wishful thinking. Not the end of the world but I'd really prefer not to have to re-do all of what I've I've done so far.

    Frame Rate:24 ps
    Resolution: Full (4096x3112, 97.2 MB per 16bpc frame
    Start Timecode: 0:00:00:00 (is 0:00:00:00 Base 24)
    Duration: 0:00:36:00 (is 0:00:36:00 Base 24)

    (Haven't touched anything on the Advanced Tab)
    Preserve frame rate when nested or in render queue: Not Selected
    Preserve resolution when nested: Not Selected

    Photoshop Source PSDs:
    width: 4096 px
    height: 3112 px

    (Also have 300 ppi versions…)

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    Michael Szalapski
    Re: Newbie Questions Regarding Project planning, AE Settings and Film (4k) advice please
    on Jul 5, 2011 at 4:06:10 pm

    The dpi or ppi does not matter for AE. Not in the least. The amount of pixels wide and high are all that matter.

    If you will be needing to scale an image up (or zooming in to it - same thing) you will need to create it at the largest size it'll need to be viewed. If it's a ridiculous amount of zooming in, check out this tutorial[link].

    Final renderings using Premiere/Adobe Media Encoder would be the recommended way to work. AE can't do multipass encoding whereas the Media Encoder can. It depends on the final spec you're rendering to for film, but compressing to the web will certainly benefit from it. (Make sure you render a nice, lossless file from AE. It'll be big and probably won't be able to play back on your system, but Premiere will deal with it just fine.) You could render a compressed/low res version of the video out of AE to use in Premiere for setting up your audio, then replace it with the full render from AE. (Look up information about using proxies.)

    You don't need Final Cut so don't worry about that. I actually prefer Premiere now that it's come out with the Mercury Playback Engine.

    The 4k preset should be fine if your final project may be 4k. (Speaking of, you can actually upload 4k files to YouTube now.)
    Those numbers look fine.
    If you selected the 4k preset for your comp in AE, it won't change to anything because of your PSDs. Also, square pixels is what your aspect ratio is set to, which is exactly right. Having that be something different is where people have squashing issues.
    If you do (for some reason) need to make your footage animorphic, it's very easy to just drop your main comp into a new comp that uses whatever odd pixel aspect ratio they need and render it that way if need be.

    I hope that answered all your questions.

    - The Great Szalam
    (The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

    No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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