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After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film

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Joel Dalls
After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:46:33 pm

Hi, I am making a 2 hour documentary film and using After Effects CC on a WIN/7 PC for most of the effects which will be imported into Premiere Pro CC.

I know I could use dynamic link, but due to the large number of effects, I would like to pre-render digital intermediates and import into PP.

Since I am on a PC, I do not have ProRes available as an option.

What would be the best file format and settings to use?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


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mathew fuller
Re: After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:40:57 pm

Perhaps .mov in Black Magic 10bit.

http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/

BTW you will most likely get 5 or 6 different opinions on this question.

~ M

My Work:
http://www.morecompletefx.com


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Stephen Norrington
Re: After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:43:59 pm

Hi Joel,

I, too, am handling a VFX heavy feature film on Premiere Pro and I've found it most efficient to create custom low-rez edit media first, use that for the cut then conform the final manually after the fact.

It may sound a bit old-school but my experience with all the various linking options of the Adobe suite has been less than stellar. Lacking a backroom crew to wrangle all the problems, I've successfully worked around by going super-simple. The time taken with edit media prep and conform is way less than the time taken to wrangle a full-rez import>edit>output pipeline.

My machine is i7 24gb Win 7 + powerful graphics card. The movie is 4.5k 2.09:1 format (4500px x 2148px - 4k 2.35:1 oversized to allow for post-repo and filter artifacts around the edges) - here's my workflow:

- Place all the available material for each scene in an After Effects project that has previously been set up as a template to overlay a frame counter (numbers effect) start to finish.

- Render out 1k edit media (1000px x 477px 2.09:1) in Quicktime H.264 format (Spatial Quality 75) and use that to cut with.

- When the scene is locked, manually conform a master for delivery-rendering by adding a copy of the locked 1k cut (scaled up) to a copy of the After Effects 4.5k project and eyematching each edit.

Old school, for sure :-) It avoids "The Attack Of The Time Vampires" ie: Premiere Pro stuttering on the 4.5k material, metadata, Adobe Bridge and Dynamic Link etc. For me, working alone, this method makes things go a lot faster in the long run. Perhaps it will also have some merit for your task.

Cheers,
Stephen Norrington

Artproject Independent Production


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Joel Dalls
Re: After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:01:38 pm

Thanks guys.

Stephen, your suggestion is - by coincidence - basically the conclusion I also came to (although yours is more thought out).

Up to now, I too have been rendering H 264 placeholder efx files, with the same idea of coming back at the end of the edit and replacing those with the masters for final output.

Mine is a documentary, so I have also been importing stand alone, Premiere project files where I have edited the interview clips into the master project file. Probably stupid -- as obviously I can do those edits and nest them in the master project file, but for organizational purposes I like keeping those interviews edits in completely separate files ... mainly because on each one I have had to do heavy Audition noise reduction.

Or would you handle the interview clips differently?


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Stephen Norrington
Re: After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:25:27 pm

Hi Joel,

Not sure I have a sensible suggestion for how you might handle your interview clips - my project is 99% VFX so the interplay of sound and picture is entirely constructed after the fact - with interview material I can see how you would want to keep (cleaned-up) sound and picture together as much as possible.

I'll offer more of an overview: I've found that spending a bunch of time at the beginning creating acceptable edit media (comped VFX renders, cleaned-up sound files, down-rezzed pixel dimensions, compressed formats etc.) is far more efficient (for a one man operation) than employing all the "time-saving" bells and whistles that are provided by the Adobe suites.

Once I have my full-rez material represented by acceptable edit media I never go back to the full-rez until the very last step before delivery. At that stage there is also some time required to do the manual eyematch but it's far less and far cleaner that doing it on the fly, with buggy machine help, scene by scene.

Also, the workflow I describe makes it easier to work around Adobe's lack of backwards compatibility because there's no project data interchange between the AE and PrPro steps ie: the intermediate file formats are just sound and footage, not project data thus not hindered by gotchas.

Of course, when I conform my final at the end I lay my sound up against it and it all fits perfectly. This is a legacy approach stemming from my years as a narrative film editor using actual 35mm film :-0 - so it may not be as applicable to your documentary task.

Summary: I've found the simple direct route is always faster that the complex pipeline despite the simple route feeling more laborious. The complex route feels less laborious because it has loads of attention-demanding steps and junctures but, in my experience, ends up taking longer and being less reliable.

Cheers,
Stephen Norrington

Artproject Independent Production


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Joel Dalls
Re: After Effects file format for import into Premiere Pro on a full length feature film
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:50:45 pm

I certainly agree. Massive amounts of video data require simple workflows that are 100% reliable.

It makes my head hurt to work otherwise...

Thx


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