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Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4

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Ian McDanielStuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Nov 24, 2009 at 1:23:52 am

I've got an odd problem that I can't figure out why it's happening....

I'm working in a 23.976fps timeline. If I render out a clip.. Best Settings, Apple Pro Res 422... Then bring it back in to the same comp... It will drop frames.. almost like it's doing a 24p in a 30p timeline.. but it came from the same comp I'm putting it in.

I checked everything I can think to check... It's set to render all frames. I've tried other codecs with the same result (Animation.. None... Photo JPEG.) It always comes back stuttering.

The interesting thing is that if you look at the clip inside of quicktime player... all frames are there. But clearly AE is repeating frames and skipping past the one that should be there. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

The interesting thing is that if I open up this clip and re-render it in version 7 (on a PC) it works and I can bring the clip back into CS4 and it works just fine.

Has anyone encountered this before?

Thanks!
~Ian


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Dave LaRondeRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Nov 24, 2009 at 3:48:31 pm

Did you double-check that there was no 3:2 pulldown in your source footage? Or was it 24PN? And how are you checking the rendered file? In a RAM Preview in AE? Hitting the space bar in AE, God forbid? In a media viewer of some sort? In an editing application? If you did check it in an editing application, did you skip a possible rendering step?

Questions, questions questions.......

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


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Ian McDanielRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Dec 8, 2009 at 8:47:10 pm

There's no pulldown... The source is actually a rendered graphic in AE... Multiple codecs, but since most of these end up on the timeline in FCP, I generally use ProRes or ProRes HQ. This seems to affect all framerates, but not consistently. ... The only time this pops up is when I'm against a deadline.

So here's the process for this particular time I ran into the problem.

Started out with a 1280x720 23.976fps timeline. Made an animation in that timeline. Rendered it out at Best Quality / Pro Res 422 HQ... (although the same issue happens with the Animation codec)

I opened the rendered movie in Quicktime. It plays smoothly. I put it into a 23.98fps timeline in FCP and watched it out of a Blackmagic HD Extreme card via HDSDI into a broadcast monitor... Played perfectly. I then took that same clip into AE (a new comp in the same project that I just rendered from) and when I step frame by frame in the timeline... It will skip random frames... not in a cadence either. It'll repeat a frame or two, then move on to where it should be... skipping frames of motion. The timeline was derived from the clip (dragged the clip onto the new comp icon)... so the framerate, frame size, time, everything should be exactly the same as the original clip.

Makes no sense. The only thing that I've found that seems to clear the issue up is to fire up my old PC I had in the corner and re-render (duplicate) the clip in AE7...the pull it back into the CS4 version.. Or more recently... to render out to an image sequence and re-render the clip that way.

I'm completely stumped. I've been using AE since 1997 on an almost daily basis... and I can't wrap my head around this... unless it's simply a bug in the software. Older versions of the software seem to handle the clip just fine in the exact same situation.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:00:58 pm

[Ian McDaniel] "Started out with a 1280x720 23.976fps timeline. Made an animation in that timeline. Rendered it out at Best Quality / Pro Res 422 HQ... I opened the rendered movie in Quicktime. It plays smoothly. I put it into a 23.98fps timeline in FCP and watched it out of a Blackmagic HD Extreme card via HDSDI into a broadcast monitor... Played perfectly"

Hmmm.... on this first one, it sounds like you did NOT include a clip from FCP. I'm beginning to smell a rat.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Ian McDaniel] "I then took that same clip into AE (a new comp in the same project that I just rendered from) and when I step frame by frame in the timeline... It will skip random frames... not in a cadence either. It'll repeat a frame or two, then move on to where it should be... skipping frames of motion. The timeline was derived from the clip (dragged the clip onto the new comp icon)... so the framerate, frame size, time, everything should be exactly the same as the original clip. "

So the clip you rendered from AE was then exported from FCP and imported into AE, right? This could be another case of FCP weirdness. If you haven't done so already, try trashing FCP preferences and repeat the procedure you write about above.

You're right, this is extremely strange. However, when it comes to strangeness I find FCP to be much quirkier than AE. With FCP's reputation for doing odd things at the drop of a hat, I'd look there.

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


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Ian McDanielRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:56:22 pm

Actually this all happens without any interaction with FCP... I was just checking the clip there to make sure it played correctly... which it did. Which made me want to start clawing the screen in anger... since AE couldn't seem to play that same clip back.

I *did* however try to import the clip into FCP, then export it again... tried the "recompress all frames" button too. Same result. Everything will play the clip except for AE. Even opening it up in quicktime player and stepping frame by frame with the arrow keys... every frame is accounted for. I even rendered timecode onto the clip... It would play every frame in both quicktime and FCP.. but would skip over frames in AE.

Again... it's not something that always happens... I render several times a day with perfect results... but every once in a while, this creeps up at the worst possible times.


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Scott Paul DunhamRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Dec 5, 2009 at 4:07:35 am

I'm doing my first AE CS4 work in a long while- and I'm getting the strobe effect on playback, too.

It seems like a setting, however, I've already set Preview to skip 0 and full render (quality)... not sure what's going on... I'm gonna be late with this job, unless I figure this out.

Maybe it will render out fine in the full render queue... I'll try- but I'd like the preview to be smooth, too.

Scott

COW Forum Leader (Shepherd) for:
SEMAFX Network Forum


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Dave LaRondeRe: Stuttering playback/rednering in AE CS4
by on Dec 7, 2009 at 3:33:40 pm

The typical reasons for RAM Previews and rendered files not playing back smoothly are these:
  • You're working in an HD comp, and AE can't ram preview the full-resolution picture. Change the comp window resolution to half, and the window size to 50%.
  • You're trying to use multiprocessing with insufficient RAM. Multiprocessing doesn't even get really efficient unless it can access 2-3 GB per core. The fix: get more RAM if possible, reduce the number of cores used for multiprocessing, or just turn multiprocessing off.
  • You're trying to RAM Preview HD footage that's still in its acquisition codec. Change the footage to something that is NOT in a temporally-cvomprssed, long-gop codec.
  • You're trying to play back a high-quality, high-bitrate file rendered in AE through a Media Player, and the hard drive can't keep up with the bitrate. To reassure yourself that it plays back smoothly, encode that rendered file as something like an mp4 or h.264. It won't look great, but that's why you made a high-quality file in the first place. You can also put that high-quality file in your editing application and render the timeline as necessary.


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


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