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from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate

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Ania Smolenskaia
from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 2:31:51 pm

Hi,

I've got 50 batches of .NEF still images that i want to convert into video clips, so i can edit the piece (in Final Cut). (We shot a stop motion animation, but we fired the camera manually - 2 shots per each movement - so there is no specific frame rate dictated by the camera).

i'm a little unclear on what the industry standard is for the final output in terms of the frame rate.

From what i know 29.97 is a standard for North America (i have enough resolution to make it a 1920x1080 video and i think i've got everything under control in terms of keeping the res. when going from AE to FCP, BUT i'm not sure how .03 of a frame is calculated if i'm taking still images and playing them back at 29.97). So the question is: is 30 frames per second a better option? Does it even matter? should i maybe try to allocate each still to an individual frame? is it doable in AE? Or should i export the stills as an image sequence and then bring it into FCP?

So the other thing is: what is the best way to get the highest quality from AE when converting the stills into video, so that i can ramp things up or slow them down as i wish in FCP. I guess i could go back to AE and double up the frames if i need the motion to be slower, but it'd be time consuming if i have to go back and test the speed that way, i would rather just slow it down in FCP if possible (does that affect the quality?)

So to sum it all up the 2 issues are:

1) how to get the highest Quality possible when converting from stills to video, in order to have minimal losses when editing in FCP

2) Frame rate when outputting a final product.

Thank you so very very much in advance!

ania


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Dave LaRonde
Re: from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 4:31:30 pm

Have you confirmed that your computer can read these image files? I hope so.

I had to learn what an NEF file even was, which led me to the NEF codec download page on the Nikon web site. I couldn't find the NEF codec for Macs! Just Windows boxes.

There are a couple of ways to go about this:
  • You can import your pictures into AE as an image SEQUENCE, and then assign a frame rate to the sequence (FILE>INTERPRET>MAIN). AE defaults to a frame rate of 30 fps, but you can easily change the frame rate. The frame rate you choose may or may not look good in a 29.97 comp, but it's easy to experiment.
  • You can add the pictures as layers in a 29.97, 1920x1080 comp. Using the Sequence Layers command, you can assign the same duration to each picture: 2 frames, 10 frames... whatever. This is the more flexible way to go, but it's a LOT more cumbersome with all those individual files and layers.




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


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Dave LaRonde
Re: from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 5:06:12 pm

Oops! I forgot to tell you HOW to do this stuff.

Here's some info about working with camera raw images:
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS31E34FFE-F59E-430e-8B43-5283...

Here's how to import an image sequence:
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906...

And here's an explanation of the Sequence Layers command:
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906...

If you DO use Sequence Layers, create a null and parent the layers to it. Then you can use the null to position & scale all the layers at once.




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


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david bogie
Re: from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 5:25:39 pm

Hiya Dave, Photoshop, Aperture, MacOS10, and Lightroom all can easily handle NEF.
I shoot with two Nikons (hopefully a third soon).

bogiesan



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Ania Smolenskaia
Re: from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 6:55:36 pm

Thank you Dave!

i really appreciate your help! this project was shot a while ago while i was still a student, and i really want to salvage the images, b/c i'm still in love with the way it looks.

and yes, as david bogie pointed out, NEF files are recognized/accepted by AE & can be viewed on a Mac.


ania


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david bogie
Re: from stills to video in AE and FCP in the absence of a set frame rate
on Oct 16, 2009 at 5:36:31 pm

> (We shot a stop motion animation, but we fired the camera manually - 2 shots per each movement - so there is no specific frame rate dictated by the camera). <

That was wasteful. All you needed was one shot and you would simply duplicate it in the post-processing.

Shooting "on-2s" as you did is a holdover from the olden days of shooting cel animation with a film camera. It was economical to reduce the number of cels per second by half without seriously affecting the image quality at some studios. They shot each frame twice.

> 1) how to get the highest Quality possible when converting from stills to video, in order to have minimal losses when editing in FCP <

You're think ing about this incorrectly but I can't really tell you why. Still frame animation is as much art as science and it is fully researchable; knowledge you should have invested in long before you started shooting. You don't change the speed of movement of an object by changing the number of frames in post production without seriously sacrificing image quality. If an object took 30 exposures to move across the screen, speeding it up means you wasted a lot of time shooting unused frames. If you need to slow it down, the movement will not be smooth unless you divided the action into 60 frames with less movement between each exposure. Those are stylistic decisions made in preproduction and development; that's the art.


> 2) Frame rate when outputting a final product. <

This is not relevant yet. You decide on your production frame rate, weight that against your release medium's requirements, and then go to production. You've done everything backwards so it cannot really matter to you or you would have done it properly form the start. Pick a frame rate based on your economics and the amount of effort you wish to invest. Then conform it to your chosen release media.

Dave LaRonde's excellent advice will get your stills into AE or FCP.

bogiesan




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