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Adobe Media Encoder chopping time off my videos?

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Alex Sanchez
Adobe Media Encoder chopping time off my videos?
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:54:27 pm

I've been have trouble getting consistent results when encoding video with Adobe Media Encoder, and I feel like I'm missing something fundamental.
This might be a little long, but I've been at this for a few months, and am not sure where to go next, so I'm going to explain everything.

A little background:
At my company, we produce a high-volume of videos that are primarily screen-capture (not live action) about 2-8 minutes in length meant for web viewing. The editing software we use is not the industry-standard for video production; historically, we've used Camtasia studio to edit and render AVIs and Handbrake to render MP4s.

Within the last few months, we've started exploring After Effects to automate the process of adding simple fly-out titles to these videos, which works GREAT! 40+ titles go in a spreadsheet, I run a script which takes the AVIs I've produced from Camtasia and plugs the data into the animation template, and BOOM! 40 plus custom titles ready to go in minutes.
The only problem is, now they're AE comps, and we cant render AE comps with handbrake. That's fine though, I can use adobe media encoder! The only (loose) requirements are that the resulting video be approx. a similar file size and quality to what we've gotten with handbrake in the past. (Note: my boss had attempted to use Adobe products in the past, but given up because he couldn't achieve these results)

I'm not a video professional, so I do a ton of research on the right encoding settings to use: a course on video encoding, reading through these forums, and a bunch of trial and error to try and match the output settings of our current software to what's in AME.

Finally, I get a good preset that seems to have good payoff going from AE comp to MP4. It seems to work well for a bit, then...

The problems begin:

We begin to start working with source video from outside authors, which comes to me in a million different ways, all which I need to do titles for in AE and encode. Usually I get AVIs, sometimes MP4s, sometimes huge file sizes. Everytime I run a batch through, it seems like something goes wrong. With one batch that was large file sized MP4s, after doing titles and running through AME, a bunch of videos randomly had a TON of blank time added to the end of them, making what was a 3 min video, now 5 hours long. The time added was not the same for each one that had errors and some videos were completely fine.
(I know that going MP4 to MP4 is already shady, but didn't really have a choice in this case, we typically work with AVI though).

So after dealing with a bunch of issues like this, my boss was thinking we should take a different approach.

Now, we were thinking to try and mimic our old process which we never had issues with, and trying to match the AME output as much as possible to the AVIs we get from Camtasia. So now, instead of source AVI to AE comp to AME MP4, we're going source AVI to AE comp to AME AVI (with the settings as close to camtasia as possible) to Handbrake MP4.

Now I know this probably sounds convoluted, but bear with me.

This new process has actually worked better than anything else, and I thought everything was good for a few weeks. So then today, I go to output some videos and a bunch of the AVIs out of After Effects are have been cut off in length! For example, a video that was previously 8 minutes is now 19 seconds, just chopped off. There's nothing wrong with the comps in AE, it's just the final AVIs.

So at this point, I have no idea where to even start troubleshooting. I know this is a super long post, but ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I'm 100% self taught on this and no one else at the company here has any more knowledge than I do. (I keep trying to get my boss to contract a media professional to help us out with this, but no luck so far )

Here's some data, with one video that encoded fine, and another that got chopped off.

Source videos (got data using "MediaInfo" app:

AVI #1 before
129 MiB, 7mn 28s
overall bit rate: 2416 kbps
video stream: 823 kbps, 1280x720, 30 fps
Techsmith Screen Capture Codec

AVI #2 before
247 MiB, 11 min 48s
overall bit rate: 2928
1344 kbps 1280x720, 30 fps
Techsmith Screen Capture Codec

Final videos produced with AME

AVI #1 after (this one was produced with the error)
6.4 MiB, 19 seconds
overall bit rate: 2772 kbps
video stream: 1344 kbps 1280x720 30 fps
Techsmith Screen capture codec

AVI #2 after (this one was perfectly fine)
247 MiB. 111 min 48 sec
overall bit rate: 2928
video stream: 1344 kbps 1280x720 30fps
Techsmith screen capture codec

Encoding settings used in Adobe Media Encoder:

Video Codec: Techsmith screen capture codec (used this because that's what camtasia uses)
frame rate: 30
field order: progressive
Aspect: square pixels
depth: 24 bit
keyframe interval: 80
time interpolation: frame sampling

I can also include my computer specs, but we've had errors on multiple types of computers, including a brand new beast we just bought for 3D Modeling visualization.

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Jeff Pulera
Re: Adobe Media Encoder chopping time off my videos?
on Oct 3, 2016 at 6:08:07 pm

Adobe can have some strange issues if the source video uses Variable Frame Rate. It's been years since I've used Camtasia and never had an issue with their footage at the time, but perhaps they updated recently? I see a lot of posts from people using screen cap apps for gameplay and many of those apps are Variable Frame Rate and they are seeing issues with time like you are with Adobe.


Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers

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