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Victoria Murphy
Pixel Aspect Ratio Dilemma
on Feb 7, 2010 at 3:52:29 am

I am working in AE CS3 on a project the video for which is NTSC DV. For the comps I set the preset to NTSC DV; width 720, height 480; pixel aspect ratio to D1/DV NTSC (.9).

In a comp I created a shape layer on which I created a rectangle the size of which is 720 x 480. But instead of it matching the dimension of the comp—which is what I want, it is wider. I expect this has to do with PAR. I did some digging for articles about PAR so I might figure out what is going on (I read two “Tips N Tricks” by Chris and Trish Meyers published by Artbeats which was very helpful; I haven’t read Rick Gerard’s “Dr. Strange Pixel” yet, I guess that is next), but I still need help.

I have 2.5 questions:

1) What is going on? Why do the dimensions of the shape layer not match the dimension of the video?
2) Does it matter? The project will be rendered in NTSC DV. (Before its final output I may well import it to Final Cut to do more work on it.) I don’t want any surprises down the road, i.e., that I not get the effect I think I am creating. (I am going to be skewing the rectangle 45 degrees, parenting it and a beam [also skewed at a 45 degree angle and placed at the left edge of the rectangle] to a null object which I will move back and forth across the screen, revealing and hiding video.)
2 a. Is there a way to view the project on my external NTSC monitor as I work on it in AE? (I am set up to do that with Final Cut.)

As ever,
Victoria
(I always appreciate the feedback I get from this forum. BTW, I’m located in Brooklyn, NY and would like to find someone local [I guess] that could tutor me from time to time on this videodance project. If you know someone in my ‘hood and that might be interested in working with someone who is not a digital whiz [my background is in modern dance], let me know.)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Pixel Aspect Ratio Dilemma
on Feb 8, 2010 at 3:24:22 pm

[Victoria Murphy] "In a comp I created a shape layer on which I created a rectangle the size of which is 720 x 480. But instead of it matching the dimension of the comp—which is what I want, it is wider. I expect this has to do with PAR."

There's a much easier way to make a comp-sized rectangular object -- make a new solid. On a Mac, the keyboard shortcut is Command-y, so I guess it would be Control-y on a Windows box. The dialog panel that pops up should default to "make comp size"; if it doesn't, just click on the selection.

I don't know if DV is such a good choice in FCP, even if you have DV footage. The DV codec is just God-awful for rendering graphics: they end up looking horrible. I'd choose something more graphics-friendly, like ProRes.

If you're new to AE and you're just trying to do a couple of things for a project, I have bad news: AE isn't the application you want. Try Motion. You simply have to learn too many basics in AE before you can make it work in your favor... and then AE blows the doors off Motion.

If you haven't been there already, go to the videocopilot web site and look at the AE Basic Training.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Victoria Murphy
Re: Pixel Aspect Ratio Dilemma
on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:26:18 am

Thanks, Dave.

Re your advice about not working in DV because its codec is so bad, I'm confused. In AE, I'm making a comp that has layers of video combined with some masks and beams that wipe across the screen to create a look that I want. Once I finish the sequence, I expect I will render a QT movie, import it to FCP and incorporate it into my project. Since I am mixing video and motion graphics, can I still use a codec other than DV?

Victoria



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Pixel Aspect Ratio Dilemma
on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:31:19 am

When footage in certain codecs are put into an FCP edit timeline, they have to be rendered. And when FCP renders, it does so in the codec of the edit timeline.

So you can put carefully-crafted, animation-codec AE animations into an FCP edit timeline set for DV, and what is FCP going to do? It'll render the AE stuff as DV, which is just wrong on so many levels. However, if you put it into a nice ProRes FCP edit timeline, it will still have to render, but in ProRes... which treats video much more gently.


[Victoria Murphy] "Since I am mixing video and motion graphics, can I still use a codec other than DV? "

Yup. I recommend duplicating the edit timeline, changing the duplicate's codec to ProRes, adding the AE stuff and if you have to render everything, so be it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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