Hey everyone, this is something i've just been wondering about. Correct me if i'm wrong but its my understanding that with 10-bit depth footage or higher After effects crunches it to 8-bit after the render/export. If that's the case then what is the actual point of capturing at higher bit depths in the first place if we can't maintain them when it comes down to final delivery?
Thanks very much for any help.
Hey everyone, this is something i've just been wondering about. Correct me if i'm wrong but its my understanding that with 10-bit depth footage or higher After effects crunches it to 8-bit after the render/export.
You're only partly wrong. If you keep the project 8bit then you're right, but that's a terrible workflow. Where most folks foul up is in the rendering.
After Effects offers 8bit, 16bit, and 32bit processing options. If you render a 32bit project to an 8 bit codec, you get 8bits, but if you render a 32bit project to a 10bit codec (Black Magic, ProRez, or several other flavors of higher bit depth codecs) you get a 10bit product. You can also render to 16 or 32 bit image sequences.
All of these settings are available in the Adobe Media Encoder or through the Output Module settings in the Render Cue. Since I work primarily on a Mac all of my production renders are to ProRez 422 or 444 (10bit) unless I'm freelancing at a facility that works with another capture card. Most places I work use Black Magic cards so we render to the Black Magic 10 bit codec.
My standard workflow is to start with an 8bit project, set up the project and render motion and compositing tests, then switch to a 32bit project settings, do the color correction, then render to a production codec that is at least 10bit.
BTW, don't use the export feature in AE for any kind of delivery. Export's only professionally usable export is Flash Professional XFL if you need animated motion or text in a flash project or Premiere Pro Project if you want to use Premiere to edit your AE project.
I hope this helps.