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Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5

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Robert HallionIssues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:40:12 pm

Hi All,

We just started upgrading some machines to CS5 from CS4 and I ran some test that are causing some issues. We normally create final products using the h.264 codec, when I ran a test no matter what I changed the bitrate to it's rendering out to around 200kbps for the video and the audio is correct at 128. Whenever I change the bitrate no matter what I change it to the final product is always roughly 200kbps. I've changed the level to High and changed the bitrate to 2mbps with no changes to the final product.

Below are the settings I'm using that worked fine in CS4. We also varied out settings depending on file sizes and quality.

Profile: Main
Level: 3.1
CBR .45 (450 kbps)
Keyframe Distance set: 55 Frames
Resolution: 940x528

Audio
ACC
High Quality
128 kbps
Bitrate

The issue is also happening to a co-workers machine who also just upgraded, we are both on Macs.
Any help would me much appreciated.



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Dave LaRondeRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:43:22 pm

You may not like this response, but I don't think it's anything to lose sleep over. I wouldn't have used AE to make H.264 filers in the first place. Here's why:

Dave's Stock Answer #3:

Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc. AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.

Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime Pro is better than compressing in AE.

Making good-looking compressed files is almost as much an art as it is a science. It is NOT straightforward at all. I recommend asking a few questions at the COW's Compression Techniques forum.

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


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Robert HallionRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:15:39 pm

Hi Dave,

I've seen you give that response before and I respect your thoughts. However, we have been using AE for at least 3 years now to created web content using the H.264 format. It has yielded us the best results as far as quality and speed goes. We create content in large volume after loads of testing this is the best route for us.

That response really doesn't help explain why AE CS5 doesn't actually change to the bitrate that I set it to. Did something change in CS5 that I'm unaware off? If I tell something to render at 1mbps I expect to receive a 1mpbs file more or less which is how any program should work when rendering.

Thanks Again!



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Dave LaRondeRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:20:52 pm

[Robert Hallion] "Did something change in CS5 that I'm unaware off?"

Sorry, I'm useless to you on that score. As you might imagine, I don't make H.264 files in AE. I hope someone else has a better answer for you.

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


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Walter SoykaRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:54:58 pm

[Robert Hallion] "I've seen you give that response before and I respect your thoughts. However, we have been using AE for at least 3 years now to created web content using the H.264 format. It has yielded us the best results as far as quality and speed goes. We create content in large volume after loads of testing this is the best route for us."

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to your question about AE not respecting your bit rate. I am also very surprised to hear the results of your tests.

I do have another workflow option to suggest.

I encode tons of H.264 content, so I bought a Matrox CompressHD accelerator card, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone working with large volumes of H.264. The quality is great and it can encode 1920x1080 HD in real time.

I generally render to ProRes or an image sequence, and then encode with the CompressHD. This leaves me a mastering-quality render as well as my ready-to-use deliverable. When multiple sizes or bit rates are necessary for delivery, it really saves a lot of time.

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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Robert HallionRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:27:18 pm

Hi Walt,

Thanks for the response. I gave prores a shot and then had the file converted in Media Encoder using the same settings. No dice, the same issue is happening in Media Encoder. Encoded the video at 450kbps and received a muddy .mp4 at 259kbps. It's odd because I still have CS4 installed and ran another rest and everything turned out as it should. I sent a bug report to Adobe but I have a feeling I'm going to have to try and get a hold of a live person. Thanks for the help.



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Walter SoykaRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:32:08 pm

What happens if you try to encode a standard sized video asset (instead of your custom size of 940x528)?

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 LaRondeRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:34:40 pm

I don't think we've asked this: Do you have the update to AE 10.0.1 yet? If this is a new install, you might not....

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


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Robert HallionRe: Issues with h.264 rendering in AE CS5
by on Jan 31, 2011 at 1:47:05 pm

Hi Dave,

Yes, I did the full update before doing anything. I'm on 10.0.1.19. The other machine we have didn't do an update and the problem was occurring on that. What I find odd is that we have had issues before with codecs and usually QuickTime is the culprit. But since since CS4 is still running fine I can role that out. Thanks again for the help!



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