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Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4

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Christopher WaddellGetting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:52:55 am

I've only really just started using after effects in the last few weeks so still learning how to use it. And I am using After Effects CS4 on Windows 7.

I recently had a problem with the .mov files - not being able to import them or save as quicktime movie. It was working fine as I was using it to play around with video I recorded with my new Canon 550D, so think it was because of something I did.

I think I messed it up because I was using after effects to put timelapse videos from photos together, and read quicktime pro was good for doing it so I tried to install it. I then found once I'd installed quicktime, it wasn't quicktime pro so I deleted it. I guess it removed everything to do with it because since then I haven't been able to open/save any .mov files and am wondering how I can get it working again. I've tried installing quiktime again but doesn't seem to have done anything.

I need to try and find the CS4 disc again and will try re-installing but not sure if that'll help. Does anyone know how to get it working again?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:32:16 pm

[Christopher Waddell] "It was working fine as I was using it to play around with video I recorded with my new Canon 550D, so think it was because of something I did. "

Nope. The name of your subject reveals classic Windows-Thinking, that all Quicktime movies are created equal. They're not.
Just like an AVI file, a Quicktime is a media container -- it's a can. What's in the can: dog food? Pepsi? Evaporated milk? Likewise, a QT can contain media files encoded in many different ways. They're called codecs, there are different codecs for different needs, some are good and some are bad.

You can learn the codec of YOUR Quicktime footage by highlighting it in the project window and reading the information about it at the top of the window. Then, since you shot on a DSLR AND you run AE 9, not a newer version, you need to read the following:

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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Christopher WaddellRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:15:31 pm

I re-installed it to see if it might install something I'd removed but it didn't help. I also tried to see if Premiere would open the file but it said the file type was not supported. And I tried to convert it with the Adobe Media Encoder but that wouldn't work either. It seems anything to do with quicktime or the .MOV files I'm trying to use have stopped working with Adobe CS4, but they all worked a few days ago.

I finally managed to find the codec info using VLC player and it is: H264-Mpeg-4 AVC(part 10)(avc1)

I'm not really sure what to do with that though, and can't seem to find a codec or something to download called that? Any idea what I'm supposed to download and where I could find it? I've been trying to sort this out for about 5 hours now and it's really annoying me.

Also will getting that codec allow me to save/render as quicktime files again, as that has disappeared from the list - and from tutorials I've watched lots have said quicktime or H.264 are the best options but I always get errors when trying to save it as H.264


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Dave LaRondeRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:47:46 pm

[Christopher Waddell] "I re-installed it to see if it might install something I'd removed but it didn't help."

Well, duh, of course not: I elaborated on your problem in great detail.





[Christopher Waddell] "I tried to convert it with the Adobe Media Encoder but that wouldn't work either."

What, AME won't let you make Uncompressed AVI's? Since when?

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


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Christopher WaddellRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:03:15 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Well, duh, of course not: I elaborated on your problem in great detail."

I'm just a beginner trying to get some help to fix it. There's no need to be rude. Plus the stock answer sounded like it applied to other file types and not the .mov ones - and it affected the media encoder too so I couldn't use that if I wanted to, so again that wasn't too helpful.

Anyway I managed to sort it out myself: After re-installing it again and running an update directly through After Effects, it allowed the .mov files to be imported again (and saved as quicktime files), and now seems to be working fine in the other programs too. So if anyone else has the same problem I'd recommend trying that first.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:29:42 pm

Yeah, well, good luck: you're going to need it. A good working knowledge of codecs is essential for After Effects success... as are other basics.

Speaking of basics, if you're trying to use AE intuitively or follow some high school kid's AE tutorials on YouTube, you're losing out. You really need to begin at the beginning in AE, and this is an excellent starting point:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

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


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Gary ParkinRe: Getting .MOV files to work again in After Effects CS4
by on Jun 18, 2012 at 11:33:54 am

Hey Chris, did you get this solved?

And Dave, I'm on a Windows 7 platform, using AE 5. My camera exports AVCHD. What do you suggest to convert it and to what format?

Sooner or later I am going to get this down...


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