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AE PNG Alpha to FCP

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Andrew HeckerAE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 3:43:07 am

We handed off a segment of a big project to another editor, to create the Keylight alpha from our green screen footage. Normally I use Animation with Alpha, but he gave us something different. PNG. Instead of anything that functions like an alpha channel, our green screen has an excellent black background in place. I've tried the basics Alpha Straight and the like but I'm getting nothing useful here.


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Walter SoykaRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:38:37 pm

Are you looking at this footage in AE or in your editor?

In AE, if you can change the alpha interpretation, then the file does in fact have an alpha channel. It's possible your compatriot has rendered the chroma key with alpha, but over a black solid. Oops.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Andrew HeckerRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:18:14 pm

I've looked at it from every direction I can imagine, OK I don't know where the hidden stuff is . . .
I don't know how to see the alpha channel independently, or even if it is there.

I need it to key, to alpha in FCP 7.
In everything I look at, I see black: QT, FCP, AE4, Bridge
When I place it over another image in FCP or AE is still see black.


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:27:50 pm

Wait a minute: we thought you were GIVEN an alpha channeled QT for use in AE. Is that not the case?

If you're doing the keying yourself, nothing changes about your procedure when rendering an alpha-channeled QT in the Animation codec. Only the codec itself changes. It's a no-brainer.

So double-check your comp with the Keylight footage in it and make sure you actually HAVE transparency.

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


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Andrew HeckerRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:34:52 pm

I gave him footage (H.264 shot in a Canon camera), chopped up in FCP, of certain long takes and our select segments to key.
He did the work in AE and gave it back to me, to place our scenes over the background I am editing in FCP.
When I place his product over anything in FCP I get no alpha. In PNG, I don't even know if it is a viable alpha containing codec. I've never seen that one work. So that's the first question, is it viable to transport alpha. If it is, how do I know he put an alpha on it? How do I see the alpha channel, or possibly extract it to use the thing? Its not working at all now. I have a couple of hours of totally useless footage of our subject, that was shot on a green background, now on a black background.


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:42:14 pm

The guy screwed up when rendering from AE.

The PNG codec supports alpha channels every bit as well as the Animation codec. If he can pull a key and make a clip in Animation, he can do the same thing with PNG.

Have him double check his AE comps & renders. Something's fishy on his end.

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


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:46:56 pm

The guy screwed up when rendering from AE.

The PNG codec supports alpha channels every bit as well as the Animation codec. If he can pull a key and make a clip in Animation, he can do the same thing with PNG.

Have him double check his renders.

BUT...

Now that I know what you're doing, I'm sort of stunned why you wouldn't want your AE guy to just do the whole shot, foreground AND background. Unless there's an overpowering reason NOT to do it, it will typically look better.

And not having chosen an appropriate background yet is NOT an overpowering reason. It's just myopia.

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


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE PNG Alpha to FCP
by on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:02:46 pm

Actually, PNG is a pretty darned nice codec for this job. Unlike Animation, which is 8-bit, PNG is 10-bit, meaning you can work in 16-bit AE comps and take advantage of the additional color depth.

But if you don't need the additional color depth, you can't beat Animation for making things with large areas of transparency, like animated lower-thirds. The file sizes can be downright compact.

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


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