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After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence

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Doug Normington
After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:15:38 pm

Hi,

New to High Def. Client is editing in Final Cut with the Sequence matching his footage from his XDCam 1140x1080 Field dom Upper XDCam 1080i60...

I made his graphics 1920x1080 square pixels 29.97. I have video in windows moving across the screen horozontally. The horozontally moving video frames are all jittery. Tried progressive render. Tried field render. Tried slowing down the motion. Still looks jittery.

After Effects V8 does not have a preset for XDCam...


Any Clue?

Thank you in advance.

Doug


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:27:27 pm

[Doug Normington] "Client is editing in Final Cut with the Sequence matching his footage from his XDCam 1140x1080 Field dom Upper XDCam 1080i60...The horozontally moving video frames are all jittery.... After Effects V8 does not have a preset for XDCam... "

Oh, where to begin? So many issues here....

This is an FCP issue, but when you're using XDCam footage, you should at the VERY LEAST work in a ProRes edit timeline. If the timeline's longer than 30 minutes, you should transcode the footage to ProRes 422 BEFORE editing. That's the first BIG issue.

Now, a bunch of questions that will help diagnose other issues:
What's the codec of the video footage you imported into AE?
Does your AE animation look okay when you RAM Preview?
What codec did you use to render out of AE?

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


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Doug Normington
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:02:17 pm

Hi, Thank you for your response.

1. The footage I imported into After EFX was XDCAM codec 1440_1080 16:9 -- 1
field dominance UPPER XDCAM 1080i60

2. The ram preview looked fine on the computer monitor... BUT... I have a Matrox MXO2 and AfterEffects can play out previews through that to a monitor. the MXO2 output looked jittery...

3. When I rendered out of After Effects I used h.264 I also used a lossless codec ANIMATION.

4. Also... Whenever I tried to look at my rendered animations in quicktime pro they would only play the first 5-8 seconds and then hangup. They will play through in Final Cut but again they look jittery.

Doug

Doug Normington
NORMCO Multi-Media, Inc.
(608) 824-0999 Office
(608) 345-7579 Cel


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:22:32 pm

The jittering sounds like a field order issue.

In FCP, they call it field dominance, and that's the incorrect term: you'd think they'd get it right. Oh, well.

Here's the "can't go wrong" way to deal with 1080i footage: in AE's Interpret Footage settings, set the field order to upper field first, which you've done. When you put the comp in AE's Render Queue using either "add to render queue" or "make movie" -- they both do the same thing -- open up the Render Settings and set the field order for upper field first. Render away.

You'll want to double-check with the client that the footage was indeed shot as 1080i and not 1080p -- progressive-scan requires that you interpret footage and render with field order set to None.

You were correct to render in both Animation and H.264. You give the Animation footage to the client, and you keep the H.264 for yourself to check motion. Animation-codec footage rarely plays back smoothly because of the high bit rate. H.264 is a non-editing codec for FCP, but since it has a low bit rate, you can play it back on YOUR machine in real time.

Since you run AE8, I'm surprised you're not encountering AE weirdness induced by XDCam footage. Here's why:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, AVCHD, mp4, mts, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.

I'm a Mac guy, so I like to convert to Quicktime movies in the Animation or PNG codecs; both are lossless. I'll use Apple's Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder or Quicktime Pro to do it.

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


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Doug Normington
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:30:00 pm

Hi,

I rendered upper field, lower field, no fields... they all looked bad lower looked the worst.

I still do not have a solution for this.

Does a nwer version of AFX help?

Doug

Doug Normington
NORMCO Multi-Media, Inc.
(608) 824-0999 Office
(608) 345-7579 Cel


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:39:01 pm

Okay, now it's time for a detailed description of what you're seeing. People have different notions of what "jittery" means.

Do you see the motion in fits & starts?
Do you see annoying horizontal lines, as if half the picture's out of sync with the other half?
Are you seeing something different?

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


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Doug Normington
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:43:07 pm

1. No fits and starts
2. No horo lines

It really looks like frame order but as I described earlier I have rendered it in all flavors and none of them look good. I checked with the client and he confirmed that he shot XDCAM 1080i60. Field Dominant Upper.

He did the edit in FCP with the sequence as XDCAM 1080i60 1440 - 1080. Now this video is being used to make a SD DVD... So as a work around what if he converted the Final Cut edit to SD something else before he added the graphics... then I could make him a version in SD and he cold at least get the SD DVD out the door without any visible problems... Clients these days want to shoot in HD so they have it for future use but they are releasing content in SD for DVD etc....

Doug

Doug Normington
NORMCO Multi-Media, Inc.
(608) 824-0999 Office
(608) 345-7579 Cel


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:54:54 pm

[Doug Normington] "1. No fits and starts
2. No horo lines

It really looks like frame order but as I described earlier I have rendered it in all flavors and none of them look good. "


Based on your description, I now believe you're encountering the AE weirdness caused by long-gop footage like XDCam.

Please have your client export another copy of the footage, but NOT in the XDCam codec. Have the client export in Quicktime's PNG codec at best quality: it's lossless.

In AE, you can simply use the Replace Footage command, and get to rendering... in the PNG codec. He'll have to render your file in FCP. That's life.

If the guy's foolish enough to ignore transcoding the footage to a proper FCP editing codec, that's what he gets.

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


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Kevin Camp
Re: After Effects looks jittery in XDCam Sequence
on Oct 22, 2010 at 3:48:17 pm

is it possible to post part of the footage so we can see the issue... even if it was just a portion of the frame that showed the problem it would be helpful.

also, if you did want to test if the codec was the issue, but not bug the client, you can convert the footage using a compression utility (like media encoder, compressor, mpeg-streamclip, or even quicktime pro).

if it works, then next time you can have the client provide a different codec.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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