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Video background in Motion Graphics Template

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Jeff Hinkle
Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 16, 2018 at 8:57:59 pm

Potentially stupid question: So we have three different layouts of endpages with the text and talent matching the movement of three different pre-rendered 3D environments. I set up an AE project so the editors can easily select the appropriate layout, show title/image, change the day/time/marketing text, etc. My goal was a fully self-contained, one-mogrt-fits-all file and I think I pretty much hit it.

Except for the backgrounds.

Including the pre-rendered 3D files in any format other than H.264 caused the final file size, naturally, to swell drastically and make the entire thing too slow to be usable. H.264 worked but the files kept going offline, the resulting mogrt was still too slow to work with comfortably, and I don't like the idea of re-compressing H.264 for final output. As it stands, the editors will drop the appropriate background behind the mogrt in their timeline but that's clunkier than I'd like. I've scoured the forums and Internet looking for tips on embedding video into a mogrt but found nothing. Is there a way to include the video cleanly? Can everything be compiled into a usable template in Premiere and still maintain all the AE controls I've built? Am I simply asking too much of the Essential Graphics system?

---
It is easier to destroy than to create.
More fun, too.


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Andrew Somers
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 12:35:33 am

You (typically) never want video compressed like H264 as a source file, as it will slow the working process greatly because all frames since the last keyframe have to be parsed in order to show a current frame.

But there are plenty of "editorial friendly" codecs, ProRes and Avid in particular, that are available in a variety of data rates. If it's a proxy that is going to be replaced, then ProRes draft or LT, or Avid DNxHD36. If it is more for final, then Regular ProRes or DNxHD115 or 175.

Alo, on the subject of DCT compression: once the FIRST pass of compression is done, "most" of the image loss is already there, and subsequent DCT re-compressions don't contribute as much degradation as that first compression pass.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Cassius Marques
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 1:19:27 pm

[Andrew Somers] "You (typically) never want video compressed like H264 as a source file, as it will slow the working process greatly because all frames since the last keyframe have to be parsed in order to show a current frame."

I'm not so sure this holds true any more. Since it shifts the load from data reading (huge files) to GPU processing (parsing h264). To be honest, all my evidence is anecdotal. So its just my experience from working in a few 4k projects. On which I've got great responsiveness either with all files being prores/dnx, or high quality h264. So I'm just saying we should considerer hardware configurations before deciding on that.

Cassius Marques
http://www.zapfilmes.com


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Jeff Hinkle
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 5:49:06 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses but there's a new wrinkle: Putting aside the best format to use for the movies, I can't get them to stay linked in the mogrt. They always show up (on every machine but mine) as "missing footage" color bars. I found online how to unpack the mogrt and looking through it and the report file, it says all the files were collected, and Reveal in Finder shows them linking to the unpacked Footage folder, but they show up as missing footage items on any other machine. The stills are all fine, it's just the video files that show as broken links. If I repack the unpacked mogrt, I can load it into Premiere (no thumbnail appears) but not add it to the timeline.

Really hope I'm overlooking something basic because this seems like something that should just sorta work when you export a mogrt. All software is on the exact same versions.

---
It is easier to destroy than to create.
More fun, too.


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Andrew Somers
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 8:33:59 pm

What is the file/folder structure? Are the media folders and project in the same root?

Otherwise, it sounds like you might have a permissions problem. Are you OS X or Windows?

If you are OS X, is every being used by user 501? (google OS X user 501 for more on that fun).

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Jeff Hinkle
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 9:19:48 pm

I did a Collect Files just to make sure everything would be at the same level and where AE would expect to find it. The missing files should be found in PROJECT/(FOOTAGE)/VIDEO/ And if I unpack the mogrt, that's right where they are. The AE file lives in PROJECT as well.

I thought it might be a Mac/PC thing (I'm Mac, editors are PC), but a fellow Mac user had the same issue. I even copied the mogrt to a USB drive and walked it over to her desk to eliminate the PC-based server. No joy. Permissions for the video files are I can read/write, Staff and Everyone are read-only. Didn't set them that way, just how they are. The stills, which work fine, are set the same. Googled "User 501" but that just left me more baffled than before.

It's SEEMS like it should be working, but it just won't. And my company frowns on me hitting the computers with large, blunt objects so I'm stuck.

---
It is easier to destroy than to create.
More fun, too.


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Andrew Somers
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 8:51:11 pm

(Cassius) ...working in a few 4k projects. On which I've got great responsiveness either with all files being prores/dnx, or high quality h264...


It depends very much on how far the key frames (I frames) are away from each other. If the keyframes are set close (low GOP), it's workable. Far apart? Not so much. The higher the GOP setting, the farther the keyframes are apart, and that results in the more RAM needed to buffer, more processing, etc.

So you could have H264 with a vey low GOP (I frames close together) that could work. But notice that in AME the defaults are often something like 72 frames — having frames set that far apart is great for uploading to the web, but literally unusable in editorial.

When you're trying to find the right H264 setting, trying playing in reverse. When editing, you're scrubbing and playing in reverse a lot, but H264 typically favors forward only playback, so reverse play just isn't happening If the GOP is too large, and it often is.

I've certainly worked with my share of H264 sources, and if it is camera original such as from a dSLR I usually do try and work with that rather than transcoding if it's an element for a VFX, but if it is source for editing then I'd want it all transcoded. My personal workstation is a 24 core xeon with 48 GB RAM and and a PCI SSD and RAIDS everywhere, I still definitely feel a difference using H264 vs ProRes. ProRes just works faster encode and decoding. Rendertimes ae the best with ProRes sources and ProRes outputs.

For this and other reasons, 10 bit ProRes is our house standard for quicktime proxies and some intermediates (even finals for video projects — though we will more likely use EXR for intermediates and finals for features).

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Jeff Hinkle
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 17, 2018 at 10:09:04 pm

Call off the dogs. I "fixed" it, in that it's working but damned if I know why. Re-rendering the problem files as DNXHD and replacing them in the project seems to have worked. Why that should be is beyond me, but it worked. Thanks to everyone for their help.

---
It is easier to destroy than to create.
More fun, too.


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Andrew Somers
Re: Video background in Motion Graphics Template
on Aug 18, 2018 at 2:52:37 am
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Aug 18, 2018 at 4:31:30 am

Regarding permissions— knowing now that you're in a mixed environment (Win/osX) makes things weirder. But regarding the UID 501 issues and permissions — I've had files that both "appeared" to have the same permissions setting in the Finder's Get Info screen on two different machines, but still not work because the same user "name" (what's visible in Get Info) was actually a different UID on the different machines. Since OS X 10.5 I've made a point to initialize users in a specific order so they all have the same UID/GID on all machines.

On top of this, there are more to permissions than what is shown in the Finder Get Info — ACL, aka access control lists, also affect access.

But I don't know how this would affect windows as I avoid using that os.

IGNORING OWNERSHIP:
While you've solved the problem, there is something that might help in the future — If you connect an external drive, in Get Info for that drive you can set it to "Ignore Ownership". Then if you consolidate TO that drive, all files should be assigned UID 99. This is a "magic ID" because it makes it appear as if it is owned by any account that looks at the file.

Also you can set UID 99 in the terminal, with the command:
sudo chown 99 filename
This shows a list of files with the user and group names and permissions.
ls -l
This shows the list with user IDs.
ls -n

So, here are the name and IDs of some files:


I ran chown to change image.png to UID 99 — but notice it still says asomers/UID 501.


But look when logged in as root, it is *actually* UID 99. But you can't see this from your regular account because OS X aliases UID 99 permissions to the logged in user. (The same goes for group GID 99).

To change both user and group to 99 for everything in a folder and its subfolders, use:
sudo chown -R 99:99 /Path/To/Files/*
But do be careful, as you wouldn't want to chown system or other files that should not have permission altered.

QUESTION: If I can ask what codec were the files rendered with originally before you re-did them as DNxHD? I know Adobe dropped support for some codecs in the latest version, and I wonder if that is related somehow.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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