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AFTER EFFECTS confusions / HDV format

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Etienne Wald
AFTER EFFECTS confusions / HDV format
on Jul 25, 2010 at 12:11:31 pm

Hi all,
I bought a HV30 camera last month, which has been used to film all my skateboarding footage.
I also have the Adobe After Effects CS5 program, on my MacBook Pro.
My objective here, is to be able to do some "Ramped slow motion" with After Effects, using my HV30 clips. (Which were filmed in HDV 60i mode)
From my PC, using sony vegas, i've captured the clips from the camera (using firewire port), which are now in m2t format.
After watching some few youtube videos, I am now able to do quite good slow motions, but I do have a problem.
I did understand however, that I must use the same parameters in After Effects than the input clip.

So I began by createding a composition with the preset: "HDV 1080 29.97" which gives me a 1440x1080 resolution.
Concerning the Pixel aspect ratio, I chose "HDV 1080/DVCPRO HD 720 (1.33)"
After putting my clip in the timeline, applying the slowmotion etc.. I then add my composition to Render Queue, in order to save my new slowmotion movie.
But then comes my first problem:

What kind of settings should I put in the "Output Module" in order to get the highest quality, with the smallest file? There's many many choices, but I can't find any .avi or xvid codec like on windows. Should I use the "Quicktime" format? If yes, with what codec? :S
Because I didn't know, I tried a few myself. But the file seems to always be at least 180mb, and sometimes around 400mb ! (the normal input clip is 40mb)

My other problem is that when I render my slowmotion file, and play it with VLC, the format doesn't seem to be right, my video is a "square" and does not fill the whole screen (I can see black space on the right and left side).
I don't really understand why this is happening, since I made sure to have 1440x1080 on my composition, which is the same format as my input file.

As opposed to the slowmotion file, when I play my normal clip in VLC, it fills the whole screen, and no black spaces are on the sides.
When I play it with Quicktime, my clip is ALWAYS full screen.

So please tell me, guys, what settings do YOU use in after effects to render a HV30 clip ? Am I the only one to have these problems?

Thank's A LOT in advance, to the people trying to help me.
Have a good day,

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keith mcgregor
Re: AFTER EFFECTS confusions / HDV format
on Jul 26, 2010 at 7:53:13 pm

Don't know what a HV30 is but, I always make my hd comps in square pixels. That way if AE is my last stop it will be the correct ratio. When you see it a nle it knows it's to be 16x9 so it pops it out for you but the qt is in the squished ratio. For real nice slo-mo you would need to do overcranking, which I suspect your camera does not do? When "I play it with Quicktime, my clip is ALWAYS full screen." Is that because your screen resolution is same as/smaller than 1920x1080?

Reality? What did you make it?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: AFTER EFFECTS confusions / HDV format
on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:55:03 pm

[Etienne Wald] "What kind of settings should I put in the "Output Module" in order to get the highest quality, with the smallest file? "

The terms "high quality" and "small file size" are mutually exclusive.
HDV is a VERY lossy codec -- that's because HDV compresses the bejeezus out of video before it's recorded. Yeah, you can capture it, play it back, and it looks fine, but if you attempt to render back to HDV, you will lose lot of image quality.

Quicktime codecs like Animation and PNG are lossless, but their file sizes are huge. You won't lose much image quality by using the Photo JPEG codec at 95% quality, and the file sizes are still manageable.

This whole codec mess could be avoided if you never -- EVER -- capture and edit in native HDV. Instead, capture and edit in a different, higher-quality codec.

I'm a Final Cut Pro guy, so I'd recommend ProRes 422. But since you're not, I'd go with DVCPro HD. It's pretty good. If you need to get more storage to accommodate the higher-quality video files, get it.

Or if image quality really isn't a big deal to you, just keep doing what you're doing.

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

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