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Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality

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James Murray
Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:22:49 am

Dear CC community,

Thank you for this great resource and I'll do my best to be clear about what I need help with.

My computer specs:
- MacbookPro (2.6 GHz Intel Core i7)
- Mem: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- OS X (10.9.5)

I've recently finished a series of smaller AE projects which are each separate scenes for a motion graphic explainer video.
I designed my layers in Illustrator CC, and used AE CC (ver. 13.5) to create the scenes.

I'm working to get the highest quality output I can, as the final video (around 90 secs long) is to be shown at a festival on a big screen. I haven't been given specs for the screen, just that it needs to be high quality.

Here's what I've tried so far, which has also taught me the limits of my computer.

- Rendered each AE project individually at 16 bit, sRGB, HD 29.97 fps, 1080p, ProRes4444
- Then edited files in Premiere CC and synched up the audio (.wavs)
- Then DyLinked the project back into AE to render again with the same settings as above.
- Result: Nice finish but huge file (4.7 GB), so passed that through Media Encoder to reduce file size
- Media Encoder settings: H.264, match source/high bitrate, PAL, render at max depth, VBR 2 pass, max bitrate (20), trgt bitrate (17.5)

(apologies for all the detail)

I tried adding all the main compositions from the AE projects into one master AE composition, in order to render all the scenes together, however the render cut out after only a short time, even at 8 bit, using ProRes 422 (HQ).

I'm sure my original workflow is way over the top in terms of productivity and I'm sure re-rendering already rendered footage (.mov) does not help the quality. However, I don't know that for sure, which is why I'm asking the experts!

I would highly appreciate insight as to a more professional workflow, ideally which would help me understand if / what I need to upgrade! Huge thanks to anyone willing to help!

Best wishes,

James


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:34:21 pm

Before rendering I would find out the exact requirements of the device that will play you finish product and the resolution of the screen/projector. Some venues have their own weird specs.
The I would edit together my HQ pieces in a NLE like Premiere and then render from there using Media Encoder to whatever the specs are for the final file for playback.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:10:58 am

[Tudor "Ted" Jelescu] "I would edit together my HQ pieces in a NLE like Premiere and then render from there using Media Encoder to whatever the specs are for the final file for playback"

@ Tudor "Ted" Jelescu - it makes sense! Most specs I usually get are the standard HD 1920x1080 (29.97fps) so I just assumed it would be the same as they hadn't specified.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:36:43 pm

[James Murray] " I haven't been given specs for the screen, just that it needs to be high quality."

Get the specs.

[James Murray] " Then DyLinked the project back into AE to render again with the same settings as above. "

Is there a reason you don't export straight from Premiere?

[James Murray] "Result: Nice finish but huge file (4.7 GB)"

Quality takes space.


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:23:40 am

[Tero Ahlfors] "Is there a reason you don't export straight from Premiere?"

@ Tero Ahlfors - thanks for replying. Usually I queue footage rendered from AE straight from Premiere into Encoder. I thought this was the correct way, however the prod. company asked me to send them a HQ version! What I had been doing was rendering out the scenes for my project, each at 8bit and using the ProRes 422 (HQ) codec. Since they then asked for a high quality version, it made me think there must be a better way.

One extra piece of info: the Illustrator layers are to scale, which meant there was no up-sizing in the AE composition (I know you can 'continually rasterise' but I wanted the quality to be the best it could)


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Walter Soyka
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:11:56 pm

I agree with Ted and Tero on their respective points.

[James Murray] "I tried adding all the main compositions from the AE projects into one master AE composition, in order to render all the scenes together, however the render cut out after only a short time, even at 8 bit, using ProRes 422 (HQ)."

I'm not sure I follow. What is happening here?


[James Murray] "I'm sure my original workflow is way over the top in terms of productivity and I'm sure re-rendering already rendered footage (.mov) does not help the quality. However, I don't know that for sure, which is why I'm asking the experts!"

Though I wouldn't make a habit of rendering needless generations, ProRes does survive a few generations pretty well without visible degradation.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:13:45 pm

Three individuals have already said, "Get the delivery specs." Here's another admonition to get them.

Once the AE renders are in the video editor, it isn't necessary to leave it. You should be able to export in the delivery specs... plus a high-quality archival copy. ProRes is good for this.

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


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 3:32:00 pm

I recently got "HDMI/DVI" for delivery specifications. I'll probably send them a combo cable.


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Joe Clay
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:39:09 pm

That's not a spec. Tons of things can run over HDMI/DVI. :/

Also, you should be able to either render the whole thing in AE, or render the pieces, edit it, and render out of Premiere without any issues. I don't understand why you'd be using Dynamic Link to render out the video in AE.

As other's have said, quality takes space. 4.7GB isn't really huge but it's kind of high unless your animation is really long. I've got a master of a project that is 1:44 and it's 1.57GB.

I've found for most HD stuff, the Media Encoder setting for Vimeo 1080p works well. Good luck.

Joe Clay
Workbench.tv


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:02:57 am

[Joe Clay] "I don't understand why you'd be using Dynamic Link to render out the video in AE."

@ Joe Clay - Thanks for the Vimeo tip! I used the Dynamic Link in order to use the ProRes 4444 codec. I wanted to squeeze as much quality as I could and somehow ended up at that juncture, hence the huge video size!

Thanks to all this feedback I'm much more assured about Premiere's capabilities!


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:58:24 am

[Tero Ahlfors] " I recently got "HDMI/DVI" for delivery specifications. I'll probably send them a combo cable."

@ Tero Ahlfors - nobody can say you didn't follow their instructions :)


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:54:49 am

@ Dave LaRonde - thanks once again! The specs are definitely a priority!

[Dave LaRonde] "Once the AE renders are in the video editor, it isn't necessary to leave it. You should be able to export in the delivery specs... plus a high-quality archival copy. ProRes is good for this."

What you're talking about here is actually exactly what I'm trying to understand. Do you mean once the renders are in a video editor (such as Premiere) I can then export to ProRes quality? Do I do that with the 'Match Source' button? Also for the "high-quality archival copy", is that achieved by simply exporting out of Premiere without Encoding in Media Encoder?

Apologies for the onslaught of questions!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 10, 2016 at 5:45:29 pm

You'll need to play around with the PP Export settings. It's not tough, but pay attention to the details. It will probably be a Custom setting. If you want to use it again, save it.

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


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James Murray
Re: Motiongraphics workflow for top output quality
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:38:09 am

@ Walter Soyka - thanks for the info about ProRes! Very useful to know!

[Walter Soyka] "I tried adding all the main compositions from the AE projects into one master AE composition, in order to render all the scenes together, however the render cut out after only a short time, even at 8 bit, using ProRes 422 (HQ)."

Sorry this isn't clear. This was my attempt to create a single AE project using all the individual AE projects I had been working on imported into one place. Each individual project had been made for the different scenes of the finished film. My idea was to take the main composition from each of these individual projects and put them all in sequence as one master composition (layer 1 = scene 1, layer 2 = scene 2, and so on).

I thought the ProRes would be higher quality if it was only rendered once as a whole project... however on reflection I realize that there is probably no advantage to doing this over simply rendering the individual projects, since they would both be Encoded in the same way!


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