I've just completed a HD animation and was looking for the best output settings from AE. I went with H.264 directly from the first output module screen, then tweeked the format options to CBR bitrate encoding and the level to 5.1 (these were the only settings I changed) and when I rendered and uploaded to youtube the results were stunning.
Now I'm working on some anamorphic animations that have been sent through to me. I went through the same method as above, but stretched the image to 1024 x 576 (from 720 x 576). Now I see black boarders (top and bottom) on the QT that results and when I upload to YouTube.
So I did a quick test (1 sec), selecting QT from the first level menu in the output module and then changed to H.264 and stretched to 1024 x 576 and the result was fine on YouTube. No black boarder.
Weird thing is, when I try this for the whole comp the same problem results on YouTube. Now, this is where is gets weirder, the QT movie before I upload to YouTube is fine. No black border.
Now, if I pre compose the layers at the top level and then change the comp size to 1920 x 1080, transform the comp to fit and continuously rasterise, then follow the steps I outlined in the first paragraph, the results are stunning. But I have been warned not to do this...
Why are you using AE to make final-delivery-quality H.264 movies AT ALL?
It makes better sense to render a lossless file in a square-pixel comp (don't fool with pixel aspect ratios), and then use Adobe Media Encoder to make the H.264 movie in the horizontal & vertical resolution you need for delivery.
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
Yes. The normal workflow is Lossless -> compress in any lossy format.
I also hate working with aspect ratio's but the new 'pixelratios' in adobe CS5+ suites will give you black bars left/right, when you compress from a HD file to PAL widescreen. And there is NO way to remove it from Encoder.
You will need to render out a PAL widescreen (720x576 with aspect ratio) out for it to compress fullscreen.
This is propably due too the difference in pixelratios.