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Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth

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Philippe Gariepy
Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 5:54:28 pm

Hello all,

I will be editing a project later this week in Final Cut Pro that will have to go back and forth a lot between FCP and After Effects. I'm not the one who will be doing the effects, so ideally, I would need to be able to send something by mail quickly to the AE guy so we can work faster. I know next to nothing about After Effect, so sorry if some of my questions don't make any sense, I'm just trying to figure out in advance the best workflow possible.

First question : I know that the easiest way to do it would be with Automatic Duck and XML files. I never used it, so I'm not sure how it's working. Do both of us need it or only the AE guy? Or is there an easier way to do this kind of thing? A free way even, maybe?

Second question : the project will be shot on RED, 2K, compressed in Apple Pro Res for the offline. I'm sure the AE guy will want to work directly on the R3D files with the highest resolution possible. Would it be possible for me to edit with the ProRes files while he does the effects on the R3D, and for us to go back and forth without too much problem, or would I need to online everything every time I need to send something his way?

I realize this may sound confused (English is not my first language), but if someone could answer my questions, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 6:59:13 pm

Two questions:
Is your After Effects artist on a Mac or a Windows Machine?
What Version of After Effects will be used? The latest, AE CS5 has greatly improved support for Red footage.

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


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Philippe Gariepy
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 7:05:23 pm

It's going to be on a Mac, and I'm pretty sure with CS5.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:06:12 pm

[Philippe Gariepy] "I'm pretty sure with CS5."

I hope so. Send your AE guy a copy of an r3d file to check both compatibility and color space. Have your AE guy ask on the forums about rendering RED files. I think AE can render r3d, but I don't know it for a fact.




[Philippe Gariepy] "Would it be possible for me to edit with the ProRes files while he does the effects on the R3D, and for us to go back and forth without too much problem, or would I need to online everything every time I need to send something his way?."

It is never a good idea to edit in After Effects. So the closer you are to picture lock when you send a clip, the better it will be. You will need to use your judgement.




[Philippe Gariepy] "I know that the easiest way to do it would be with Automatic Duck and XML files. I never used it, so I'm not sure how it's working. Do both of us need it or only the AE guy?"

The only good way to work with AE, FCP and Automatic Duck is on THE SAME MACHINE. That won't be possible.
You both need Automatic Duck, which is easy to use. The Duck will remember your FCP in and out points, which is great. You need to maintain all file path information, or The Duck will lose track of the clips. You may have to create FCP projects just for the AE guy, containing RED (not Prores) clips stored in a special capture scratch on a portable hard drive.

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


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Philippe Gariepy
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:34:10 pm

"It is never a good idea to edit in After Effects. So the closer you are to picture lock when you send a clip, the better it will be. You will need to use your judgement."

There will be no editing in After Effects, just compositing, but I suspect the director to not know exactly what he's going to do in post, so he'll probably make constant modifications in the editing room as the effects get made at the same time. I know it's probably far from the best way to work, but... well : directors...

"You need to maintain all file path information, or The Duck will lose track of the clips. You may have to create FCP projects just for the AE guy, containing RED (not Prores) clips stored in a special capture scratch on a portable hard drive."

The AE guy will have all the original clips, as well as the ProRes, on an external drive. If we just don't switch them around, it's going to be alright, I guess?

And I'm not sure what you mean about that special FCP project just for him with all the RED files in a capture scratch. Since FCP can't edit RED footage, how would I do this?

"The only good way to work with AE, FCP and Automatic Duck is on THE SAME MACHINE. That won't be possible".

Exactly. That won't be possible. What are the problems that could arise from this? Will we lose our in/out points, the cuts will move, etc.?

But since everyone seems to agree that the Duck is the best tool out there for this kind of workflow, how can't it be safe for the editor and the animator to not work on the same machine? I'm pretty sure that it's most common for editors to not do their own effects, so what am I missing here? Is it just that most people, when they have effects to work with, go with Premiere instantly?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:54:53 pm

Will the FCP guy be working on just selected shots, or color grading the entire project, for example?






[Philippe Gariepy] " suspect the director to not know exactly what he's going to do in post, so he'll probably make constant modifications in the editing room as the effects get made at the same time. I know it's probably far from the best way to work, but... well : directors..."

As long as the director understands phrases like "this means additional charges" and "this will cause a delay", I don't see any problem. If he doesn't he'll have make up his mind and live with the decision.



[Philippe Gariepy] "The AE guy will have all the original clips, as well as the ProRes, on an external drive. If we just don't switch them around, it's going to be alright, I guess?"

Yes, I think that will work fine. I wish I knew more about working with RED.

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


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marcel ooms
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jan 26, 2011 at 4:03:11 pm

I've got some kind of the same question. What if the edit is done on mac (final cut pro) and the after effects on windows. Is the best way just to export the files (I heard something about "black magic" codecs to be the best to switch between mac/pc, or is uncompressed the best?).

and the export out of ae, should it be the same codec?

thanx in advance


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Jan 26, 2011 at 4:34:01 pm

You're probably not going to like this suggestion, but I cut on FCP at work, and occasionally do AE work on a Windows box at home, so I know it works.

Duplicate the FCP edit timeline. Change the duplicate's codec to ProRes HQ. Yes, ProRes HQ -- more on that later. Export a self-contained movie.
Make sure you have QT Pro for Windows (at least ver. 7.6.8). Import the footage into AE. When the work is completed, render a PNG image sequence (or sequences), remembering that a sequence can contain a finite number of images in AE. Import the sequence(s) into FCP.

The file sizes will be astoundingly huge; there's no way around it. But you will lose NO image quality. Zip. Zero.

So why ProRes HQ? Most of the time it's overkill, but Apple chose not to include ProRes 422 as a codec non-FCP machines can use. Thus, you have a choice: ProRes HQ, or ProRes LT. I chose HQ.

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


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Rossina Bossio
Re: Final Cut Pro --> After Effects back and forth
on Mar 24, 2011 at 12:07:27 pm

Hi Dave.
I am working on a project that requires bringing parts of a FCP sequence to AE 6.5 and then back to FCP. I've been editing in ProRes 422 HQ the whole time, so I didn't need to duplicate the sequence in order to export a self-contained movie. I was able to open the parts of the FCP sequence I needed on AE and work on them. And when I export from AE, the result seems ok (except it's a bit more contrasted, dunno why).

However, when I'm working on AE, everytime I click and drag the Current Time Indicator or the nodes of a mask (and the entire mask), the video in the Comp window appears all weird (see images bellow), and I can't see very well what I'm doing with my masks.




-sorry for the crappy snapshots, still haven't figured out how to take a screen shot on a Mac


Do you know why this happens? Is there a way to correct it? Should I worry about my output videos if I'm having this problem during the editing process in AE?

Btw, this doesn't happen when I open in AE a file that has another codec, like for instance MOV H.264.


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