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Windows Media or what?

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Joseph Herman
Windows Media or what?
on Feb 22, 2008 at 8:38:03 pm

Hi there,

I am making an animated piece in After Effects that I am creating at HD (1920 X 1080) resolution at 24 fps. In addition, I am editing it together in Premiere Pro 2.0. I use Windows XP.

At first, I thought I would render out to Quicktime from After Effects using the Animation codec (lossless compression) and bring them into Premiere to edit them. Despite the codec, the files were still quite large and cumbersome to deal with. Adobe Premiere can't quite handle it and plays the QTs poorly.

I was thinking of trying the H.264 codec instead, but had run into issues a while ago when making H.264. In particular, the videos looked washed out. In addition, the movies almost always seemed to lose sync between picture and sound when playing them through the Quicktime player.

Recently I exported what I had built so far using the Animation Codec movs out of Premiere as Windows Media (wmv and was very impressed with the quality which seemed excellent. In addition the picture was not washed out as H.264 was and the playback was synced perfectly. The file size was also nicely compact.

I then thought that perhaps I could render the video from After Effects as Windows Media, edit them with Premiere and when all editing was finished, go back and re-render everything with the Quicktime Animation Codec and replace the WMVs in order to maintain the best possible quality.

So I tried rendering to WMV from After Effects and again the quality was excellent, and the file size was tiny! In fact, I could hardly distinguish the quality from the Quicktime Animation Codec. I found this very surprising.

This has led me to reconsider my thinking. Perhaps, if I could learn what the optimal settings are to create a wmv file, I can switch over and keep the whole thing within WMV, without needing to use Quicktime at all.

Now this has led me to a few questions which I am hoping can be answered here on this forum:

- Is WMV a good format, not only for delivery but for editing within Adobe Premiere Pro? (i have 2.0, although I would consider getting CS3).

- Assuming that it is good to edit with, what are the optimal settings to ensure quality source for animation? I noticed there are some options such as Quality VBR with a picture quality slider that can go up to 100. There is also an option for CBR with a bitrate amount as well as a quality amount. Which one would you suggest using?

- There was also a tab for a setting called "Audiences" that had a radio button for "compressed" and "uncompressed". Does anyone know what that does?

- Can anyone else share any insights as to what is a good way to get high quality cgi content into Premiere to edit with. Perhaps there are some compression approaches I am unaware of.

Thank you very much for your help.

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Joseph Herman
Re: Windows Media or what?
on Feb 23, 2008 at 12:31:41 am

Just wanted to update this post:

I brought in a wmv into Premiere that was rendered from AE with CBR bitrate 10 and quality 100. Unfortunately, though it looked great, it really slowed down playback in Premiere, unacceptably so. I suppose I might go back to Animation codec, unless anyone can suggest a fix to getting wmvs to playback faster in Premiere?

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Daniel Low
Re: Windows Media or what?
on Feb 23, 2008 at 5:41:41 pm

There are a few good options out there for you. This site is a great place to find out about suitable codecs:

Windows Media is best suited as a delivery codec, (as is H.264), not an intermediate like Animation.

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