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best settings for HD rendering

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robert thompsonbest settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 2, 2010 at 7:18:08 pm

Hi - I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best setting for HD rendering. I'm outputting different versions of a video which is less than 2 minutes long yet the file size I'm getting is 7 Gb. (Using quicktime at it's best settings).
I need them to be highest quality for final editing in FCP.
I brought it in as MP4 of just 215 mb (converted from quicktime using visualhub as AE also wouldn't let me import quicktime despite having the player installed).
I've tried rendering to mp4 too but the quality is terrible.
Any help would be much appreciated - thanks (windows 7, AE CS5)


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Jim MarshallRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 2, 2010 at 9:34:16 pm

My funky motion graphics teacher has us use the H.264 codec with quicktime movies.

Set the format as a quicktime movie, and under format options, choose H.264. A 57 second 1920 by 816 video ended up being 138 mb. The picture is pretty good, too.

Hope that helps.


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Dave LaRondeRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 2, 2010 at 10:19:17 pm

It's too bad that rendering to H.264 within AE doesn't give good results. You're much better off rendering to a high-quality codec in AE, then using a different compression application to convert to H.264.

If the quality you're currently getting is acceptable, that's great. Just know that AE wasn't built for high-quality compression.

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


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Jim MarshallRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 3, 2010 at 8:21:59 am

I don't understand why it wouldn't give good results. From what I've seen (which isn't much) the images look fantastic.

I would have figured compressing footage with a particular codec in after effects would be exactly the same as taking a higher quality output from after effects and compressing it with another program using the same codec.

Care to elaborate?


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Dave LaRondeRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 3, 2010 at 7:30:58 pm

AE can't do multipass encoding, which makes mpeg stuff and h.264 look a lot better.

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


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robert thompsonRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 3, 2010 at 7:56:47 pm

Thanks Dave,
After rendering with every quicktime codec in the list and making notes on quality & file size, I ended up having to use the animation codec (with one and a half minutes coming in at 6 Gb) and then visualhub to compress them to mp4 for editing (like you said). If anyone else knows a better way, I'd love to hear it. Seems to be a major shortcoming with AE which is otherwise a brilliant package.
R


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Dave LaRondeRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 3, 2010 at 9:23:54 pm

[robert thompson] "Seems to be a major shortcoming with AE which is otherwise a brilliant package."

AE doesn't do multipass encoding; it renders one frame after another. If it could it would have to render several frames, perhaps re-render them, compare them and then encode. The render times would shoot up into the stratosphere, and that's just dumb to do.

A proper compression application, on the other hand, can compare frames faster and easier, no muss, no fuss.

That's the downside of long-gop codecs: they make compact files, but they're very lossy and and a pain in the neck to render properly in AE.

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


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robert thompsonRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:01:07 am

Thank you, Dave. So could I just check with you - Is my current workflow the best option? (rendering in quicktime - animation codec) then compressing after?


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Dave LaRondeRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 4, 2010 at 3:09:01 pm

Yes. For the lion's share of work, that's just fine. If you're working on a Hollywood feature with millions on the line, you'd probably choose a different workflow, because you'd have the hardware necessary to do so.

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


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Jeff GandillonRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 4, 2010 at 4:35:47 pm

You said you are sending the files out of AE to be edited in FCP right? In that case you probably would do better to keep the files in a high-quality codec like your animation codec, edit those in FCP, then use compression software to make your mp4 of the final product as sent out from FCP.

jeff g


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robert thompsonRe: best settings for HD rendering
by on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:25:32 pm

Thanks jeff


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