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Export Current Settings

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Cole ChristineExport Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 2:58:19 pm

I'm trying to export my project using settings similar to my source file format (à la FCP's "current settings" options). Using https://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo, I take the codec information and apply similar settings in my output module, yet the results are incredibly different.

I downloaded one of my old videos from YouTube (original no longer available) and decided to edit certain portions in After Effects, then re-export as close to the downloaded file as possible (as opposed to ProRes or other "up-convert" container from YouTube's H.264). Here is a framegrab and the settings of the video prior to export:



Here are the results:




I feel like I'm missing something incredibly obvious here, but shouldn't exporting a project using the source bitrate and codec yield a similar, if not identical, image?


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Roei TzorefRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:00:44 pm

exporting H.264 trough Ae is a big NO NO. you should use AME for your encoded exports.

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Tero AhlforsRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 3:18:23 pm

Recompressing compressed footage will look bad. But if you use Quicktime's H264 it will look superbad. Don't use it.


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Cole ChristineRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:00:29 pm

Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Any suggestions on how to export a project to "match" the quality and size of the compressed source footage using similar settings?


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Cole ChristineRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:14:15 pm

Hey Roei, thanks for the reply. I'm not familiar with the downsides of exporting H.264 via AE as opposed to AME - any insight for me on this one?


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Kevin CampRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:54:20 pm

Essentially AE can't compress renders using temporal (or inter-frame) compression. It's a kind of compression that compares many frames to the current frame and 'removes' pixels that are similar to save on file size. Most streaming and many acquisition codecs use this kind of compression to use less bandwidth with streaming or recording.

AE can only render using inter-frame compression, which is often very similar to JPEG compression, so a low data-rate/small file size render from AE often results in very blocky/heavily artifacted image quality.

If the original footage was from Final Cut (which would have used Compressor to encode) then the best way to get a matching quality/file size would be to render from AE using ProRes (422, or 422 HQ) and then take that render into Compressor and use the same settings you used for the original footage.

Other compression software, such as AME, MPEG StreamClip, etc. can do a good job too, but if you know the setting used in Compressor, then it will likely be easier -- i.e., you won't need to recreate the settings in a different compression app.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Dave LaRondeRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 5:58:12 pm

I'd like to know HOW you're rendering H.264 in AE. It hasn't been available for a couple of versions!

You need to understand that video codecs COMPRESS video. They toss away video information. When you recompress video, you're tossing away even more information. It's not like copying a word processor file.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Cole ChristineRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:56:15 pm

Hi Dave,

AE 13.8.1.38 apparently still has the option under QuickTime in my output module.

I wasn't sure if compressing using the same codec and similar bitrate would work like converting music in iTunes (say if you take a 256kbps AAC music file and convert it to a 256kbps AAC file, there's no noticeable loss to my ear). Would there be some articles you could recommend? I know this must be very basic, but I'd like to have a grasp on it.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 11:46:45 pm

Sorry, I can't point you to a specific article, but you can see the results for yourself by running a test.

Import an h.264 clip. I dunno, maybe 5-10 seconds will do. Some audio with it might be nice. Add it to a new comp, and render the comp out (with audio) in QT H.264.

Import this newly-rendered clip and repeat the process. Do this... what, 8-10 times?

Observe the changes in the video, and listen to the audio. I think you'll understand why many people cringe at the thought of having to use h.264 for a fancy, complicated production.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Roei TzorefRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 7:34:44 pm

[Cole Christine] "I'm not familiar with the downsides of exporting H.264 via AE as opposed to AME - any insight for me on this one?"

Yes. read here:
https://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/adobe-media-encoder-h-264-mpeg-2-wmv-...

watch this:






to address what others have suggested
[Tero Ahlfors] "Recompressing compressed footage will look bad. But if you use Quicktime's H264 it will look superbad. Don't use it.
"

very true. you are compressing an already compressed footage. every time you compress you lose quality. also Quicktime H264 is and old buggy compressor that still exists in Ae but you should not use it. you files will be much bigger then regular H.264 compression and the quality will be poor. see this:





[Dave LaRonde] "I'd like to know HOW you're rendering H.264 in AE. It hasn't been available for a couple of versions!
"


this is how:






Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Dave LaRondeRe: Export Current Settings
by on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:44:48 pm

The OP is making QT's in H.264. NOT mp4's in H.264 via AME. That's way different, and very weird.

The bottom line for the OP -- You're rendering in a lossy codec using source video that's also in a lossy codec. That's a bad combination.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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