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Anthony Smith
AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:37:27 pm

Dear All,

I am working in Win 7 with AE CS5, all updates installed.

I have worked on some footage that was supplied to me having been rendered out from FCP as a ProRes HQ file which I have learnt uses HDTV Rec709 colour space. basically I am trying to round-trip it back to FCP but losing contrast when rendering out of AE.

Having read various forum posts here and on Adobe's site I have amended AE's interpretation rules file so that it recognises the file. Certainly when viewing the image within AE the contrast matches that of the file as it was originally supplied to me. When rendering AE reports that 'colour values will not be modified because working space and output colour space match each other'. Looking at rendered files there is however still a loss in contrast.

I have rendered in various formats that produce a .mov but all seem to have the same problem. Clearly I am doing something wrong with my rendering, could someone point me in the right direction for rendering a ProRes HQ file from AE so I can get my workflow set up for the next shot and deliver this one.

My eternal gratitude awaits*

Thanks,

Anthony.


*unless you are the devil.


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Kevin Monahan
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:57:28 pm

Hopefully this doc will steer you in the right direction: http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2009/03/prores-422-colors-in-after-eff.h...

Kevin Monahan
Sr. Content and Community Lead
Adobe After Effects
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Systems, Inc.
Follow Me on Twitter!


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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 5:26:30 pm

Hi Kevin,

this is one of the docs i'd already consulted in my attempts to resolve the issue. Nevertheless thanks for your time and attention, all help is greatly appreciated.

best,

Anthony.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 5:47:06 pm

[Anthony Smith] "...all help is greatly appreciated."

...and we'd be glad to do so if you can tell us what's actually going on. To wit:
  • You're on a windows machine, which is incapable of encoding to ANY kind of ProRes codec, to say nothing of ProRes HQ. Thus, you've rendered to some other unknown codec, and it would be helpful to know its identity.
  • Even more fundamentally, there's no way your Windows machine could even READ ProRes HQ video. Only machines running Final Cut Suite 3 have access to the codec, and Apple doesn't make Final Cut Suite 3 for Windows. Thus, you're reading video in some other unknown codec, and it would be helpful to know its identity.

Now, there COULD be another possibility: you have somehow hacked Quicktime to both read and write to the entire family of ProRes codecs... a remarkable feat!
But since this hack would be one of a kind, we'd have no experience with the gamma settings, and how the hack would have affected them.

The ball's in your court, sir....

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


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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:27:13 pm

hi Dave,

looks like there's some forum tag going on here.

Ok firstly: - no hacking involved - don't believe in it or anything like it, no over-clocking, no messing around in the bios, everything is intel, Quadro FX cards as per Adobe's requirements. I like my machine and software just the way it was made, clean and simple so everything runs nicely, I never get hardware or software problems, becasue I don't screw with things I don't understand. Except Rendering - arguably ;o)

Anyway I'm interested that you say that:
'there's no way your Windows machine could even READ ProRes HQ video'
I too wasn't convinced that AE actually had identified the file as ProRes HQ despite me amending the Interpretation Rules File as per Adobe's suggestion. Having done this, perhaps my understanding of what it is I have done (in amending the IRF) is actually inncorrect, which it very well could be (see the link in the above post for the Adobe recommendation - i think you're probably familiar with it anyway.)

The file itself came with a .mov tag - this I know could be one of several thousand different file permutations that can be packaged as .mov - this is the instruction that the editor gave me in an email:
'OK - so you need to set After Effects to use HDTV (Rec 709) working colour space and it's probably worth using 16 bpc as ProRes (HQ) is 10 bpc.'

I have to say though that the file worked straight away when imported into the project, AE did default to sRGB colour space but it basically worked fine.

Certainly the editor is editing online with FCP7 in ProRes HQ and told me verbally I will be working in ProRes, the above email states ProRes HQ - not sure what to say beyond that. I've been carrying out a repair on some of the footage so I assume he has given me a file of equivalent quality to that which he is using. It may not actually be ProRes HQ but for the purpose of the job it must be of a very similar quality.

Clearly this is a bit of a mystery - I'm sure there is a very simple solution that can be accounted for through my inexperience, that said if you're intrigued, is there some kind of data I can post to help perhaps resolve the mystery of the codec?

Many thanks again,

Anthony.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 7:00:04 pm

[Anthony Smith] "is there some kind of data I can post to help perhaps resolve the mystery of the codec?"

This is REALLY easy: highlight the footage in the AE project window. Information about the clip will be displayed at the top, and the codec's name will be there.

Later in this thread, I writer a post about using using image sequences. If you and your editor discover that this particular codec works well, you can ignore it.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 7:14:12 pm

[Anthony Smith] "Anyway I'm interested that you say that:
'there's no way your Windows machine could even READ ProRes HQ video'"


I think the ProRes decoder included with recent versions of Quicktime decodes ProRes HQ.


[Anthony Smith] "'OK - so you need to set After Effects to use HDTV (Rec 709) working colour space and it's probably worth using 16 bpc as ProRes (HQ) is 10 bpc.' "

Here's where it gets tricky. What codec are you rendering to? QT Animation is only 8-bit. If you need to return 10-bit video, then you'll have to use something else. You might be able to use either Avid's DNxHD codec or AJA or BMD's Uncompressed 10-bit codec (with your project set to at least 16 bit and rendering with Trillions of Colors), but your editor will also have to install the codec on his or her machine.

Image sequences could also work (again, 16-bit project and Trillions of Colors rendering), but it will make extra work for your editor to stitch them back together into a movie before he could use them with FCP.

If it's ok to return 8-bit video, then you're all right as you are.

For whatever it's worth, I wish Apple would sell a cross-platform ProRes encoder, independent of Final Cut Studio. It's a great codec, and it's got a lot of industry support, but the cross-platform situation is frustrating.

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 to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:12:20 pm

Well, I AM WRONG.

I just went to the Apple web site, and the three newest version are ProRes 422 Proxy, ProRes 422 LT and ProRes 4444. Those are the three that the ProRes plugin for QT can't read.

HQ is okay.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 14, 2010 at 10:00:44 pm

You can't encode ProRes on a Windows machine -- you can only decode it. What format are you encoding to? How are you monitoring the gamma shift?

I've noticed gamma shifts when rendering to Quicktime Animation codec that can be easily resolved in FCP. After importing the item, select it in the browser, hit Cmd-9 to pull up item properties, right-click on the gamma value (defaults to Source) and select 2.20.

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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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 5:40:22 pm

Hi Walter,

I think you might have identified the gaps in my knowledge here, from what you've said it seems that basically i'm trying to do something that can't be done. It seems you've also offered a good solution too :o)

I had been encoding back to quicktime and trying to keep the settings as high quality as possible. Needless to say i'm fairly new to industry workflows and facing the universe of potential rendering options available within AE, decided the simplest answer was potentially the best one and therefore give the file back with the .mov tag it came with.

Thanks for the info, I'll know not to spend hours exploring AE seeking out which rendering permutation in enables ProRes HQ in one of the various menus. :o)

Best,

Anthony.


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Tony Mines
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Mar 13, 2012 at 4:19:25 pm

I'm trying to export from AE CS5 to FCP7 on a mac and retain consistency. Ultimately I'm trying to get around the ol' h264 shift when I upload to web - but I haven't even got that far yet, I'm still just trying to get consistency between AE and FCP.

My AE project is using the HDTV Rec709 color profile. I exported an Animation file with 16bit color for use in fcp. I used 16bit in case I want to export to ProResHQ and accommodate it's 10bit color without a shift, and I used Animation because I read here that it doesn't gamma shift from AE:
http://vitrolite.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/quicktime_gamma_bug/

Treating my AE project as source, and the desired coloration, the result in fcp is a severe lightening or white-wash adjustment, such as I might expect from a bad h264 upload. And if I change the items gamma as you suggest as the easy fix, there is no displayed change.
My FCP timeline in this instance is conformed to the Animation clips settings, and will not allow me to access the sequences 'video processing' settings.

The linked article didn't specify whether ProRes from AE was supposed to impose a gamma shift, so I exported a second, ProRes file from AE, still using HDTV Rec709 as the color profile. The result in FCP from the ProRes is a slight but still noticeable darkening.

The ProRes clip itself has no option to select or change the gamma, but in it's own conformed timeline, it does allow for a change of sequence settings. My video processing settings here are currently set at 10bit YUV and Maximum White at white - which seemed correct if I'm trying to avoid adjustment?

But I'm getting adjustment already in both cases, and in two different directions. Help?

Specifically, what should I be exporting as from AE to retain consistency all the way to upload (be it to FCP or another re-encoder) and what color processing settings should I be using in FCP, if indeed that even matters?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 14, 2010 at 10:12:21 pm

[Anthony Smith] "I am working in Win 7 with AE CS5, all updates installed.... I have worked on some footage that was supplied to me having been rendered out from FCP as a ProRes HQ file...."

I'm puzzled: are you absolutely certain it's ProRes HQ?

I cut in Final Cut Pro, and to my knowledge ProRes HQ is available ONLY on Macs running Final Cut Pro 7. Obviously, you're not doing that. Furthermore, I know of NO non-FCP-equipped Mac capable of rendering any of the ProRes family of codecs.

Could this be ProRes 422, for which you have the Quicktime READER? I still don't understand how you'd render in ProRes at all.

Either I need some schooling, or you need to do some explaining. I won't rule out the schooling; it won't be the first time I've been wrong.

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


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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:01:31 pm

Hi Dave,

ok, time for me to do the explaining methinks:

The file came/was rendered out on a Mac running FCP7 - i'm pretty sure it is indeed ProRes HQ. I think the confusion has arisen because as Walter identified above (as has your goodself too) that basically I'm trying to do something that can't be done: render ProRes on windows. It had been suggested to me that there was a solution to the problem though that would smooth out our pipeline, I assumed it was me to render in the correct format. Perhaps there is an accepted workaround but it seems that it may lay more with tweaking the file's gamma back on the Mac.

It all seems so obvious now. Doh!

Thank you all the same, it's great to have had three useful replies in less than 24 hours. Thank you :o)

Best

Anthony.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:48:22 pm

Thanks for the clarification: both Walter and I thought you had somehow been able to both read and write ProRes HQ, which was really messing with our brains.

I have a dandy solution for you: image sequences. Certain types can support up to 24-bit color and alpha channels.
  • Your FCP person exports an image sequence.
  • You import it, and using the Interpret Footage settings, you set the sequence to the proper frame rate.
  • You then do your AE voodoo, and render an image sequence.
  • Your FCP person then imports the sequence into FCP, or uses Quicktime Pro to open the sequence and export a quicktime movie in the desired codec.
This is a great solution if you're working on individual shots. If you're color correcting an entire program, it's not so good.

I have limited experience with image sequences, but I HAVE used them. Walter has extensive experience, so I hope he jumps back into this thread.

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


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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:59:18 pm

hi Dave,

thanks for that, I juts emailed the editor and he confirms it was a ProRes 442 HQ file he gave me so AE can read it, but certainly not write it.

Have forwarded on the Image Sequence suggestion for consideration.

Would be good to see if Walter can foresee any potential issues - with the suggested method - such as loss of quality?

best & thanks again

Anthony.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 8:45:12 pm

[Anthony Smith] "I juts emailed the editor and he confirms it was a ProRes 442 HQ file he gave me so AE can read it, but certainly not write it."

Anthony, that just can't be. ProRes HQ is only available on Macs running FCP 7. You've got a Windows machine that can't run FCP 7. See the problem?

Do me a favor: highlight the footage in the AE project window. Read the information at the top. Find out the codec. If it indeed says "ProRes HQ", I'll apologize and shut up.

And you should never, EVER modify that machine of yours again, because you may have to my knowledge the ONLY Windows machine in captivity capable of reading ProRes HQ.

You see, until we know for sure what kind of video file you have, it's tough to advise you on what to do.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:12:28 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "ProRes HQ is only available on Macs running FCP 7. You've got a Windows machine that can't run FCP 7."

Dave, I can confirm that the latest version of Quicktime on Windows reads ProRes HQ (and ProRes 4444, though I haven't tested it with an alpha channel).

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 to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:23:20 pm

Well, that's news to me. Wow! 4444, huh? I gotta get that for my new Windows machine.

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


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Anthony Smith
Re: AE to FCP ProRes HQ export settings.
on Oct 17, 2010 at 12:06:52 am

That's good news, we live and learn.

Best,

Anthony.


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Dave LaRonde
Okay, I'm Wrong!
on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:19:08 pm

I just went to the Apple web site. The ProRes Reader for QT should be able to see HQ video. I was wrong.

The ones the reader can't see are ProRes Proxy, ProRes LT and ProRes 4444.

And I agree with Walter -- this whole Apple/Windows codec business has been out of control for a long time. It's a pain.

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


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