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AVCHD workflow...

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Albert Fung
AVCHD workflow...
on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:54:55 pm

Dear all,

My recent project involves combining AVCHD footage with 3D computer animation, and I was wondering if I could get some comments on my workflow, and whether or not I'm doing things inefficiently, or just plain out wrong.

We're using a Sony HXRMC1 POV camera to capture 1440 x 1080, 60i HD footage, which is recorded as AVCHD (MTS) files. These are recorded in a few Flash memory cards we have, and then the folder structure (i.e. the entire card content) is copied to the hard drive of a Mac Pro.

We then use Premiere Pro CS5 to import the footage and do some rough editing (setting in/out points). We compile them into a sequence, and then right-click on the clips and select the 'Replace with Adobe After Effects Composition' option.

As these clips are transferred to After Effects CS5, we first create a comp that is 1920 x 1080, and drag the transferred clips into the comp. We then drag in the 3D computer animation clips and match those with the live footage, then adding transitions, labels etc.

During output, we render it with the H.264 codec as an .mp4 file, although we're exploring the possibility of rendering them as .flv files for streaming the final product online.

The final product looks alright, although the quality is compressed compared to the native AVCHD files. I heard that it might be a better idea to first recapture the footage in Premiere Pro, as AVCHD itself is a lossy-codec, and re-rendering it would only lower the quality further. I'm curious as to how that would be done in Premiere, and whether it's an option for me to go back to do that now that I have the clips in After Effects...?

Much thanks to your time and help.

Albert


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AVCHD workflow...
on Mar 22, 2011 at 6:39:35 pm

[Albert Fung] "During output, we render it with the H.264 codec as an .mp4 file, although we're exploring the possibility of rendering them as .flv files for streaming the final product online."

I don't know about that flash stuff, but I do know for sure that I wouldn't render any mp4 file! If you don't have AVCHD available as a render codec, which wouldn't require any rendering in Premere, I recommend rendering something lossless to preserve image quality. I'm a Mac guy, so I always like Quicktime's Animation or PNG codecs.

How about Windows-centric files like avi? No clue: I use Quicktime exclusively, even on my Windows box at home.

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


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Albert Fung
Re: AVCHD workflow...
on Mar 22, 2011 at 8:23:17 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the reply. I've read around that AE isn't exactly the best compressor, and people say it'd be better to render out an uncompressed master version (Animation Codec with Quicktime, as you said), and then use 3rd party software (or maybe Adobe Media Encoder...?) to perform the compression later.

The problem with Quicktime though, at least with Windows machines, is that I constantly notice the washed-out look. When we played the .mp4 files back on a Windows machines, Quicktime player always displayed a slightly washed out, blue-overlaid image, while Windows Media Player played the file as it was seen on a Mac.

Albert


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AVCHD workflow...
on Mar 23, 2011 at 9:49:57 pm

It's been ages since I had to fool with it, but somewhere in Quicktime's preferences, and maybe even the registration section, there's a check box that lets you change how QT handles gamma, and things fall right into place.

I'll be darned if I remember where it was. You set it once, and after months & months you sort of forget about that one little check box, y'know?

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


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