I have a (hopefully) quick comp set-up question.... I'm creating an animation running in a trade show booth that will be played back on 2 26" widescreen monitors. One monitor will be using the client's laptop and one will be using a dvd player. If I just make a widescreen comp with square pixels for the laptop version (probably 1920x1080 since I'm not positive about the native resolution of the monitor), can I nest that comp in a widescreen dvd comp, scale it down and render that way? I'm just concerned about going from square to rectangular pixels... didn't know if there would be any distortion or loss of quality that way.
If you're going to play back one file on DVD, why not play BOTH files on DVD? I assume this laptop has a DVD player in it. The workflow you describe isn't going to win you any more resolution for the laptop file -- i.e., a 720x480 widescreen comp nested & scaled inside a 1920x1080 comp. So you might as well make two DVDs.
If you bite the bullet and do the laptop's animation in 1920x1080, you run the risk that the file won't play back smoothly. If you choose this route, I'd render a high-quality file out of AE, and then use a different compression application to convert it an H.264 file. AE's incapable of doing multipass H.264 encoding, but multipass yields far better image quality... hence a different compression application.
And if you do make real-live 1920x1080 animation -- and you get it to play back through the laptop -- don't be surprised if the people in the booth remark on how much better the animation on the laptop looks than the animation on the DVD player.
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
thanks for the response. The thought had actually occurred to me to play back a dvd off the client's laptop, just wasn't sure if it would have the option of looping continuously. (I'm guessing it could, I'm just not a pc person, so I don't know the software involved.) I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by making a lower res comp then finding out his computer won't play back the dvd correctly, then have to start over with a high res version for computer! But this solution would definitely make my life easier. :)