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AE and H.264?

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Rich Camp
AE and H.264?
on Sep 22, 2010 at 5:13:50 am

Hello, I am rather new to AE and have what may be a simple question.
I created an AE project by importing an XML file from FCP using the popcorn script.
Thing is the original FCP files are H.264, now I know it is a very hard to work with codec and AE has been going very slowly and I just realized that maybe the H.264 could be the problem.
First question, would a different format be better to work with?

Since I am bringing it back into FCP which works greatly with ProRes, would that be a suitable format to use?

Last part, if H.264 could be causing problems, is there an easy way to make AE change the codec of all the video used? Or would I have to batch convert the files then reconnect?

I greatly appreciate your help! I apologize if I am not using the correct AE lingo, as I said I am new to it, but if I'm not feel free to correct me so I know in the future! Thanks!


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: AE and H.264?
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:40:45 pm

What AE version are you using?
As a rule, it is best to bring in AE uncompressed footage.
ProRes would be better than H264.
For details search for Dave's Stock Answer #1- Dave LaRonde explains in detail issues related to compression.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior Compositor/VFX Artist


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE and H.264?
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:15:19 pm

I agree with Ted on ProRes.

There are a important notes about using ProRes with After Effects, depending on which version of AE you are running. Check out Todd Kopriva's blog entries:

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE and H.264?
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:13:02 pm

[Rich Camp] "...the original FCP files are H.264, now I know it is a very hard to work with codec and AE has been going very slowly and I just realized that maybe the H.264 could be the problem."

I recommend you do a search in the COW's FCP forum on converting H.264 files. It should NEVER be used as an editing codec in FCP, and ALWAYS should be converted to ProRes 422.

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


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Rich Camp
Re: AE and H.264?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 8:51:22 pm

Thank you for all the input. I read your notes and feel Ihave a better idea of what to do.
I have half the project finished with the H.264 project using rotoscoping so I don't want to start over, is there anyway to convert/render the layers in my composition to a more friendly format while still retaining what I've worked on? Thanks


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE and H.264?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:56:47 pm

[Rich Camp] "...is there anyway to convert/render the layers in my composition to a more friendly format while still retaining what I've worked on?"

It means going back to FCP and using the Media Manager to convert H.264 to ProRes. Since AE is simply looking at a set of pointers to the footage from the XML file, the conversion should then maintain pointers to the same media... only now it's ProRes.

Before you try this, you should duplicate all your FCP & AE work thus far and store it someplace else for safety's sake.

I bet you don't make THIS mistake again!

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


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