I recently opened up After Effects and had a popup box come up after I put a mp4 video into my timeline saying whether or nor I'd like to use ffdshow just this once, always, or never. I put never, because I didn't know what it did, but then after research I realized it decoded the video or whatever so that After Effects could support the video. Now, all my mp4 videos just show up as blank boxes on my projects, is there any way for me to change the settings so that I could use ffdshow?
I don't think your going to find any good answers to this question.
MP4 is an interframe codec and not suitable for working with in AE.
As such none of the professionals here use it for compositing work.
Your best route would be to convert your video to something else first.
Dave LaRonde explains:
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, mts, 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.
I believe there are only three stock answers, at least that's all I could find
Searching the forum here. You may have to ask the man himself if he has a
larger collection stashed somewhere :)
Dave's Stock Answer #2:
When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.
Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.
And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the work.
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.
FFDShow does this to avoid conflicts with some programs.
If you want to be able to see that MP4 in AE (not recommended anyway), go to the ffdshow video config, "DirectShow control" and remove the AfterFX.exe file from the "don't use ffdhsow in" textbox.