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Glitchy Audio Waveform

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Dave SlydellGlitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 12, 2015 at 5:47:42 pm

Greetings Creative Cow, perhaps you can help me with this problem that's been driving me crazy...

I'm uploading videos for Youtube that call for audio waveforms, so I'm using the audio waveform effect in After Effects CS6. I'm running Windows 8.1 on an Intel Xeon CPU @ 3.30GHz and 16GB of RAM.

Each video features a different song synced with the waveform. In my composition, I have the waveform created which is linked to a pre-comp containing the audio track. I simply replace the audio within that pre-comp with new audio each time I render out a new video.

The problem is, sometimes the waveform looks great- it's smooth and flows with the music nicely. Other times it is jarring- the waveform's length expands suddenly and at seemingly random times. For example- in a relatively quiet intro to a song, the waveform's length will expand for sometimes only 1 frame. There is no smooth transition from the waveform base to the maximum length, just a sudden pop.

When the videos render out this way, the waveform appears glitchy, with sudden movements that seemingly don't correspond with the audio.

My first thought is that this has to do with the quality of the audio track. The tracks I'm using are MP3, and some work fine, but others result in a waveform like I described above. I tried converting the audio to .wav but that didn't help. Is the waveform's glitchy appearance simply due to the audio's quality? The end result doesn't seem to be correlated to the track's kbps, since a 128kbps song may generate a nice waveform, but then a 320kbps song may not, and vice versa.

Any guidance on this issue would be greatly appreciated.


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 12, 2015 at 9:21:06 pm

Have you looked at those audio tracks in an audio editor? Perhaps there are things happening in the track that you're not hearing, but you'd see in Audition.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Dave SlydellRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:42:15 pm

I have looked at the audio in Audition and the waveforms are consistent with the sound... nothing seems odd there.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:20:47 pm

If you're using compressed auio like an mp3 in AE, don't -- AE behaves strangely when dealing with compressed audio if you render it out.

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


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Dave SlydellRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:34:17 pm
Last Edited By Dave Slydell on Jun 13, 2015 at 6:24:21 pm

I'm rendering h.264 currently, is there a better codec to use when rendering audio that perhaps won't cause these glitches? Finding uncompressed royalty free music I can put on Youtube is going to be extremely difficult.

edit- Also worth noting- when I generate a RAM preview, the waveforms are completely off. Different from the final render.


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Dave SlydellRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 13, 2015 at 10:43:45 pm
Last Edited By Dave Slydell on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:08:02 pm

Ok the plot thickens. When I view the pre-comp containing the audio waveform by itself and generate a RAM preview, the waveform looks perfect. I even rendered out just that pre-comp and it looks the way I want. So why would my main comp containing this waveform pre-comp not generate the same quality waveform?

Edit- I rendered the audio waveform pre-comp again to see if it would generate a good waveform like the first time, and it didn't. Now I am totally stumped.


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:13:24 pm

Clear your caches and whatnot.

Also, what version of CS6 are you running? Like, what's the version number?

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Dave SlydellRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 17, 2015 at 3:19:03 pm
Last Edited By Dave Slydell on Jun 17, 2015 at 3:23:34 pm

Version 11.0.4.2.

I seemed to have fixed the problem by rendering the comp in 60FPS, but I also cleared the caches, so I'm not sure which one directly fixed the issue. I've decided to render the videos in 60FPS now since Youtube supports it and I'll also clear the caches each time before a render. The cause of this is still foggy to me.

Just so I can have a better overall understanding, what benefit does clearing the cache have in situations like this?


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Glitchy Audio Waveform
by on Jun 17, 2015 at 3:49:46 pm

That's weird. Glad you got it fixed. :)

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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