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Austin Reedyimporting footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:04:11 pm

Hello,

I'm working with FCP and AE. I am exporting .mov's from FCP with no audio to work with AE to remove the green screen (I like AE for keying much more). So because the footage is shot in front of a small screen, you can see the non-green room on either side of the screen. To avoid using matte's in AE I cropped the footage in FCP so that I'm only dealing with the key in AE. I exported the .mov from FCP and viewed it in Quicktime to make sure it looked right. When I import the clip into AE, the crop I used from FCP is missing. I have no idea why. Is there a setting to use while importing to retain that crop, and if not, would AE possibly be referencing the clip from its original source (same name, but on a hard drive instead of the desktop)? I'm totally lost here, and its not really a big deal, but I want to know why its happening, and its also faster to crop in FCP than to put individual mattes in each time. Thanks for anyone's help!

Austin


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Austin ReedyRe: importing footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:20:52 pm

An update on the above situation:

So now I'm getting the cropping showing up, but its basically flashing on and off of the rendered clip, and when a section of the clip isn't rendered, its not visible.

So its more confusing now, although anytime I start to see effects fail in a program, my first assumption is the computer is pissed and needs a break. Does anyone think this might be the case?

Thanks


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Dave LaRondeRE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:39:04 pm

[Austin Reedy] "...I am exporting .mov's from FCP with no audio to work with AE to remove the green screen..."

I know I said, "I don't render with audio," but that doesn't mean you can't USE audio in AE. I use the audio as a reference. I just don't bother adding the audio to my renders.

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[Austin Reedy] "....To avoid using matte's in AE I cropped the footage in FCP so that I'm only dealing with the key in AE. I exported the .mov from FCP and viewed it in Quicktime to make sure it looked right. When I import the clip into AE, the crop I used from FCP is missing. "

There's some classic FCP-thinking! Do you know how easy it is just to put a rectangular mask on your footage to eliminate the non-green-screen stuff? It's a locked-down shot! It's a no-brainer! They call 'em Garbage Masks or Garbage Mattes.... take your pick.

And since you don't mention the nature of the footage you work with, I'll toss this in, too:

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.


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


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Austin ReedyRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:53:52 pm

So I've been exporting the footage from FCP with the same quality as the clips when I bring them in to avoid losing any quality, so what are the format's I can export as without losing quality? Right now I'm exporting the clips as DVC PRO HD 720p60, 1280 x 720. That is the format they're in. Does this work or do I need something different? If so if I want to keep everything intact what format should I be looking for?

Austin Reedy
Freelance Post
Austin, TX


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Dave LaRondeRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:08:56 pm

[Austin Reedy] "Right now I'm exporting the clips as DVC PRO HD 720p60, 1280 x 720."

That should be just fine. I use that stuff myself. But don't be surprised to learn that your footage is actually 960x720. That's just how DVCPro HD works. The exception: you export from a real-live 1280x720 FCP timeline which you have confirmed is 1280x720 by looking at the timeline's settings, which also means you had to render your DVCPro HD footage in the timeline.


It's kinda like HDV -- everybody thinks it's 1920x1080, but it's actually 1440x1080. But DVCPro HD is lots better than HDV.

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


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Austin ReedyRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:21:43 pm

That's interesting, because I did notice that and my next post was going to relate to why I am seeing footage claim to be 1280 and be 960. I trusted FCP when it changed my sequence settings to match the footage, and set it at 960. Although when I pulled it into AE it showed up squished on the sides, and I had to change the comp settings to 1280 to accommodate.

Austin Reedy
Freelance Post
Austin, TX


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Dave LaRondeRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:29:57 pm

[Austin Reedy] " I had to change the comp settings to 1280 to accommodate. "

Don't bother. Just leave it at 960x720. If you render out of AE at 1280x720, you'll only have to render again in FCP.

Get to know the pixel aspect ratio compensation switch at the bottom of the comp window. It's the one with the little arrows on it. When on, it's a 16x9 image. When off, it's a squeezed 4x3 image.

If you toggle it on, don't worry if any text or graphics you add to the comp look jagged. They render out nice 'n smooth, the way they look when the switch is off.

AE does an excellent job of dealing with footage of varying pixel aspect ratios. It really does.

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


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Austin ReedyRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:34:57 pm

Okay, so you suggest just ignoring AE's "squishing" of the footage upon importing, and just treating it like normal and bringing it back into FCP should work? I'm getting ready to try another clip so I'll see if what you're describing makes sense when I'm looking at it. Thanks!

Austin

Austin Reedy
Freelance Post
Austin, TX


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Dave LaRondeRe: RE: Importing Footage
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 10:34:17 pm

[Austin Reedy] "Okay, so you suggest just ignoring AE's "squishing" of the footage upon importing, and just treating it like normal and bringing it back into FCP should work?"

Nope, I'm suggesting that you drag the footage onto the Make Comp icon at the bottom of the project window. AE does the rest. Then look at your Comp Settings for future reference.

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


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