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After Effects PAL XDCAM HD MXF import issue

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Tom Nelson
After Effects PAL XDCAM HD MXF import issue
on Mar 22, 2010 at 6:50:59 pm

We're running AE CS4 (full version)on an HP z800 and we need to work on PAL XDCAM HD MXF files. When we attempt to import, we get an error message that's telling us it cannot import mxf because ".mxf is damaged or unsupported."

I was quite certain that AE didn't care whether you're working in PAL or NTSC. Also, I'm quite certain this worked on my PowerMac at home.

Is there a know fix for this, or am I screwed?

Thanks in advance for the assistance.


Tom Nelson
Essex Television Group

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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects PAL XDCAM HD MXF import issue
on Mar 22, 2010 at 7:09:40 pm

[Tom Nelson] "Is there a know fix for this, or am I screwed? "

PAL/NTSC -- not a problem for AE. Let's get that out of the way first.

There's no known fix as in, "you can use these files just the way they are by doing the following:". The best fix is probably a transcode. I'd want to do this upon ingest, but you might want to do this at some other point in the workflow. It's not so much the MXF wrapper as it is the codec within that wrapper that requires the transcode.

Why? Because XDCAM HD is a form of Mpeg2. Not only is mpeg2 a lossy codec, it's toxic to AE:

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, AVCHD, 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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