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FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems

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Jason BachFCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:50:21 pm

I really am racking my head here. I'm new to AE and am discovering that FCP and AE do not really play well together, at least if you're a beginner. I have a sequence that I have exported from FCP by Export->Quicktime. Video only, and as a reference file. I open up AE, import the .mov and drag into a new composition. The .mov/sequence is 1440x1080 16:9 HD. Compressor is DVCPRO 1080i50 and the editing timebase is 25 (dont ask me how THAT happened, as I shot this footage in 24p, dropped right into a new sequence and said yes to FCP hen it asked me to change the sequence settings to match the clip settings - has that happened to anyone?)

I thought I had the correct composition settings in AE, but when the new comp comes up, it is obviously the wrong aspect ratio and everything is squished. I double checked my settings for the comp: I select the preset DVCPRO HD 1080 25. 1440x1080. and it forces the Pixel Aspect Ratio to HDV 1080/DVCPRO HD 720 (1.33). I think to myself, that doesnt sound right, so I change the aspect ratio to: DVCPRO 1080 HD (1.5). THAT changes my preset to Custom.

Either way, I cant get the correct 16:9 aspect ratio in tghis composition no matter what I do.

HELP! What in the world am I doing wrong?


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Dave LaRondeRe: FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:28:12 pm

[Jason Bach] "Compressor is DVCPRO 1080i50 and the editing timebase is 25 (dont ask me how THAT happened, as I shot this footage in 24p..."

Everything else is minor. This frame rate difference isn't.

Go back to the FCP project, and look at the footage in the browser: what does the browser have to say about the frame rate?

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


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Jason BachRe: FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:33:40 pm

I think I have solved my problem (just after I posted, lol). So I double checked my clip settings in the browser, and yes they were 1920x1080 (and yes, I had a brain fart and realized that full HD is in fact 1920x1080 NOT 1440x1080 - sigh). Frame rate was 23.98. However, yes, my sequence had automagically been created to 1440x1080 & 25p. How you ask? B/c my Easy Setup was set to that and when I dragged and dropped the first clip into that timeline, I must have said no. Oh, how you learn the hard way. So I went back and setup some new Easy Setups and set the default to 1920x1080 24p ProRes.

Now, is there any easy way to keep the edits of the clips I made in the first sequence but put them in a new sequence that has the proper settings?


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Dave LaRondeRe: FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 30, 2010 at 2:54:59 pm

[Jason Bach] "Now, is there any easy way to keep the edits of the clips I made in the first sequence but put them in a new sequence that has the proper settings?"

Nope: you need to duplicate the FCP edit timeline for safety's sake, then change the frame rate on the duplicated timeline to 23.98. You'll need to tweak your edit: there's no way around that.

Didn't the fact that you had to render every blessed thing in the original timeline set off an alarm in your brain that something wasn't right?

Another crucial factoid: the maker of your camera may call it 23.98, and FCP may call it 23.98, but the ACTUAL NTSC film frame rate is 23.976. When you import your revised footage, highlight it in the AE project window, and look at the frame rate: it'll be 23.976. Thus, you have to work in a 23.976 AE comp, and you have to render -- use the AE Render Queue, NEVER export unless you have no other choice -- at 23.976.

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


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Jason BachRe: FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 30, 2010 at 3:22:40 pm

Thanks for the info, I'll remember that when I setup my AE comp settings. And it was weird, no alarms went off in my head b/c FCP wasn't making me render any of the clips I was dropping into that timeline, or I would have noticed right away that something was wrong. That's why I was so surprised when I went and checked the sequence settings and saw that it didnt match my clip settings. argh.

This just teaches me to be ultra paranoid now about my sequence settings and to double check everything before I proceed.

Another question - best way to bring into AE from FCP? export as reference .mov using current settings (assuming I'm editing in ProRes) with no audio? or export XML? and then what about back into FCP? You said use the Render queue (Animation codec?). Then do I just reimport that .mov into FCP and sync with the old video footage?


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Dave LaRondeRe: FCP to After Effects - Composition settings/problems
by on Apr 30, 2010 at 3:53:24 pm

For your purposes, you might look into getting a software snippet from Popcorn Island (a mere google away) called FCP2AE. It's free. With it, you can export FCP edit timelines and sue them as AE comps.

The gold standard for this FCP-AE workflow is Automatic Duck: vastly superior to FCP2AE in the wider variety of stuff comes through into AE, but $500.

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


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