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dimi devrocompression
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 12:05:46 pm

hey, i'm a filmstudent and for school i have to make a shortfilm that lasts about 5min. I'm using after effects to make my footage somewhat cooler (lens blur, color correction,...). The problem is I want my footage to look really good (i shot it with a sony hd cam), so I make my composition's in NTSC D1 Widescreen square pixel, no problem here, the footage looks superb, but a 10sec video is already 1.5GB, how am i suppose to get all my footage on a 4.7gb dvd? When I simply choose NTSC DV, the footage is smaller but looks really shitty. Any ideas on how to get a 5min video with good qualty on a dvd? thank you!

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Dave LaRondeRe: compression
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:29:06 pm

[dimi devro] "When I simply choose NTSC DV, the footage is smaller but looks really shitty."

Hey, watch it! That sort of language isn't appreciated around here. Now, on to your problem.


[dimi devro] "...I make my composition's in NTSC D1 Widescreen square pixel"

Why don't you make it in the resolution of your footage? You'll degrade the image much less by doing so.


[dimi devro] "i shot it with a sony hd cam"

This could be a problem for you later. Read On:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


[dimi devro] "Any ideas on how to get a 5min video with good qualty on a dvd?"

You certainly DO NOT do the compression in AE. Get used to huge file sizes when working in AE. If you need more storage, get more storage or work in a different application. Now read on again:

Dave's Stock Answer #3:

Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc. AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.

Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime Pro is better than compressing in AE.

Making good-looking compressed files is almost as much an art as it is a science. It is NOT straightforward at all. I recommend asking a few questions at the COW's Compression Techniques forum.

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

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Brendan CootsRe: compression
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 7:08:30 pm

To summarize the situation:

- Render out your project to Animation codec (full quality, millions of colors) or similar. Yes, the file will be huge, if it were tiny the quality would suffer tremendously. Big file = higher quality (usually).

- If the goal is to create a DVD that can be played back in DVD players, pull your huge file into your DVD authoring application and author a disc. Upon output, the DVD authoring program will automatically compress the video to fit on your DVD. The result is almost always very good, unless you tweak the authoring program's output settings incorrectly and screw it up.

- If you need the actual Quicktime file on a disc, rather than an authored DVD, then you will instead need to open your huge Animation codec file with a program that compresses video - Quicktime Pro is a high quality and cheap option. Output a Quicktime movie with h.264 compression set to highest quality with automatic keyframes. The resulting file will fit on a standard DVD with tons of room to spare.

- As Dave mentioned, don't use After Effects to output compressed video, ever. It's just not made for that. Get used to outputting uncompressed/Animation codec videos that are huge and need further treatment for delivery to your audience. That's the standard workflow, so best to get used to it now.

Good Luck!

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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dimi devroRe: compression
by on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:44:02 am

thx a lot guys! that will do it!

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