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Rendering Non-Drop Frame from After Effects

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Brandon Campbell
Rendering Non-Drop Frame from After Effects
on Apr 25, 2012 at 7:08:39 pm

Wonder if anyone can help me with a timecode/frame rate question:

I am rendering out animations from AE to be projected in a theater piece.
The guy I'm delivering the files to is using Ki Pro (which I know nothing about) to run the movie clips to
the projector. He is saying that he needs 29.97fps non-drop frame clips rather than drop frame.

I see in my Project Settings that I can change the Display Style to Non-Drop Frame under the drop down
menu for NTSC. I have that on Non-Drop Frame, still he is telling me the files I'm delivering are drop frame.

My comp settings are HDV/HDTV 720 29.97, 1280x720, 29.97 fps.

I'm in After Effects CS5, using Apple Pro Res 422 codec.

Is there anything else I should be doing to make sure I am delivering non-drop frame clips?
I'm not new to AE but have never had to deal with this before.


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John Cuevas
Re: Rendering Non-Drop Frame from After Effects
on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:03:34 am

Change your frame rate to 30FPS, that's will change your frame rate to non-drop.

I don't know of system that would run a frame rate of 29.97 and be non-drop, that doesn't make sense and I think the guy asking for the deliverable is confused.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Rendering Non-Drop Frame from After Effects
on Apr 26, 2012 at 2:56:56 pm

It's a time code issue and not a frame rate issue: it's certainly possible to have 29.97 non-drop frame time code. It's rarely used because as time progresses in the clip, the time code itself becomes more and more inaccurate. The clip's fine, but the time code goes screwy: it's not an accurate representation of the elapsed time. At the end of precisely one hour, non-drop-frame time code will be off from the actual elapsed time by 3 seconds and 18 frames. That's why hardly anybody ever uses it.

I'd work in your 29.97 comp settings, render out a minute plus a second of video -- anything will do, as long as it matches your original comp settings -- and give it to your associate. Changing any of the comp's settings or the project settings only influences what YOU see as you work in the comp: it has no influence over the time code.

If the rendered footage goes from 00:00:59:29 to 00:01:00:02 as it crosses the one-minute mark, it has drop-frame time code. If it goes to 00:01:00:00 instead, it's non-drop-frame time code.

In any case, there are apps that will convert drop-frame to non-drop-frame, so it isn't a big issue. Since I always work in drop frame and don't care much about the time code when I render out of AE, I haven't investigated those apps, sad to say.

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

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