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HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec

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Bjorn VijeHD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:33:51 pm

At the moment I'm working on a project which is an instruction movie for barbers. It's about how to colour hair the best way.
We've shot or footage with the Sony EX-1 and working in full HD (1920x1080 square pixels 25f/s) in premiere.
During the movie there are a lot of shots where a hair color product 'slides' into view en the 'slides' out again. Typically this kind of shots have a duration of 5 seconds.
I'm making these product shots in AE (also in full HD) but then I have to export them out to premiere. And that's where my question comes into view.
I have to export out in full HD with an alpha channel (very important). But the only codec I've found so far is uncompressed AVI (that's the only one i've found that supports an alpha channel).
So for a typical product shot clip of 5 seconds I've got a clip with a size of 1 or 2 GB.
Storage is not the problem so I don't care, but Premiere thinks differently. I've got a lot of these clips and they're really slowing Premiere down. At this moment I've reached a point where premiere will crash every 15 minutes when working in this project.
I really think the problem lies within these huge clip sizes because I don't have this problem with other projects who contain less AE clips.

So keeping the above story in mind... What is the best codec to export in AE in full HD with alpha channel. Apparently size does matter because premiere crashes when I make the files to big.

Any input would be gratly appreciated
Thank, Bjorn Vije


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Chris WrightRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Oct 6, 2009 at 10:23:14 pm

Here's a short list, but you can skip all this and just use Adobe's dynamic link or proxies.

-free codecs
-4:4:4 8 bit
quicktime animation
quicktime jpeg2000
uncompressed non RLE

-image sequence
tiff lzw off millions 8 bit or trillions 16bit
PSD millions 8 bit or trillions 16bit

-buy
4:4:4
16 bit
Sheer Codec
Cineform
4:2:2
Mainconcept codec
Blackmagic



http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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Dave LaRondeRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Oct 6, 2009 at 10:32:03 pm

Here's another one to add if you like Quicktime -- PNG. I do not mean a PNG sequence. I mean a Quicktime Movie compressed using the PNG codec. It's lossless, it's compressed, and it supports alpha channels. It produces smaller file sizes than the Animation codec.

Just look in the Quicktime compression settings: PNG is in there with Animation and Photo JPEG.

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


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Jake HuddlestonRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Nov 30, 2010 at 4:43:21 am

Hi Dave,

I appreciate your help on the other thread I started about removing pulldown after editing. Very bad move. I am now trying to prepare myself for the process of removing pulldown from all my clips in After Effects, rendering them out, and THEN editing in Premiere. You recommend a Quicktime PNG sequence. I have tried rendering out in this codec and the playback is rough and blocky. My friend said that it has something to do with the computer not being able to keep up with the amount of data in the video file. I would rather not edit with this footage in Premiere if this is going to be a constant problem, as I would like to view and edit my footage in real time. So as of right now, I am just considering my options as I try and find a good workflow. Thanks!

Jake Huddleston


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Dave LaRondeRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Nov 30, 2010 at 3:18:31 pm

[Jake Huddleston] "You recommend a Quicktime PNG sequence. I have tried rendering out in this codec and the playback is rough and blocky. My friend said that it has something to do with the computer not being able to keep up with the amount of data in the video file."

Your friend is right. PNG is a great intermediate codec, the kind you swap between applications to maintain maximum image quality. If you're going straight to editing, render in the codec of your edit timeline... as long as it isn't mp4, h.264, any kind of mpeg... anything that's long-gop, requiring muiltipass rendering to get a really good-looking picture. AE doessn't do multipass encoding, so it's no good.

I'm a Mac guy, so I instantly go to Quicktime's family of codecs. Photo JPEG at 95% is pretty darned good, and not too big. DVCProHD is good for 720p stuff. The current gold standard on Macs is ProRes 422... but you need to have Final Cut Suite 3 to render it.

How 'bout Windows-oriented codecs? No clue.

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


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Jake HuddlestonRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:48:34 pm

Thanks Dave. That's great info. However, the problem I have run into is space. I'm a Mac guy as well (yeah baby!), and I'm using a Macbook Pro. I have a 250GB hard drive, and I have about 10 minutes of HD footage in my film that needs pulldown removed, and it's more if you take the total length of all the clips combined, since I'm rendering them out of AE unedited. I had 90GB of free space when I began rendering them out as Quicktime PNG files and woke up the next morning to find that only about 1/4 of them had been rendered, and had already taken up the full 90GB I had left on my hard drive.

I would still like to stay lossless as I render, but being the amount of footage I need and how big lossless files tend to be, I'm not sure how realistic this is. How do those other codecs you recommended compare in terms of final size? What would you say my options are at this point? Thanks Dave.

Jake Huddleston


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Dave LaRondeRe: HD Workflow AE and Premiere - searching the best codec
by on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:07:01 pm

If you can't get an additional firewire external hard disk drive -- or better still, an external RAID -- then you're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Lossless files are much bigger than video in its acquisition codec. You can't get around that.

So you have to make some choices. Play with a few codecs until you land on one you like.

DO NOT land on any kind of mpeg or H.264, however. They're delivery codecs. Avoid 'em like the plague for production work.

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


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