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After Effects Keeps Squeezing My Files!

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Roman Vaulin
After Effects Keeps Squeezing My Files!
on Jul 16, 2010 at 7:31:08 pm

So today After Effects decided to be a jerk to me and now whenever I try to import a video, for example, that's 1920x1080, AE squeezes it to 1440x1080. It does the same thing when I try to import some 1141 × 896 images that I need to have. Did I press the wrong button on the keyboard or something?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects Keeps Squeezing My Files!
on Jul 16, 2010 at 7:52:28 pm

You need to learn a little more about your HDV camera -- it doesn't make 1920x1080 pictures, it makes 1440x1080 pictures! Surprise! That's how HDV works!

Here's what you do: take a clip of that HDV video, and drag it onto the Make Comp icon at the bottom of the project window. AE makes a comp based on the footage's settings. If it still looks squeezed horizontally, get to know the Pixel Aspect Ratio Compensation switch, found at the bottom of the Comp window. You'll see the picture in 16x9.

Something else that's good to know: unless you have AE 10 (CS5), that HDV footage is gonnagive you fits. Read on:

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'm a Mac guy, so I like to convert to Quicktime movies in the Animation or PNG codecs; both are lossless. I'll use Apple's Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder or Quicktime Pro to do it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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