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Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?

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Charlie Essers
Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:03:21 pm

Hi guys,

If you'll indulge me: I've spent most of the day reading everything on here about judder in rendered output and still have some questions.

I'm doing some motion graphics in AE CS4 with still images and text moving horizontally across the screen and projecting it on a 22' screen with a Christie DW6K connected via DVI to a Mac.

Other videos shown on this set up look nice and smooth, but mine has the dreaded jitter & stutter.

Of course, I compared the smooth videos with mine and matched their settings, but the content is so different I'm not sure that was the right thing to do.

So here's my question; since I'm creating this from stills and text rendered entirely in AE what is the "right" or best case settings for output?

Currently I am doing this:
1280 x 720, 23.976, Animation, square pixels -> Final Cut -> Motion JpegA, Medium quality.

1280 x 720p is the native resolution of the projector.

Thanks for any insight you have to offer, guys, and please ask questions if I left out a vital piece of information.
Cheers!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:30:22 pm

[Charlie Essers] "I compared the smooth videos with mine and matched their settings"

Did you also take into account the frame rate of the smooth videos and the subject's horizontal speed in them?




[Charlie Essers] "1280 x 720, 23.976, Animation, square pixels -> Final Cut -> Motion JpegA, Medium quality."

I'd say you could simply render to MJPEG A and use it in FCP if you wanted to, no harm done. FCP can play back MJPEG A in real time. But the frame rate concerns me. Yeah, it's a film frame rate, but it increases the likelihood that you'll get judder. If you can make something like 720p 59.94 for this projection system, I bet things get a lot smoother: your chances of smooth horizontal motion go up by 250%.


By the way -- good lookin' beer you got there.

Judging from the picture, I'd say it's a Porter or a Munchner Dunkel. It doesn't look dark enough to be a Stout or a Schwartzbier, and it's the wrong kind of glass for a Dunkelweizen.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 10, 2010 at 11:05:46 pm

Okay, the glass in your picture also wrong for a Munchner Dunkel, too. So I guess you're holding a Porter.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 13, 2010 at 1:20:25 pm

If you watch a feature film and pay attention to the horizontal motion (especially in a lower-budget movie) you will notice that there's a bit of judder in it. 24fps is not the best frame rate for smooth motion. Experienced cinematographers know how to shoot a sideways pan to avoid excessive amounts of judder and experienced motion graphic artists know how to adjust the speed of their animation to do the same.

A certain level of judder is acceptable, since it's there in everything in that medium anyway. The audience is used to it. You just need to minimize it so that it's not distracting. Usually that's done with a bit of motion blur and/or adjusting the speed of things as Dave said.

- 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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Charlie Essers
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:58:17 pm

Dave,

Thanks for the reply. I responded a day or two ago, but it seems to be stuck in moderation.

First of all, the important thing to note is: that is a homebrewed robust porter. Good eye.

The frame rate for all the clips involved is 23.976 - the others are live action. I've tried rendering out 23.976, 24, 29.97, 59.94, 60 and even changing the animation to move vertically instead of horizontally and I still see the stuttering and jitter.

The projector is connected via DVI @ 1280x720, 60hz.

If there is an ideal speed for motion graphics how to do I find it?

Thanks guys,
Charlie


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 13, 2010 at 4:32:29 pm

[Charlie Essers] "...that is a homebrewed robust porter. "

Ahhh, a fellow home brewer. I like making steam beer myself. No mashing, just extracts & specialty grains. Unfortunately, my wife cringed every time I made a batch for the past several years: "You're going to do WHAT in my brand-new kitchen in our brand-new house?"

Now I make mead. A lot less complicated, still tasty and I get the satisfaction of having made it myself. Now down to business:

As Michael pointed out, low frame rates just aren't compatible with smooth motion. You can't have both. That's why slo-mo photography looks so smooth: they shoot at 1200 frames/sec! And more! Michael also knows his stuff, and he made some excellent recommendations, which you should seriously consider.

If the projector can do 59.94 frames/sec, you could mix the 23.976 and your own 59.94 animations if smoothness is paramount.

But I think you're having a different problem: I'll guess you made your AE animation in a high-quality codec, which is a very good practice indeed. However, your hard drive may not be able to keep up with that high bit rate. I'll wager you see your file playing back in fits & starts. That's a telltale sign.

So to reassure yourself that all is well, here's what you do: take the high-quality, 23.976 animation, and use Quicktime Pro or Adobe Media Encoder to convert it to an H.264 file. H.264 is a low bitrate, good-looking delivery codec, one that's best made in an application OTHER than AE.

Using a viewer like QT player, it ought to play back in real time. Then you make the judgement on what action to take.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Charlie Essers
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 17, 2010 at 6:27:19 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys. I must be rendering incorrectly. If you get a chance, I've uploaded a group of very simple test renders at different frame rates & field settings:
http://wortomatic.com/documents/rendertests/

Every one of them stutters. Can you tell what I'm doing wrong?

Thanks again,
Charlie


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 17, 2010 at 7:40:51 pm

I looked at almost all of 'em -- didn't bother with the interlaced ones because I'd only play them back in a QT viewer. I'll be darned if I could see anything out of the ordinary. They looked like they should look at those frame rates

The only one I had trouble playing back was the one at 59.94. My hard drive couldn't keep up, so it played in fits & starts. Perfectly normal for a single disk drive. However, I will say that when it played back the sections it could play, this was the smoothest of them all. No big revelation there: the frame rate was higher.

I think you're suffering from overly-high expectations of smooth motion. Plus, white-on-black is just about the worst case for any kind of motion. If you want the best chances of smooth motion, go with 59.94.

To paraphrase a guy named Papazian, "Relax! Don't worry! Have a home brew."

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Charlie Essers
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 17, 2010 at 8:55:55 pm

Dave,

Thanks for taking the time to check those tests out. I guess I'm expecting too much from my 2006 MacPro1,1 and ATI Radeon 9800. Through the projector those all look horrifically jittery. For some reason it never occurred to me that the hardware couldn't keep up.

I'll see Charlie P. next month at GABF in Denver and I'll be sure to let him know he is quoted not only in the homebrewing world, but also in the realm of compositing and motion graphics. :)

Cheers,
Charlie


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Another Jitter/Judder Thread - What are the best practices?
on Aug 17, 2010 at 9:30:37 pm

Glad you get to go to Denver. Enjoy one for me. I've got some EXTREMELY hoppy and high-gravity stuff from Avery in Boulder, and I'll enjoy one at home during GABF.

Here's one more thing to try: Motion Blur! Hides a multitude of sins.

It's true: hardware rarely can keep up with high-quality files. If you go 1280x720, I recommend rendering high-quality out of AE, and THEN using the resulting file to make an mp4/h264-type file to deliver. Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze, Apple's Compressor or even QT Pro can do the trick. Any of them will compress better than AE.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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