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Cross Conversion

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Julio IbanezCross Conversion
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 12:43:39 pm

I'm trying to center-cut some footage shot at 1920x1080 on a DSLR rig. They're all H.264 Quicktimes. I like the flexibility that AE has traditionally given me on jobs like this for a few shots, so I tried it on this project and it's more than tripling my file-size even though I'm rendering DOWN to a 720x486 comp.

I've got 96 of these to do and the first 20 are already eating up 80GB of space. And the files only get bigger from there.

My Settings are based on the Best Settings output module (field render set to Even is the only deviation)

And Lossless is the output module with no changes there. Since I'm downconverting from and HD resolution, I can't imagine this additional data is actually adding anything to my picture. Are there other codecs that AE handles well that might not take up too much more room?

I've also tried Quicktime Pro export but somehow the results are just really brutal on any horizontal lines.


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Steve RobertsRe: Cross Conversion
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:51:49 pm

There's more to file size than just frame size. The original files had a bigger frame size, but they were more compressed than the downconverts, I'd wager, since the Lossless module uses the Animation codec, a high-quality intermediate codec. H.264 is a more lossy delivery codec that gives smaller file sizes at the loss of some quality. In other words, you went from large-frame low-quality to small-frame high-quality.

You can try lowering the quality of the Animation codec (in "options" in the Output Module) or try the PNG movie codec or Photo-JPEG instead of Animation.



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Julio IbanezRe: Cross Conversion
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 5:02:48 pm

Thanks for the suggesions! I'll give those a shot.

Is there a significant quality loss in the PNG output side? These look pretty good to start, despite being H.264, and will need to be acceptable to broadcast once all is said and done.





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Walter SoykaRe: Cross Conversion
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:10:28 pm

[Julio Ibanez] "Is there a significant quality loss in the PNG output side? These look pretty good to start, despite being H.264, and will need to be acceptable to broadcast once all is said and done."

Quicktime with a PNG compressor is always mathematically lossless. Quicktime with Animation (and JPEG 2000, I believe) is mathematically lossless at 100%, and lossy at any other value. These codecs all support alpha channels.

Quicktime with Photo-JPEG is mathematically lossy at any quality setting, but may be "visually lossless" (I hate that term!) at very high settings. It has no alpha support.

What's the next step in your production pipeline with these shots? If you're going to an FCP edit, ProRes might be your best option. If Avid, DNxHD. Both these codecs are mathematically lossy but visually lossless, and they might be a big improvement for your workflow.

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
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Julio IbanezRe: Cross Conversion
by on Apr 12, 2010 at 1:10:35 pm

Next step is editorial with Avid. The thing is we're delivering SD/centercut so DNxHD or just directly importing is oddly a problem. Its either letterbox for a file with 16:9 native dimensions or squeezed. Avid won't do the math to centercut an HD file import (at least not that I've found after much searching and noodling)

I'll probably bring them in letterbox and just re-render the needed shots through After Effects. The preferred method with this client is to keep everything broadcast ready because of short delivery timelines, but in this case, with the render sizes and other issues, I might just have to do some quick onlining work to get the job done.

In any case, thanks Walter and Steve, for the suggestions!


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