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Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film

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Evan Seitz
Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:14:53 pm

Hey guys - I'm making a movie where I'm exporting my scenes from After Effects into a FCP timeline. These scenes are pretty meaty with lots of particle effects and multiple layers.

To save space on my hard drive - should I be exporting as ProRes 422 or just keep on choosing "Animation"?

Basically, what is the common method for this kind of work flow?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:20:24 pm

Do you have BOTH FCP and AE installed on the same machine? If you don't, you can't use ProRes -- the codec comes only with FCP. Sorry.

And DON'T EXPORT!!! Render using AE's Render Queue! You can use either Animation or PNG -- both codecs are lossless and support alpha channels. PNG has slightly smaller file sizes.

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


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Joey Foreman
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:40:39 am

I'd go ProRes HQ since your source animations have 4:4:4 chroma subsampling.

But if you need an alpha channel, ProRes 4444.


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Evan Seitz
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:55:27 am

Thanks for the quick responses!

I have FCP and AE - and the ProRes option shows up in my renderer (which I'm using, not exporting).

Is there a noticeable loss in quality between Animation/PNG and ProRes?

Also, what's the difference between ProRes HQ, ProRes, and LT??


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 1:03:39 am

[Evan Seitz] "Also, what's the difference between ProRes HQ, ProRes, and LT??"

On the FCP forum, they recommend the use of ProRes HQ only if you're working 2k files (or larger) from something like a RED camera; otherwise, ProRes 422 is just fine.

ProRes LT is more of an offline codec. You capture tons of footage in it, do your edit, LOCK DOWN the edit, then recapture only the footage you used in the higher-quality ProRes codecs.

ProRes vs. Animation? ProRes is 10-bit, and Animation is 8-bit. But ProRes has more compression than Animation, making for much smaller file sizes and a miniscule hit in quality. Animation is lossless.

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


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Evan Seitz
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 1:07:07 am

I see - some great information here, thank you so much!

Knowing this, I've got some thinking to do, lol.

:)


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Illya Laney
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 10:04:15 am

What was the original footage shot on? Is this all just graphics etc? Do you plan on grading the footage after you import it back into FCP? The real answer depends on the answers to these questions.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Evan Seitz
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 1:23:30 pm

The scenes are composed of multiple layered images making up a destroyed city, 720p Sky Backgrounds, Vignettes, and eventually, keyed out actors moving within them (which will be filmed with a HD camera - just not sure which one yet - but probably something along the lines of a 7D).

The footage is already color graded with curves, levels, and hue/saturation in AE and then just plopped into FCP for audio and organizational purposes. Everything in both apps is being done in AE's NTSC Widescreen Square Pixel preset.


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Illya Laney
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 2:45:52 pm

Just curious, but why are you using those dimensions?

If you're going to keep compositing with those clips, I'd suggest rendering out ProRes 4444.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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Evan Seitz
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 2:52:08 pm

Thanks for the info! I chose those settings because most of the graphics I'm using to fill in the city scenes are montaged together from numerous clips of crumbling buildings, etc. from around the web. And many times, the dimensions of these clips are only so large. Anything bigger than 872x486 begins to lose quality, fast.

Will there be a noticeable difference in quality using 4444?


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Illya Laney
Re: Export Settings for High Quality Indie Film
on Mar 6, 2010 at 3:06:11 pm

I think you should just use 4444 to help prevent the images from losing any more quality. ProRes 422 isn't a codec meant for compositing so if you plan on processing the images more, don't use it.

Motion Design, Color, Editing
Simulated Wood Grain Cabinet Inc.
Bunim-Murray Productions


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