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Colton LockridgeAdobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 9, 2015 at 5:34:42 am

I've finally hit a wall and decided to reach out to the forums. Any help is going to be appreciated. I'm still new to video, codecs, AE exporting, AME exporting, but I am rather tech savvy and a quick learner. It's a bit of an explanation, but here we go. I have gotten into Time Lapse Photography, and I use After Effects to assemble the actual lapse its, amongst other things (stabilisation/deflickering etc). I used to use AE CS5, but with CC it removed the .h264 codec, and now I am forced to use Adobe Media Encoder to export as .h264 via the link between apps. So my steps are as follows;

Take in RAW.
Import to Lightroom, edit RAW.
Export as sRGB.
Import as sequence in AE.
Interpret footage, adjust framerate to 23.976.
Do adjustments in AE.
Render out via AME/AE link.

My issue is, in Lightroom, they look great, as do the JPEG exports [they're visually identical]. I throw them into AE, and they've become more saturated, the shadows especially (they become almost black black). And rendering out of AME, it's the same result, an over saturated shadows time lapse video.

I have tried;

Exporting out of LR as AdobeRGB 1998. (Most accurate shadow representation, but loss of saturation on everything else)
Exporting out of LR as sRGB. (Most accurate colours, but shadows are deeply saturated)
Exporting out of LR as ProPhoto RGB. (All around flat colour and shadows).
I've tried switching in Project settings of AE from 8bpc, to 16, to 32. I've tried also;

Enabling Blend Colours Using 1.0 Gamma.
Match Legacy AE QuickTime Gamma Adjustments

Changing work spaces from none to;

AdobeRGB 1998.
sRGB IEC61966-21.
Monitor color calibration ICC profile.

I'm at a loss, I can't get the colour or shadows to accurately represent in AE/AME or the .h264 exports. So now this is where I need help. A few things I need answered first;

1.] The colour profiling in After Effects, what should that be set to? Does that only VISUALLY change what I see, and not the actual export?
2.] Blend Colours Using 1.0 Gamma, and Legacy AE QuickTime Gamma Adjustments, on, off? Just a visual change or actual the export is affected too?
3.] Are there better codecs for representing colour other than .h264? I'd like to upload to YouTube, or Vimeo - so size is of /moderate/ importance but not a huge factor.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and hopefully I can get this resolved!


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Colton LockridgeRe: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 9, 2015 at 6:07:07 am
Last Edited By Colton Lockridge on May 9, 2015 at 6:14:26 am

I've also attached two photos, the far left is inside Lightroom, then the two right handed sides are within After Effects, just different JPEG color space exports (sRGB and 1998). They're all labeled. If you note, the shadow detail in the one photo, huge difference. And then the colour difference in the other one. Middle photo on the colours one has purple, but there is none in the other two, and not supposed to be. It's actually some blue. And the greens in the Lightroom/sRGB match, where as the middle 1998 is more faded.

If only I could combine the two!

The results are rather subtle in these again compressed JPEGs but when I look at it (not compressed in a JPEG together) it's actually more drastic of a difference.

shadows.jpg

colours.jpg

Thanks.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 10, 2015 at 4:16:22 pm

What happens if you use Premere Pro rather than AE?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Colton LockridgeRe: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 10, 2015 at 9:44:10 pm

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read through that. Well, do you mean go from AE into Premiere Pro, and export out of that? Or actually assembling the time lapse photo sequence in Premiere?

The main reason that I use AE for assembling the time lapse is because when I don't use my slider, I can stabilise the footage, I have a GBDeflicker plugin I purchased to remove flicker issues (130$) and lastly the CC Time Blend FX plugin that is in there too. I use that (in night sequences) to smoothen northern lights out (just a bit, like 10-15%).

Also, do you happen to know the answers to the project file profiles question above too?

Many thanks,
Colton.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 11, 2015 at 4:53:34 pm

I know this: anything that goes to H.264 will never precisely match the original... and almost everything ends up as h.264 for web viewing.

The reason: crummy color resolution in H.264. As the encode takes place, the codec throws away 3/4 of the color information. No kidding. It's normally good enough to fool the human eye, but when there are subtle gradiations of color as yours, the difference becomes more apparent.

My advice would be to render out of AE in a lossless codec -- Quicktime PNG, Animation or Photo JPEG are giood -- and then use the resulting file to transcode to H.264 for web viewing.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Colton LockridgeRe: Adobe After Effects CC / Media Encoder Dark Exports
by on May 11, 2015 at 10:10:39 pm

So, to my knowledge, I correctly exported them in those three settings you mentioned. They're all dark and saturated too. Will that change once I transcode them?


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