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Best Rendering for my situation

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Mark GusmannBest Rendering for my situation
by on Apr 16, 2010 at 8:38:57 pm

I'm pretty new to After Effects and I want to know the best way to handle rendering for this situation.

I'm working on a series of about 20 short animations that need to eventually be combined a put on DVDs to be played on a Samsung model LE32B530, 32" LCD, Format 16:9, 1920X1080 screen.

I'm not sure how to go about rendering the animations, combining them, and transferring them onto a DVD while keeping the best resolution possible. I'm also worried about the animations skipping around during the exhibition because when I export 10 sec of lossless I get a 1 GB+ file that doesn't play well on my computer (skips frames/ seconds of video). The animations that are doing this are ones where I am moving photos around.

I have set my file up at the 1920X1080 size and a 29.97 frame rate.

I know this is a doosie and any information will help. I just don't want to get too far down the road with this project and having to back track and redo the animations.


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Steve RobertsRe: Best Rendering for my situation
by on Apr 18, 2010 at 3:05:20 pm

In order to play a high-quality video at a high-data-rate codec (such as Animation) smoothly without skipping, you probably need to have a RAID array hooked up to your computer. This is because each frame of the file is just too big for the computer to read at your desired frame rate. This is expected behaviour by the pros, because nobody expects to play back high-data rate-files without a RAID. Those files are supposed to be high-quality renders used for further processing by another app -- compressing by that other app into a form that can be played back: lower-quality, lower data rate.

For example: you work in AE, render "lossless" to the Animation codec, then use Compressor to process that high-quality movie to MPEG-2, then use DVD Studio Pro to make a DVD containing those MPEG-2 movies. If, in the middle of that process, you'd want to see your movie play back, you'd use Quicktime Pro to compress it to H.264 codec, to reduce its data rate so it can play. But sorry, on current hardware, you cannot play back a high-data-rate movie smoothly.

The display is only relevant in that it is a TV, 16x9. 1920x1080 is irrelevant -- what is more important is the use of DVD. The DVD spec is 720x480. No questions, no arguments. However, it can handle widescreen 16x9 or standard 4:3.

Yes, setting up your composition (not "file") at 1920x1080, 29.97 is fine for future-proofing. Work in that. When it's time to render, drag that comp into an NTSC DV widescreen preset comp. This is the comp you will render to a high-quality movie using the "lossless' preset, probably adding audio to the output module. Next, take that movie into something like compressor to make an MPEG-2 (m2v) video file and ac3 (probably) audio file. Next, import those into your DVD authoring app.

As for stringing them together, you have two choices: a) render one long movie by stringing comps together in AE, or b) render each one separately then compress each to MPEG-2/ac3 (as described), then import each of those into your DVD authoring app, make each a track, then link them together there. I'd prefer b), because if you had to change one animation or change the order, you wouldn't have to render the entire thing again. Keep in mind that in AE, you can queue up the render of all your comps, and in something like Compressor, you can queue up the compression tasks. Queue up, hit go, and go for a coffee.

Does that make sense?

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Mark GusmannRe: Best Rendering for my situation
by on Apr 19, 2010 at 4:13:14 pm

This all makes sense. Really appreciate the information.
Thanks Steve

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