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To what format do I render it?

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Eliezer CisnerTo what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 1:42:52 pm

I'm making a presentation in After Effects (1024x768) to be shown enlarged through a projector. What is the best format to render it out to?

Prompt reply will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!


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David JohnsonRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 1:59:48 pm

Most people render from AE with a lossless (or at least very high quality) codec like PNG, Animation, ProRes (if on Mac), or even Uncompressed; then, use separate compression/conversion software like Sorenson Squeeze, MPEG StreamClip, Adobe Media Converter, Compressor, etc. to convert the master file to needed delivery format(s).

It sounds like H264 or MPG4 would be a good delivery codec in your situation since they're pretty high quality, but also small and nimble enough that most any computer can play them easily. That last point is not true of the lossless codecs typically used for master files, but there are two main advantages of doing it that way:

1] you always have a full-resolution master file to make multiple delivery formats from as needed (local playback, web, DVD, etc.)

2] you can take advantage of the additional compression/conversion controls available in software intended for that purpose to make better delivery files (AE isn't intended as software to generate final delivery files so it doesn't do it as well as some others)


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Eliezer CisnerRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 2:28:46 pm

Wow! That was fast! Thank you very much, David!

OK, I don't have any third party compression/conversion software (money is kinda an issue these days...), and for some reason, when trying to export to H.264, I get this message:



Any help with this one?


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Eliezer CisnerRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 3:05:42 pm

Oops, I just made this post unintentionally "Solution", I hope this won't make me left answer-less.


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David JohnsonRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 4:24:26 pm

Only to add to the good advice Todd always gives, I'll mention that I believe MPEG StreamClip is still free.


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Todd KoprivaRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 5, 2010 at 4:14:54 pm

Regarding that error message: See this page, which explains output module constraints. The gist is that some formats have strict rules for their parameters, and your chosen output settings don't comply with those rules. As the page that I pointed to says, the message isn't very friendly in CS4, but the information is there; just read the error message carefully and do what it says. There are also notes in the Comments field of the Export Settings dialog box for the H.264 preset that you chose.

In After Effects CS5, this is all handled in a much more user-friendly way.

Regarding your original question about what format to output to: I strongly recommend an article by Aharaon Rabinowitz here on the COW. I link to it from near the top of this page about planning your work. The gist is that you should always ask your client what exact specifications they have for delivery; or, if you're uploading to a website, look at their exact specifications. Don't guess. Ask the folks that will be receiving the output.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
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Eliezer CisnerRe: To what format do I render it?
by on Sep 6, 2010 at 10:31:33 pm

Thanks a ton to Todd and David for your help! It was both helpful for what I needed and greatly appreciated!!!


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