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Banding and Aspect Ratio Question

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David BarkBanding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 19, 2010 at 5:44:59 pm

Well, I've been asking a lot of questions in here over the last couple of weeks, and I'm almost finished with my first full-blown AE project. It might not be the coolest thing you've ever seen, but it's far and away the coolest thing I've ever done! Thanks to everyone for your helpful insights, particularly Dave, and thanks to Andrew and Dean for the inspiring tutorials. The project relies heavily on Sure Target (and have been lost trying to animate the camera manually) and a series of write-on strokes that lead the camera from target to target.

There are a couple of issues I still need to tweak, however. I used yet another technique of Andrew's to change the background, Star solid and stroke layers color as the camera jumps to different targets. Basically a single adjustment layer with tint and curves animated. The thing is, it looks like whenever the tint is up, there's quite a bit of banding going on in the radial gradient background. (Actually I can see it in the beginning blue, too, I just didn't really notice until the brighter colors were involved.) Any thoughts about that?

The other problem I'm having is with the aspect ratio when I make a movie. Using the default settings, I'm getting a 1.5 gb QT movie that plays 16:9 in Qucktime Player but displays 4:3 in Quicktime Pro 7? I took that movie into Compressor to reduce the size, and I get the same playback results. What's worse is it plays 4:3 when I upload to Vimeo.

Comp size in AE is Preset: DVCPro HD 720 23.976
It's 960 x 720
Pixel Aspect Ratio:HDV 1080/DVCPRO HD 720 (1.33)

The finished movie (the big one) is:
960 x 720
Animation

I'm thinking the animation might be the problem? I'm also thinking that when I drop this into FCP to add a logo at the beginning and a VO, this is going to be solved on that render, since the movies that play in the AE project are FCP products:

960 x 720
H.264, AAC
HD (1-1-1)

They display fine in QT and QT 7 Pro.

I know that all the nifty little techniques in the world don't mean a thing if I can't get my video to display properly. That's the knowledge that separates the pros from the not-so-pros, right? I also know that no one is likely looking forward to explaining codecs and aspect ratios, but if someone could point me in the right direction, I promise I'll take the time to learn!

Anyway, here's a link to the Vimeo file. UPDATE: Been playing around as I was writing this, and managed to get a 16:9 video out of compressor The banding on this one, however, looks more intense than ever!


Video

David Bark
Lightshine Productions


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Andy GeorgeRe: Banding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 19, 2010 at 9:07:35 pm

Hi David,


It's pretty common to run into banding on a 8bit project with gradients.

The traditional method to reduce banding is to introduce a small amount of grain or noise into the image. the Noise HSL filter works well for this as does add grain. Add grain is more render intensive. You might have to play with them a bit and do some test renders to get it just right.

As for the aspect ratio, your composition uses non-square pixels. Final cut and after effects are able to correct for these oblong pixels giving you a 960 x 720 image that appears 1280x720. Quicktime player does not make this correction, so your video appears 960x720. Unless there is a specific reason you are working in non square pixels you could simplify the process by changing your composition frame size to 1280 x 720 w/ square pixels (PAR 1.0) Then it will look the same regardless what program you play it in.


-Andy


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David JohnsonRe: Banding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 19, 2010 at 10:24:01 pm

About the banding part, as Andy said, adding grain/noise works. For additional ideas and Todd K.'s good explanation of common issues, check out the threads below and I'm sure there are plenty of others:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/972516#972552

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/953147#953155


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Jon BaggeRe: Banding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 20, 2010 at 2:11:12 pm

As an alternative to adding noise/grain, you could try to add some smoke/fog in the background. It might suit quite well the style you've used.



--------------
Jon Bagge
Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects


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David BarkRe: Banding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 20, 2010 at 6:28:22 pm

Thanks, guys, for the suggestions and clarifications. Let me ask this:

If I wanted to, coul I just go into project settings and switch to 16 bit?
Will that affect the video clips, which came out of FCP and my understanding is that everything that comes out of FCP is 8 bit?
Is longer render time the only downside to increasing the bpc (I was going to say bitrate, but that's audio, right?)?
Does Quicktime even support more than 8 pits per channel?

David Bark
Lightshine Productions


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Andy GeorgeRe: Banding and Aspect Ratio Question
by on Jun 20, 2010 at 11:20:44 pm

Hi David,

If I wanted to, could I just go into project settings and switch to 16 bit?


It's best to establish your color depth at the start of a project rather than at then end. Depending on the types of filter you have used some things might not look exactly the same. Generally not a huge issue if you don't mind re tweaking some things

It would probably help with your banding issues, but ultimately when you deliver the file if it's for web or television you will be back to 8bits (or 10 at the very most) in the end with the same problem. It "might" look slightly better.

Will that affect the video clips, which came out of FCP and my understanding is that everything that comes out of FCP is 8 bit?
Final cut can do 10bit if your using the proress 422 codec. There may be others as well.
If your rendering 8 bit video in AE as 16 bit it won't change the appearance of the 8 bit video, just the file size.

Is longer render time the only downside to increasing the bpc

files size and possibly a false sense of security would be the other drawbacks

Does Quicktime even support more than 8 pits per channel?

Yes. It depends on the codec. Some are 8 bit like animation, some are 10 bit like
prores, some are 16bit like a Tiff sequence. Im no web guy but I would assume the standard web delivery stuff would be 8bit.

-Andy


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