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Recommended Codecs

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Andreas SizynskiRecommended Codecs
by on Aug 27, 2011 at 6:41:06 pm

Heya, can anyone recommend to me, as a complete codec novice, some codecs that would work well and wouldn't break the bank?

Preferably free ones.

Here's what I would use them for:

Youtube-quality videos (so I don't need the best, most professional stuff) that still look nice (as minimal artifacting and pixelation as possible).

Ideally, the codecs would also prevent a loss in audio quality as well.

I am not going to export my final project from after effects (Premiere Pro instead), but I do plan on exporting various elements as I go along, which is why I ask.

An Artist interested in the past, stuck in the present.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 27, 2011 at 7:26:57 pm

From Premiere you can export h264 and .flv and .f4v, excellent formats for YouTube.
You can also download the free Divx codec.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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ben g ungurenRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 27, 2011 at 9:04:06 pm

A good method, regardless of which codec you use, is to choose a small part of your video and compress that part to see what it looks like. Ideally this will be a section with some camera movement and/or dissolves, as these are elements that can reveal flaws in specific codec settings. Then you can try multiple codecs and settings, and compare. I like to export, say, 30 seconds of a video, compare them side-by-side, then take the final file filesize and do the math to figure out the approximate size of the final video. Once I've settled on the settings, I apply it to the entire video.

Note that it isn't just the codec that makes a difference, but the quality slider for the codec, whether you assign target bitrates, how you compress audio, the frame size and frame rate. These are all things you can play with -- but be sure to keep a record of what you're changing with each one!

One more note: YouTube compresses on its own. If you want youtube or vimeo-specific settings, I suggest you do some searching around. I know Vimeo has a page with suggested compression settings for uploading videos.

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing
http://www.mostlydocumentary.com


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Andreas SizynskiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 27, 2011 at 11:13:56 pm

Interesting. Thank you both for your responses. I have heard the h246 codec isn't the best. But if all I'm going for is youtube quality, I suppose it won't be too detrimental to my film.

An Artist interested in the past, stuck in the present.


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Todd KoprivaRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 2:57:41 am

There's no way of answering questions about "best" codecs without first getting into the details of what _exactly_ you are doing with the output. What settings you use for output are nearly always dictated by delivery specifications---e.g., your client will tell you what they want, the video sharing website will have published specifications, the device that you're intending to use for playback will only accept certain kinds of video.

See these FAQ entries:
FAQ: What is the best format for rendering and exporting from After Effects...
FAQ: What are the best export settings for Premiere Pro?
FAQ: How do I export a movie for YouTube...?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Andreas SizynskiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 3:24:15 am

Fair enough. Is there a way I could grab the h246 codec for free for AE?

An Artist interested in the past, stuck in the present.


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Todd KoprivaRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 3:37:07 am

> Is there a way I could grab the h246 codec for free for AE?


H.264 is an output option in After Effects. You don't need to get anything else.

Follow the third link that I provided above about YouTube export.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Andreas SizynskiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 4:07:24 am

Hey Todd, I have After Effects CS5 and when I click on the 'lossless' option and scroll down my very pitiful list of options, h246 is not listed among them.

An Artist interested in the past, stuck in the present.


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Todd KoprivaRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 4:16:03 am

If you're clicking the triangle next to the word "Lossless", you're just choosing from a set of output module templates. You need to choose a format in the Output Module Settings dialog box.

It seems that you aren't familiar with how to choose export settings. Start here to read about the methods for rendering and exporting from After Effects.

It seems that you've just jumped into the middle trying to use After Effects; that seldom works out very well. I recommend that you take a step back and work your way through the basic learning materials for After Effects.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Andreas SizynskiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 4:37:25 am

hey Todd,
you are correct, I am new to AE, but yes, I had completely forgotten about the Output Module.

An Artist interested in the past, stuck in the present.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 28, 2011 at 8:10:38 am

h264 is a great delivery code. The key is to figure out the best settings for your footage. I have discovered that setting keyframes for every frame gives the best result for clips with a lot of movement and fx.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Andrei Ionut ApopeiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 31, 2011 at 2:32:25 pm

> K-Lite Codec Pack installed (which is free)
> QuickTime
> save AE project and render wiht media encoder (open media encoder > open AE project > h264 with keyframe every (your frame rate) and max. bitrate 5 mb/s (or 5000 kb/s) > 100 quality); also you cand render with audio, without re-render in PremierePro.

Keep in mind, with K-Lite you have 10001 settings. Before using K-lite codecs, I used win7 codecs or something similar + codecs installed by gom player and SplashPro and every time when I try to render something
with audio, the results was full of noise. Now with K-Lite it's piece of cake. :D

Bye,
Andrei

http://rdrs.uaic.ro/andrei.apopei


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Dave LaRondeRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 31, 2011 at 3:11:38 pm

[Andrei Ionut Apopei] "Now with K-Lite it's piece of cake"

I'm glad you're not having K-Lite problems, but you should know this: Todd Kopriva from Adobe has written that you should NEVER use the K-Lite codec pack with AE, and that if you have it, you should uninstall it.

I know you won't do that, but keep that tidbit in mind when AE starts behaving strangely and you need to troubleshoot.

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


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Andrei Ionut ApopeiRe: Recommended Codecs
by on Aug 31, 2011 at 3:25:25 pm

I didn't know about @Todd Kopriva recommendations; at this moment I don't have any problems.

@Todd Kopriva on Jan 3, 2011: K-Lite is poison to post-production software. Seriously. Don't install it. About once a week, while helping someone to troubleshoot a problem, I find that they've installed K-Lite and 1) this is the source of the problem and 2) it is very difficult to remove.

I searched for @Todd Kopriva post which refers to "K-Lite poison" :D, I think the problem was fixed or something like that, I have the full and last version of k-lite codec. Or, probably, the problem appear when is installed on 64bits system (I founded some posts about AE and K-lite codec problems, but only in 64bits system).

@Dave LaRonde Thanks for warning; if I have some problems in the near future with my AE, I can assume that is from k-lite codecs :))

http://rdrs.uaic.ro/andrei.apopei


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