Are you using CS6 or later? If the answer is yes then are you using Ray-traced rendering to extrude text or shape layers or bend other layers? If the answer is yes to both then you must use AE's render cue and you should pick a production codec for rendering. Depending on your system the best choice may be Quicktime JPEG 2000 or even Quicktime PNG. The very best would be Quicktime Animation with quality set to best if you need alpha channels. If you are on a PC then there are a few lossless codecs available.
If you are not using Ray-traced rendering then there are two options. Open you AE project in Adobe Media Encoder and choose DVD from the pre-sets or open Encore and add your AE project there and pick the comps you want to render.
The only don't is don't render mpeg compressed video from the After Effects render cue for anything except quick previews of your work. Highly compressed mpeg streams must be rendered using multi pass compression for best quality. The pre-sets are already in place in AME and Encore and they are set for the best results.
I'm using CS6 on MAC. Would you still recommend Quicktime Animation based on my deeper explonation below?
The AE project has images zooming in and out. Please see the screenshot below.
Once the image of the dolphins zooms in and takes up the whole screen, then it fades to other pictures. Those pictures pan and zoom. Then the image zoom out and the process starts over for the next thumbnail. It's basically a slideshow.
Once it cicles through all the thumbs it plays a video clip. Please see the screenshot below.
With all this said I want to burn a DVD of this project at the best quality possible. Please let me know what is better. Open the AE project in Encore and burn from there? Or Export out of AE as a Quicktime Animation and then burn with Toast or Encore?
Thank you for your advice!
I don't see anything in your screenshots that suggests you need to use Ray-traced rendering so I would just drop your AE project into Encore and burn there with the best settings. Let dynamic link do the work for you. If you want to have copies of the render on your hard drive Animation Cocec QT will work just fine.
It isn't too late though to change your composition settings to NTSC DV Wide Screen Square Pixels. I never ever set up my comps with rectangular pixels unless there is a very specific reason to do so. You will have more pixels for the compressor to work with and you will get better results. Any video from DV sources will automatically fit the square pixel comps. Everything is easier to do.
Square-pixel comps are just easier to work with. You can do your voodoo in an 854x480 29.97 comp, which is 16x9. As long as you Tell Encore that you're making a wide-screen DVD and wide-screen video, you're okay.
Which means that if you did all the hard work in 16x9 HD, just nest the comp in an SD 854x480 comp, scale the layer to fit the frame, and you're good to go.
You are looking in the wrong place. Don't mess with the Pixel Aspect ration in that pulldown ever. Instead use the d1/dv NSTC Widescreen Square Pixel Preset in Composition Settings. Only folks with a PHD in video theory have any business messing with the PAR settings. You really have to know what you are doing or you'll end up with distorted images and all kinds of other problems.
Just open that comp in Encore or render that comp and when you drop it in Encore the app will recoginze that you have a widescreen project and everything will automatically be set up properly.
I've learned something new today. Thank you for both of your help.