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Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects

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randal radabaughRendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 19, 2011 at 6:37:11 am

Hello COW folks.


This is not a big issue atm but will be soon enough when I run out of diskspace.

I have used H264 ffdshow in C4d and AE and Sony Vegas.No probs
prior to windows reinstall ,
and enjoy the much smaller file size.For some reason I get bad renders using ffdshow.Renders great in Sony Vegas C4d.

I recently had to reinstall windows twice.I don't think this is why though.

Am just getting things back in and going again.However,
I have begun using AE again and when I render out using ffdshow,
the render is horrible pixelated(compared to before) and looks like I used the cinepak codec.

Am currently using Lagarith codec to get by on but file sizes are too large to keep using it.

Any one got an idea why? what this may be? something I am missing
or overlooked in Render queue?

Any tips for a worthy alternate codec?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 19, 2011 at 3:44:33 pm

[randal radabaugh] "Any tips for a worthy alternate codec?"

You're not going to like my recommendation, I'm afraid. I'd forget about H.264 completely, and go with a lossless or uncompressed codec.

The reason: when passing files from one application to another, the last thing you want is to lose image quality. H.264 is an adequate-to-marginal acquisition codec and a good delivery codec. But it stinks on ice as an INTERMEDIATE codec -- the kind you pass from application to application -- because it can't hold up to repeated re-rendering.

If you start with video from Vegas, do some 3D voodoo with it in C4D, then composite in AE, you could have re-rendered that H.264 stuff three times in the process, and you're doing your image quality NO favors. Furthermore, H.264 doesn't support alpha channels, which is a very handy thing indeed to have.

If you're worried about storage, just get more. It's cheap. I think you can get a 1 TB external drive for something like 100 bucks. To preserve maximum image quality, it's worth every penny.

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


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randal radabaughRe: Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:46:38 pm

Well that was informative.

it also explains some issues I have had in the past.

So, is the lagarith codec one I should use?
or any others you might suggest?

I will do some searching to see if I can find any more info, but codecs is not something I am familiar with or really know anything about.

I appreciate you responding Dave.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:58:23 pm

[randal radabaugh] "So, is the lagarith codec one I should use?"

Beats the heck out of me -- I'm a Quicktime kind of guy, and I have a Windows box at home!

I've NEVER worked with Windows-centric media. For effects work, it's tough to beat QT's PNG or Animation codecs: both are lossless, and both support alpha channels. Of the two, PNG generally makes smaller file sizes... but if you think H.264 makes big files, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

I'd suggest exporting in PNG out of Vegas and working with it throughout your intermediate steps. You might have to get QT Pro to do it, but I guarantee you it'll be the best 35 bucks you'll spend in many a moon.

And if you have an aversion to Quicktime, I suppose a lossless or uncompressed AVI is the way to go.

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


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randal radabaughRe: Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:40:22 pm

yeah I have used QT png and do it in sequences especially for large long ones so as to have a 'restore point" if any thing happens during rendering.
I never even thought of doing it AE <<< Doink lol

Am I mental ? sometimes I wonder....


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Cory PetkovsekRe: Rendering H264 ffdshow horrible bad render in After Effects
by on Jan 24, 2011 at 3:25:59 am

For windows use lagarith and/or Avid's free DNxHD codecs. Or if you need a professional codec (sounds like you don't) I'd look at cineform.

Both cineform and DNxHD are cross platform windows/mac.

Lagarith is mathematically lossless and has reasonable compression and is reasonably fast. Avoid quicktime animation or PNG sequences, simply due to file size.

DNxHD and cineform are not mathematically lossless, however they are pretty good for intermediate codecs and are used by pro studios.

Lagarith and DNxHD have similar file sizes; sometimes one is greatly larger than the other depending on the type of content (animation, titles, live video, etc).

h264 is a great delivery codec, but a terrible intermediate codec. I use it for output to web, but keep my finished renders in dnxhd or lagarith.

Cory

--
Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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