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basic after effects composition settings question

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Ash Davis
basic after effects composition settings question
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:31:23 pm


I'm creating a short promo video with mostly photo's and several short video's. When I start doing an effect on a particular video or photo, I've simply been dragging the high res photo into the new comp button and working with those settings/dimensions, is this the right way to do it as I was watching a tutorial and they mentioned they make their own comp settings so AE can handle it?

I used the default comp settings simply because I don't know what settings you should use to make videos in. The video will be eventually shown on a big flat screen TV, can someone help me out on how I should be doing it? It's quite an important video so don't want to make a mistake early on and mess the whole project up!


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Joey Burnham
Re: basic after effects composition settings question
on Feb 2, 2011 at 9:53:56 pm

[Ash Davis] " I don't know what settings you should use to make videos in."

It totally depends on what you will be viewing it on. If you say it's a big-screen tv, see what output options the tv has. If it has 1080p 23.98 or 1080i 59.94, then use one of the easy setups for HD, but you can do custom ones as well. Below.

For 1080p 23.98

1920x1080 Frame rate: 23.976

For 1080i 59.94 (1080i)

1920x10980 Frame rate: 29.97

For 720p


Also, are you going to be playing from a blu-ray disk, dvd, or through an output from a computer playing a QT file? All of this matters.


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: basic after effects composition settings question
on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:02:35 pm

There's a lot of reading you need to catch up with (start with Wikipedia - video standards). Understanding video standards and settings is not a simple thing, basic as it may seem to be. Here's a few things to consider for your project:
Find out what will be the final standard your project will be played in. A "big flat screen tv" may be capable of reproducing quite a few av standards. So figure out what the player is- a regular DVD, a digital player, a BlueRay. My guess is that it will be a regular DVD which means standard definition (SD) with widescreen pixel aspect ratio (16:9) to fit the wide screen aspect ratio of the TV.
I have no idea where you're located so I do not know if you use NTSC (the US) or PAL (Europe).
AE has presets for all these standards.
You can choose any of them when you start a new composition.
I do not know what type of video footage you are using, so there's a lot of missing info for specific advice.
Basically you need to figure out the output standard and bring all your pieces (stills and video) in that comp.
Still images should be reduced in size if they are at a high resolution. All you need for video is 72 dpi. The size (X x Y pixels) is also determined by how big your comp size is and how much of your still you need in the frame when you "zoom in" so to speak.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Todd Kopriva
Re: basic after effects composition settings question
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:00:32 am

A good place to start is "Planning your work".

If you only have one output type to consider, your composition settings should match those of this output type. It is extremely unlikely that the settings for your high-resolution photos are appropriate for composition settings for your output.

I strongly recommend beginning here if you're just getting started with After Effects.

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support

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Khalid Gaffer
Re: basic after effects composition settings question
on Sep 20, 2012 at 3:33:57 pm

Hi Tudor,

May be I have the same but i will explain to you.

I am making promo and it will be played on widescreen monitor, iam in Egypt, Africa. here we using PAL.

I don't know how to select composition settings for HD preview, can you help me in selecting the right preset: PAL/......?

thanks in advance...


knowing tools doesn't give you credit. The skill is knowing the best way to use them!

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