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Best HQ render codec?

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Ocean ByrneBest HQ render codec?
by on Apr 25, 2016 at 7:26:38 pm

You'd think, after 20 some years of playing with AE, I would have the rendering part down, but I still feel a lot like I'm stumbling in the dark.

What I have been doing for a while now, is rendering out a:
Quicktime Motion JPEG A at 88 quality,
Then dragging that into Media Encoder and writing it out as a High Bitrate H.264
(thank the Adobe Code Gods you can no longer render directly out of AE that was stupid easy)

I just recently discovered you can drag your Compositions from the AE Library window to AME queue and render directly to H.264 that way, which is kind of cool I guess. (almost as cool as it being a setting in AE.)

Anyways I digress, in lots of cases I like having a HQ close to lossless intermediary version of my movie. But I recently noticed that my blacks are not rendering as black as they look in AE. Attached is a screen grab comparing various versions of the same frame.



Does anyone have a HQ codec they like - that compresses enough to not be enormous, but doesn't crush your video at all, and keeps the same color space / lights and darks you see in the AE preview?

Thanks


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Mike PindaraRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 25, 2016 at 7:39:19 pm

Recently my studio has switched from exporting our "lossless" renders as Quicktime - Animation, which is true lossless but the file sizes end up being quite large, to Quicktime - PNG.

It still has an alpha channel if we need to overlay an animated transition and based on our testing and the motion graphics we usually do, there was no real visible loss of quality between the Animation and PNG.

The file sizes are much smaller than animation so with tons of iterations we didn't overload any space, and from there we would compile the renders in premiere and export a H.264 mp4 as our final deliverable.

I'm no render whiz, but this has helped us keep quality up and save alot of space.


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Walter SoykaRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 27, 2016 at 12:55:25 am

[Mike Pindara] "It still has an alpha channel if we need to overlay an animated transition and based on our testing and the motion graphics we usually do, there was no real visible loss of quality between the Animation and PNG. "

Animation (at 100%) and PNG (at any quality level) are both mathematically lossless for 8bpc projects.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Dave LaRondeRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 25, 2016 at 9:06:34 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Apr 25, 2016 at 9:07:03 pm

In quicktime, I like to use Photo JPEG. If it's something for the ages or an intermediate file, PNG is good. And for an animated lower-third, I'll use Animation.

Animation uses what's called Run Length Encoding, which reports the pixel color and how many consecutive times it appears. Well, with an animated lower third, there's a whole lot of nothing in the upper 2/3 of the screen. In such cases, Animation files can be very compact.

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


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Ocean ByrneRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 26, 2016 at 4:15:40 am

Thanks guys. PNG seems like a good option, it's bigger than my old motion JPG was, but it looks like I expect it to, so that counts for a lot. Oddly, it doesn't seem like the Quality Slider under PNG has any effect on file size (or Quality) but that is okay.


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Mike PindaraRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 26, 2016 at 9:39:36 pm

Also, as a side note.

I use Media Encoder all the time now since i can keep working or do some file management in my project while I'm waiting for the export. I've come accustomed to going to my main comp, (on Mac) Cmd+Alt+M to send the render to AME. In AME, creating a "lossless png" preset to drag ontop of renders saves a ton of time when I have to export a load of overlays or variations or the like. You should get the same result from rendering out of either since the back end of AME uses the AE renderer, so I can't think of why they might be different.

Best of luck!


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Walter SoykaRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 27, 2016 at 12:56:42 am

I like CineForm/MOV quite a lot. It's included in Creative Cloud, it's supported on both platforms natively in Adobe software, and it is comparable in many ways to ProRes.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Chris WrightRe: Best HQ render codec?
by on Apr 27, 2016 at 1:19:48 am

I had to re-read the OP to see that the issue is being brought up because of the rising black level. first off, VLC doesn't have color management and although prores, dnxhd/hr, cineform are all high quality, they are not lossless, they are very high bitrate 10/12 bit codecs.

There are some lossless codecs like png or animation but those are only 8 bit. Unless you're uploading to youtube(which is 8bit), color grading requires 10 bit or higher at 444 chroma sampling. ffv1 or image sequences in color trillions is 16bit, but the sizes are excessively huge.

You need to weigh your final output destination, quality/generation loss against disk requirements/storage space. If you can import quicktime motion jpeg back in and the blacks look ok, then great! just ignore VLC's playback(possible with Nvidia control panel 0-255 16-235.) and instead, install MPC listed below. besides quicktime player should never be used, (security problems/gamma tag issues)

video players:
https://mpc-hc.org/

can work with madVR http://madvr.com/

Calibration products supporting madVR: (sorted alphabetically)

· Argyll CMS
· CalMAN
· dispcalGUI
· HCFR
· LightSpace CMS


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