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Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?

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Michael Neel
Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 20, 2010 at 7:47:50 pm

Hi guys

I am working on an animation project in After Effects. I am using After Effects CS4, 9.0.2.42

Here are the after FX specs for our compositions:

1920x1080
Square pixels
24FPS

I would like to export the compositions to be used in FCP. We're not sure what the final format will be, since the project is not sold yet. I doubt we would go to film, although there is a slim possibility. More likely would be SD DVD and Blu Ray, or possibly for broadcast on TV.

We did some exports from After Effects using the Quicktime Format and Format Options->Compression Format->None and FCP didn't like them at all. Our FCP sequence settings matched our AFX files but FCP had a hard time with any fine cutting. We would render files and those seemed to play OK but as soon as we tried to cut them FCP slowed down...way down, to the point where it was very difficult to work. Even if we chose a compressor from the sequence settings (i.e. uncompressed 10 bit or 8 bit, MPEG 4, Apple Intermediate Codec) the same thing happened.

Do I need these huge uncompressed files? Seems like a big pain the butt. So what settings would you recommend for Format and Compression? From reading around the forums, my best guess is that Apple Uncompressed 10 bit 1920x1080 or Animation might work for Compression, if in fact Quicktime is the way to go for Format. But it's just a guess.

I realize that I might be re-asking a question from other places on the forum, but I want to be sure that I'm going down the right path.

Thanks guys

Computer Specs:

Mac Pro
OSX Version 10.6.3
2.66 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
8GB 1066 MHz DDR3

FCP 7.0.2
BlackMagic MultiBridge Pro


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 20, 2010 at 8:21:11 pm

The animation codec is old dead meat. You should be using ProRes 4444, which was designed from the ground up as the modern replacement for its huge and much clunkier predecessor.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Michael Neel
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 20, 2010 at 8:26:09 pm

Great! Thanks for the quick response David.

BTW, Up In The Air looked great. Nice work.


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Al Williamson
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on Aug 19, 2010 at 1:32:47 pm

I am in a similar situation than Michael except my format is DVCPro 50. I exported my sequence from FCP 7 as DVCPro 50 and used it in AE (CS4) and upon rendering back out a DVCPro 50 codec, the results came out soft and bleached out in FCP. So I rendered the same project out as Apple ProRes 4444 and while it looked a bit better, it still was soft. To further my tests, I exported the sequence out as ProRes 4444 and used that in my AE timeline and rendered it out as ProRes 4444 but it too came out soft and bleached out in Final Cut.

Any suggestions?

BTW, I recently did a project where I was working with DVCPro HD 720p in AE and used ProRes 4444 as my codec and those results came out looking stellar.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 20, 2010 at 9:02:37 pm

[Michael Neel] "I would like to export the compositions to be used in FCP.... Even if we chose a compressor from the sequence settings (i.e. uncompressed 10 bit or 8 bit, MPEG 4, Apple Intermediate Codec) the same thing happened. "

First AE lesson: DON'T EXPORT! Render using the Render Queue. Exporting is for weenies and FCP users, who have little choice in the matter while in FCP.

Next AE lesson: you're usually best off rendering in the codec in which you'll edit in FCP. Typically that means ProRes 422, reserving ProRes 4444 for AE work intended to have an alpha channel.

Final AE lesson: if you don't have AE installed on the same machine with FCP, you won't access to those ProRes codecs, and you'll have to use either The Animation or PNG codecs.
Yes, I mean a PNG codec and not a PNG sequence: go look at the codecs you get in QT Pro.

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


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Michael Neel
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 20, 2010 at 9:11:52 pm

Hi Dave

My mistake in terminology - yes, I am using the Render Queue. No exporting. No weenies here :)

FCP and AE are installed on the same computer. FCP has ProRes 4444, 422, 422 (LT), 422 (HQ) and 422 (Proxy)

Thanks for responding


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Tom Brooks
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 21, 2010 at 2:06:31 pm

[Michael Neel] "Even if we chose a compressor from the sequence settings (i.e. uncompressed 10 bit or 8 bit, MPEG 4, Apple Intermediate Codec) the same thing happened. "

That should not happen. If your sequence is 10-bit UC and you render out AE to the same, it should play with no problem in the FC timeline. Are you getting colored render bars over the timeline with these clips? Make a careful check of your AE settings, especially frame rate, to make sure it matches your sequence. I love ProRes, although I haven't had a chance to use 4444 with alpha as yet.


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Michael Neel
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 21, 2010 at 4:03:26 pm

Hi Tom

The good news: we rendered our files from AE using the ProRes 4444 w/ alpha and it worked beautifully! We matched our AE and FCP settings and the editing was smooth as butter. The footage looks great and is easy to use in FCP.

To answer your comment, I was rendering from AE without any Compression (as in it was set to None) and this was causing a huge problem. I don't know if I was clear in my description - the compressor I was referring to was in the FCP sequence settings, not our AE settings. The guy in our film lab said that he would need uncompressed files, which I think I took too literally! :)

Thanks to everyone who responded. One of the things I love about filmmaking is that I have to learn new programs, or get better at ones I already use, and Creative Cow Forums is a gold mine. This site has saved me a lot of frustration and expanded my knowledge of a wide variety of programs.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 21, 2010 at 4:12:04 pm

[Michael Neel] "The guy in our film lab said that he would need uncompressed files, which I think I took too literally! :) "

I'd say that's true: people have done film-outs of footage shot in 24p on a DV camera.

And if you really need to placate the film guy, there's nothing that says you can't fulfill the request once the edit's done & locked.

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


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 21, 2010 at 9:33:26 pm

[Michael Neel] "The good news: we rendered our files from AE using the ProRes 4444 w/ alpha and it worked beautifully! We matched our AE and FCP settings and the editing was smooth as butter. The footage looks great and is easy to use in FCP. "

Michael,

Now you know why my picture is up top and why Dave LaRonde has many more billable hours than I do.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Michael Neel
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 21, 2010 at 9:41:49 pm

[David Roth Weiss]"Michael,

Now you know why my picture is up top and why Dave LaRonde has many more billable hours than I do."


:)

Thanks again guys, you rock.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Exporting from After FX to FCP - best format?
on May 24, 2010 at 3:09:30 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "...why Dave LaRonde has many more billable hours than I do. "

You give me too much credit, sir.

I am but a humble promotion producer at a Midwestern middle-market network affiliate: no billable hours for me, I'm on the payroll.

Furthermore, I wear many hats during the course of a day, whereas you can specialize, learning the ins and outs of your equipment and software. You'd blow me out of the water in the edit suite.

The little I know, I try to share.

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


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