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AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]

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Sonia Li
AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 22, 2017 at 8:31:22 pm

Hello, any suggestions would be great. I'm kind of a newbie so this is confusing for me, and exporting After Effects files take a long time!

I'm trying to export my After Effects clips via the Adobe Media Encoder. I would like my files to be exported as .mov

In my After Effects render queue, I have all the clips' settings at:

Render Settings: Best Settings
Output Module: Custom: Quicktime (CODEC H. 264)

When I am in Adobe Media Encoder, the Format says my clips are H.264, and Presets at "Match Source - High bitrate". It automatically sets my clip to .mp4, but I would like the clips to be exported as .mov. I see that I can choose Quicktime under Format options which would make my clips into .mov, but I am not sure what Presets I should use.

Thanks so much!!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 22, 2017 at 10:17:47 pm

There's a reason why you can't do it -- Quicktime's implementation of the H.264 codec SUCKS. Or bites. Or blows. Take your pick.

You'll be fine with an mp4/H.264. Don't worry about it. It's much better than what you were tring to make.

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


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Remus Hosu
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 10:35:07 am

I recommend you stay away from .MOV format as Dave says. The output quality is not that good and the file size is huge. You'll be better off sticking to MP4 with H264 compression. Here's a preset for Full HD render, you just import it into Media Encoder and then drag and drop it onto the comp, before the render

https://bluefx.net/after-effects-cc-render-setup-for-youtube-part2/


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Sonia Li
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 12:12:41 pm

Cool, good to know, thanks guys!


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Steve Bentley
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 12:22:33 pm

??????

H.264 is a codec and doesn't care whether its a .mov or a an mp4. Qucktime takes longer to process H264s than other programs (I find Adobe Encoder slower than QT) but neither are as fast as FFmpg. And all of these will be faster than AE. Many Mp4s out there are just .mov's in an mp4 wrapper (as are FLV's)

The output quality has to do with the settings you choose in your compression software not the compressor you used or the format it ends up in. H264 is a standard, not some variable thing that is reliant on what program made it.
Remus has a habit of saying "stay away from this or that" without having in-depth knowledge of the thing he is warning you about. If you are getting poor quality compresses, it just means your settings in your encoding software need to be tweaked. Its also possible you are asking too much of the codec. A most mostly black movie will be very small in mb, but a mostly noisy movie (lots of action and color) will never be super small if you want a clean, small mb movie in H264.

The issue is that AE can't wind up through the content and look at all the frames before it begins encoding (Ok it can, but you are basically rendering twice). Any good encoding software can do a dual pass and analyze the content to get the best out of it.

.Mov is a perfectly valid clean format to work with and if you are on the Mac, one of the best choices if you want to keep file sizes reasonable. .Mov is just a receptacle for codecs. I can make a .mov in BlackMagic or Animation/best or Cineon - it's still a .mov.

But your pipeline should be be: render out of AE in an uncompressed or Lossless format, and then put that final file through and encoder or QT or FFmpg or MS Expression or whatever to compress it.

Besides, what if there is an error in your movie that you have to correct in AE (wrong color, popping keyframe etc) do you really want to waste time encoding before you have a chance to inspect it?



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Sonia Li
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 12:35:19 pm

Thanks for this insightful and educational post, Steve, really appreciate it, learning a lot!! ☺


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 2:30:28 pm

[Steve Bentley] "H.264 is a codec and doesn't care whether its a .mov or a an mp4."

The Quicktime H264 encoder is different and has a number of limitations compared to the Mainconcept encoder.


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Steve Bentley
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 4:59:56 pm

Hi Tero,
So are you saying that the interface is different in QT with fewer controls, OR, are you saying that Apple is using a non standard codec?
And I'm talking QT Pro here (with the latest version and dot upgrade to the codec files) just so we're apples to apples (Ha!) And I'm doing this on a PC in case this matters, with some sort of porting issue of the original code from the original Mac platform, from before PC could speak QT.

I will grant that the controls in QTpro are missing a few items that might make things better, but (at least in my experience) Adobe Encoder's output (size/quailty) has never been able to touch QTpro's version of the same file. And I find QT PRo faster. With one caveat:
After you render in AE there seems to be a memory management issue (I know, shocking right? it is adobe after all) that prevents QT from running at full tilt when it's compressing. If we have a big file to crunch (and we need to use QT pro to do it) we will restart the machine to clear the baffles after AE has done it's thing. Only then will it compress at a reasonable speed. The quality will always be the same it's just the time it takes to do the job that changes.

If indeed there can be differences, I wonder if different encoders (not codecs) have a sweet spot for bandwidth. Most of the stuff we do gets pushed out at 3,500kb/s to 29,000 kb/s. So maybe I'm not seeing any QT sins that are happening down in the sub 1000kbs range, or conversely a stellar job Adobe Encoder might be doing in the same low kb/s range.
But given the algorithms needed to get to H264 (that shouldn't be changing between encoders) I would have thought using the same settings would garner the same results, regardless of platform or encoding engine - with the exception of the time it takes to do the job.



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Tero Ahlfors
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 6:28:07 pm

If you use AME and export in Quicktime you're using the Apple codec. Which is missing a bunch of features and is limited in a bunch of ways eg. the QT version is missing multipass encoding and is resolution limited. If you use the H264 format you're exporting with Mainconcept.

These are different encoders.


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Steve Bentley
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 23, 2017 at 7:19:32 pm

Right and we are talking about H264 here. I can export a QT .mov in H264 from AME, with multipass and (as far as I've tried )any resolution I like, included a non-16pixel imperfect-square division. (and we do some weird formats here, eg 23,040 x 1080, so we've done our best to test those resolution limits)

So given that I didn't really understand your first sentence. I can export a QT from AME in a non apple codec with all those features. Unless you mean Apple has hijacked H264 and created their own flavour.



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Tero Ahlfors
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 24, 2017 at 7:23:50 am

QT H264 in AME doesn't have any settings for multipass rendering and resolution tops out at 2000x2000. I have no idea what you're doing but apparently it is working for you.


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Steve Bentley
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 24, 2017 at 7:53:32 am

So its probably that we've installed third party codecs in AME to allow this ( I know we've added cineon and BMD so an additional H264 isn't out of the question). It would answer the question as to why we don't see the problem that others are seeing (our colleagues as well) when trying to do larger or multipass H264s or 265s through AME.
As I've mentioned in other posts on this topic (which seems to be at an epidemic level these days), we tend choose either QT Pro itself or FFMPG long before we'll fire up AME to do a 264 crunch. But that's purely for ease of use and speed of compress. With the exception of dedicated hardware boards nothing we've found beats FFmpg for speed.

But still my advice remains - do the compress AFTER you have output a clean file from AE. I really don't understand the desire to do it in one pass. It takes longer, plus you don't get to see the AE output before you compress (it could have issues) and you can't tweak the compress on the clean master file after the fact because AE is doing it for you. If the initial compression values aren't good enough you can always crunch it again, which always takes less time than running even just the clean master file out of AE again, let alone re-rendering AND compressing.

Does this make large (even huge) clean master files coming out of AE? You bet, but drives are dirt cheap these days and even a boring vanilla size is now 750gb+. Animation Best is a great QT format to render your clean master in. While technically compressed, it is compressed with run-length encoding, so nothing is lost. A noisy movie will be a similar size (in mb) to a truly uncompressed file, but anything with solids or where elements don't change that much will be massively smaller. Minute long alpha channels rendered in Animation Best can be less than 500k and will be just as perfect as an equivalent uncompressed monster at over 14 gb.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE and Adobe Media Encoder [Export Issues]
on Aug 24, 2017 at 2:38:43 pm

[Steve Bentley] "Animation Best is a great QT format to render your clean master in. While technically compressed, it is compressed with run-length encoding, so nothing is lost."

Right -- an animated lower-third rendered in Animation can be downright compact -- there's a lot of nothing to encode!

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


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