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Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence

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Jonathan LutjensHelp! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 6:23:05 pm

Hello,

As I suspected, Murphy's Law is in full effect with this project.

I'm creating a 16 minute video comprised of still images over an animated background (from Maya). This video is 3600x1080 and will be projected onto a 50x15 foot screen.

I've rendered out 3 png sequences (on 3 different machines, all through CS4) to avoid crashes and to simply speed up the process.
Now I'm trying to stitch those 3 sequences into 1 H.264 quicktime movie (which is what I have to deliver to the production company) and things are not going well. After Effects seems to be getting hung up on certain files in the sequence, but the files open fine in PS and show no apparent corruption.

Anyone have similar experiences in their cache of nightmare projects?

Suggestions?

I've had luck in the past using Shake to do this kind of thing, but unfortunately I don't have access to Shake.


Thanks,

Jon


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Dave LaRondeRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:03:42 pm

3600x1080 isn't overly large. How are you stitching these png sequences together? Are you using any effects?

Multiprocessing is a no-no on machines with 4GB RAM or less. Turn it off.
Open GL rarely does AE any favors when rendering. Make sure it's off for rendering.

Here's probably the most definitive pice of information I can give you, and it's about rendering out an H.264:

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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Jonathan LutjensRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:14:13 pm

Thanks for the response.

I got an error with multi-processing turned off (although this machine has 16G of RAM).

AEGP Plugin PNGIO Support: PNGIO library error:

I can't remember the rest. Something about too many characters or the like. I'm trying to do a rename on the sequence to see if that helps.

I will also try to switch over to Media Encoder.

Sorry for short responses, I'm trying to get this thing out the door!!!


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Walter SoykaRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:12:13 pm

[Jonathan Lutjens] "Now I'm trying to stitch those 3 sequences into 1 H.264 quicktime movie (which is what I have to deliver to the production company) and things are not going well. After Effects seems to be getting hung up on certain files in the sequence, but the files open fine in PS and show no apparent corruption."

I design motion media for widescreen events, too, and I'm curious why the production company is asking for a 3600x1080 h.264.

First, the production company is almost certainly going to have to either anamorphically squish your output, or re-split your output again (probably into 2 channels of 1920x1080 video) for playback. If you can get some more details on the playback system and its requirements, you can probably avoid an unnecessary generational loss and extra work on-site.

Secondly, you shouldn't use After Effects for compressing h.264. It's not capable of multi-pass compression, which is necessary for good encodes. Instead, you can make a lossless movie from AE and use another compression program like Compressor, Episode, or Squeeze.

Thirdly, you may or may not get unexpected results encoding and playing h.264 in a non-standard frame size that large.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jonathan LutjensRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:44:57 pm

Thanks for the responses.

When you guys say that AE is incapable of multi-pass compression, does that mean that the final movies won't play correctly and will have file errors, or simply that AE doesn't do correct compression for H.264 and one should use another piece of software in order to get the best looking color, motion, etc?



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Jonathan LutjensRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 7:52:24 pm

Question #2:

Is there any reason that a png sequence would be causing the problem? I mean the file type.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Jacques DavisRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:42:46 pm

Did you copy or moved your png files from a folder to an other , from a hard drive to an other ?
I did and sometimes some files get corrupted.

AEX do not accept them and give you an error message.

These corrupted files seems to look fine when you open them in photoshop but if you look closer
you can see that the top or the bottom line is lightly corrupted, it seems that the line start with pixel two instead of pixel one.

In this case you just have te re render these png files

hope it helps


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Jonathan LutjensRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 10:51:07 pm

Thanks Jacques,

I think that actually did happen. I went back and looked more closely at some files and it looks like during a copy they were indeed funktified.

Thankfully, the original files are still ok!



Jon


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Walter SoykaRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:22:15 pm

[Jonathan Lutjens] "When you guys say that AE is incapable of multi-pass compression, does that mean that the final movies won't play correctly and will have file errors, or simply that AE doesn't do correct compression for H.264 and one should use another piece of software in order to get the best looking color, motion, etc?"

AE should create a perfectly compliant h.264 file, but multi-pass compression really improves the visual quality of the final product. It allows the compressor to analyze the video before it makes any compression decisions, so the output tends to show less blocking or banding.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jonathan LutjensRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 11:58:31 pm

Thanks for all your help, everyone.

Things are looking much better. I'm starting a new render tonight and hopefully, tomorrow I'll be in business.

It looks like 1 of my stitching attempts worked, so I only need to re-render 2/3s of the movie. Thankfully, I've done this enough that I built in plenty of time to the schedule for just this kind of crisis!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Help! Problems stitching together large format sequence
by on Feb 3, 2010 at 4:50:21 pm

[Jonathan Lutjens] "...AE doesn't do correct compression for H.264 and one should use another piece of software in order to get the best looking color, motion, etc? "

That is correct. Another piece of software will be able to make a better-looking file because it can do multipass compression.

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


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