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Render to what?

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Richard Smith
Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 2:08:27 pm

What is the best, most compatible format to render a composition in, if you know you'll need to import it in other softwares, for further editing? What do the pros do in this situation?


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Kevin Camp
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 4:43:35 pm

i prefer to render out to an uncompressed (like 10-bit uncompressed) or lossless codec (like quicktime animation or png), then let the nle do the conversion to what ever it was set as it's working codec.

however, you could render straight to the codec that the nle is working with *if* the codec does not use interframe compression (ae doesn't render that kind of compression). apple's prores, avid's dnxhd, dvcprohd, quicktime photo-jpeg, and even dv all use intraframe compression and would work fairly well (most notably prores and dnxhd).

typically if you render to one of those codecs, it would be for material that does not have an alpha, but both prores and dnxhd do have support for alpha at the higher data rate settings (which may not be the data rate the the nle is set for).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Richard Smith
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 5:37:47 pm

[Kevin Camp] "let the nle do the conversion"

What nle are you referring to? After Effects? Or any other softwares that I subsequently import AE's rendered footage into?


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Kevin Camp
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 6:05:46 pm

you mentioned taking the render into something for further editing, i assumed an nle like premiere , fcp, tect

if you import uncompressed 10-bit hd footage into an nle, it would need to convert/render that media to the type that is set to work with so you could get realtime playback while editing. so they are usually setup to work with a specific codec -- like the dvcprohd easy setup in fcp, for instance. if fcp is set up for dvcprohd, then the imported media will get rendered to dvcprohd. this can happen in the background... when you first bring the media in, it has a red line when dropped into a timeline. then after a period of time it shows green (or maybe the line just disappears).

if you imported back into ae, ae would not need to render it to a realtime codec, primarily since ae is not a realtime app and caches frames to ram for realtime playback.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Richard Smith
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 6:19:32 pm

Just to make it crystal clear:
Many times in the past I got (from Computer Magazines, off the net) various footage- .WMV, .AVI, .MPG etc.
Many times, while trying to import them in Premiere/AE, I got:
-black screens
-"format not supported"
-video without audio
-video with various artifacts (the original was fine, though)

So my question tried to prevent this from happening, by providing my exported videos with max compatibility, for further editing, by me or others.

Thanks for the info.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:39:23 pm

You have a bunch of things going on.

If you don't have AE 10 (aka cs5), mpeg, h.264 or any long-gop footage will be a problem; you'd have to convert it to something like Quicktime's Animation of PNG codecs before you import it into AE.
If AE says it's missing a codec to use the footage, you have to get the codec.
Don't use compressed audio (mp3, ac3, etc) in AE; convert it to wav or aiff first, and don't use AE to do the conversion.
If you have widescreen footage, it may not look great in the comp window because of the wide pixel aspect ratio typical of such footage; if it's in a good codec for AE, it'll render fine.

The people who make the editing software make this TV stuff sound really easy, don't they? They kind of gloss over the fact that you have to know the basics.

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


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Richard Smith
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:54:23 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "you'd have to convert it"

OK, but with what? Some footage isn't importable into either AE or Premiere Pro, so how do I convert it?

[Dave LaRonde] "If AE says it's missing a codec to use the footage"

Unfortunately, that is all AE says. How do I know which one?

[Dave LaRonde] "If you have widescreen footage, it may not look great"

Not looking great would be fine; I get big, multicolored squares all over the picture some frames, while in other frames, all is OK.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:59:40 pm

You didn't answer the principal issue here: what version of AE do you run?

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


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Richard Smith
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 8:47:37 pm

I run After Effects 6.5.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 9:03:16 pm

Oho!

Well, sir, you are going to have oodles & bunches of trouble, because your versions of AE and Quicktime never heard of some of the codecs you're attempting to use.

The fix in your case is to keep your current machine as a legacy box, and buy new everything. No fooling.

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


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Kevin Camp
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 10:36:24 pm

you'll want to find a utility to convert wmv, avi, mpg or anything like that to quicktime (actually, avi can be ok, but you'd like it to be an uncompressed avi, or maybe dv, but not any streaming video type of compression). any type of compression that uses interframe (or temporal) compression - like streaming codecs - will give ae cs4 and lower problems (i don't even use them in cs5).

when converting those to quicktime, choose a codec like lossless animation or photo-jpeg (at high quality settings in the mid 90s, it's near lossless, i wouldn't go bellow 75%).

ae 6.5 won't have any problem with photo-jpeg or lossless animation. as i mentioned earlier, i prefer to use those codecs even in the latest version of ae.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 5:38:21 am

[Kevin Camp] "you'll want to find a utility to convert wmv, avi, mpg or anything like that to quicktime"

Okay, perhaps I was a tiny bit hasty in my "buy everything new" statement.

But the guy has AE 6.5, for cryin' out loud! Can you even remember the OS under which that worked without a cheat sheet? If he intends to continue working in AE, he needs to catch up with the times, or at least tell people why he is still using a system that was in vogue eight years ago.

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


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Richard Smith
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 7:28:55 am

Well, I thought once AE is officially accepting .wmv, .mpg etc. as importable filetypes, it doesn't matter what codec version they're made with- it'll work!
Seems I was wrong- but still, they could pop a warning window to say: "Codec version not supported" or something.

Anyway, I'll try upgrading.


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Kevin Camp
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 6:13:00 pm

[Richard Smith] "I'll try upgrading."

if you are only upgrading your adobe software, make sure your system meets the requirements. ae cs5 is only 64-bit, so it needs a 64-bit os and will also require 64-bit versions of any 3rd-party plugins that you want to use. it will also require 64-bit versions of codecs too (adobe doesn't create the codecs, and outside of some for mxf containers, i don't think they ship any -- maybe with premiere).

just a little warning that it may cost you more than just an adobe upgrade...

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Kevin Camp
Re: Render to what?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:57:14 pm

one of the most compatible formats/containers is quicktime. most major nles support quicktime import, if not use it natively.

for compatibility between platforms you should try to stick with older standard quicktime codecs (components) like lossless animation, photo-jpeg or maybe apple's 10-bit uncompressed (i've never tried that on a pc, but i think it is probably a standard qt component on the windows version too).

these codecs produce large files, which can be problematic when trying to send them to somebody or move them from system to system, plus they will normally have to be converted to the working codec on the system, which does take some time and also takes more drive space, so it's not always the best workflow.

you should create a workflow that works for your setup. when you work with others, you can talk to them about how you usually work and see if that works for them. they may have their own workflow, and would rather you provide media in a different way.

i used to work a lot with avids, and although avid worked with lossless animation quicktimes, it was a lot faster for avid to import a 1:1 (uncompressed) meridien quicktime (a quicktime codec that avid offers for free), so that's the workflow i used when dealing with the avids.

i guess i'm saying that there's just not *one-best-way*, but sticking with standard quicktime components is a pretty good bet. just be ready to adjust to other workflows.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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