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Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?

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elaine lake
Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 13, 2014 at 1:58:06 am

Hey there!

I've just rendered out my first AE video since upgrading my OS to Maverick and now every time I play the Quicktime file movie, it goes into this weird conversion process and compresses the file. I can see it on my computer but my client cannot see the video on theirs... Not sure how to change the compression settings or what to do... Sorry if this isn't technically an "AE" question but this is the program I'm trying to use right now. Thanks so much for your help in advance.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 13, 2014 at 3:27:39 am

Short answer: use ProRes 4444 with an alpha channel on Mavericks.

Long answer: Apple is deprecating the QuickTime API, which is a cross-platform set of tools that application developers can use for writing media files, in favor of their shiny new technology AV Foundation.

Along with this, Apple is also dropping support for a lot of codecs, some horribly outdated (Cinepak), some still very relevant (Animation, which is the default codec for the Ae lossless preset on Macs, and DNxHD which is the native Avid format). AV Foundation only supports a few codecs directly (MPEG codecs including H.264, ProRes, and camera-original codecs). Unlike QuickTime, it does not currently have a method for third parties to add codecs.

Mavericks still supports QuickTime, but deprecation means that eventually, some version of OS X will not. As the beginning part of this transition, Mavericks runs QT Movie Modernizer on any movie that does not have a native AV Foundation codec. QT Movie Modernizer guesses what the best format to transcode to would be (H.264 or ProRes), and transcodes for you. It's not strictly necessary today -- Mavericks can still run QuickTime Player 7 for these soon-to-be-unsupported codecs -- but eventually, some future release of OS X will not support them, so Mavericks is trying to help you prepare your media for that eventuality.

For clarification: the QuickTime .MOV file format is not going away. QuickTime Player X is not going away.

The QuickTime API that underpins QuickTime Player 7 is going away, so eventually QuickTime Player 7 will no longer run, and eventually, the "legacy" codecs that Apple chooses not to support will be unplayable on Macs without a third-party media player like VLC.

If I may editorialize a little, I understand the need for a modern media framework, but I am highly disappointed in the way Apple is putting QuickTime to pasture, especially in regards to their extremely limited codec support in AV Foundation and their first-party only policy to this point.

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
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 13, 2014 at 4:58:36 am

If I may editorialize a little: I agree entirely with Walter's editorializing.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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Brian Charles
Re: Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 13, 2014 at 3:16:28 pm

[Todd Kopriva] "If I may editorialize a little: I agree entirely with Walter's editorializing."

^this.

Me too.



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elaine lake
Re: Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 14, 2014 at 2:44:07 am

Thank you so much for your answer Walter! I'm not extremely tech savvy (just moderately). How do I use ProRes444 with an alpha channel? Right now I'm converting a movie I rendered out in Quicktime via AE and am transcoding it to ProRes444 in Mpeg Streamclip. Is that the correct workflow? Will my client be able to view this file? Thanks so much again for all your help!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Making Movies with new Quicktime Codec?
on May 15, 2014 at 3:21:53 pm

[elaine lake] "How do I use ProRes444 with an alpha channel? Right now I'm converting a movie I rendered out in Quicktime via AE and am transcoding it to ProRes444 in Mpeg Streamclip. Is that the correct workflow?"

You can render directly to ProRes 4444 on your Mac. I'd suggest making a new output module [link] for this. You can even set it to the default instead of Lossless.

Bonus for ProRes 4444: it supports deeper color than Animation does (up to 12-bit versus Animation's 8-bit).


[elaine lake] "Will my client be able to view this file?"

If they have a recent version of QuickTime, yes, but I generally send H.264 screeners as Animation and ProRes tend to be large files.

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
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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