First, Apple stopped supporting and developing H.264 in a QuickTime container. You don't want to do that. Second, the output module in the Render Cue is not capable of multi pass rendering and all MPEG encoding benefits from MP rendering. Third, the ability to render a very clean mp4 using H.264 compression is included in the Adobe Media Encoder along with some really good presets for common delivery standards.
All of this information in available in the Help files and is posted all over this forum and the net in general.
If the Adobe Media Encoder does not solve your problem then get back to us. If every rendering option gives you a black screen then you have other problems with your comp and we need workflow details.
alright, media encoder seems to have solved my problem!
MyHelp files freeze up and when I google, one of the first links is to come here.
"All of this information in available in the Help files and is posted all over this forum and the net in general."
Why not add some actual help or just say nothing. Makes it look like you'ld rather not help.
What is a forum supposed to be for anyway, to scorn people who come come for help. Maybe they have beenlooking but been unlucky... land here and get told this...
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here's the Adobe help file about rendering: Basics of rendering and exporting in After Effects CC
if you want to have an option to render H.264 under Quicktime, you need to have Quicktime installed. but be aware that this specific codec under quicktime is giving poor results in quality and size. you are better off rendering your composition thorough Adobe Media Encoder by adding the composition to the render queue and click "Queue in AME" (in CC2017 and later) or Composition->Add to AME (all versions - but this is the second best choice).
if you insist on having a decent mp4 option right in After Effects, you should consider this plugin: AfterCodecs - aescripts + aeplugins - aescripts.com
I may be being extremely stupid, but I need someone to explain to me in words of one syllable :-)
I'm on a Mac, with the latest versions of everything on Creative Cloud, other than Media Encoder. A client has specifically asked for MP4 versions of the animation, and I'm not sure where to find it in ME. There doesn't seem to be an option any more. I downgraded ME because some codecs disappeared, and I have now got back H.264, but I don't know if this gets me any closer to my destination. I understand (a little) that QuickTime is a container, so if a client wants MP4 (I assume they want a file which actually ends in .mp4) how do I do this in the new versions of CC?
If you are in After Effects all you have to do is add a composition to the Adobe Media encoder using the Composition Menu.
Inside AME you pick H.264 and you will be offered a bunch of standard presets. Just match the frame size and everything will be properly adjusted. The file will be an H.264 MP4.
If you are using Premiere Pro the Adobe Media Encoder is the only thing that can be used for rendering. It is all automatic. The same advice applies, just pick the h.264 format and the appropriate preset.
All of this info is readily available in the help files.
Thank you Rick. I have looked at the help files, and I do know how to add files to AME, but I think my question is more about trying to understand MP4. Is it a wrapper, or a codec? And when a client asks for it, what is the best advice? In the end I gave them an M4V file and they are happy, but I am still frustrated that I can't get my head around this.
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MP4 is just a container or wrapper. The most common codec is H.264. There are several other codecs that will work just fine in an MP4 container.
H.264 is an interframe MPEG format that does a very good job predicting the in-between frames and preserving luminance information with equals detail. H.264 does not take a huge amount of processor power to decode the frames and put the information in a usable form. Unless there are specific codec requirements and published instructions from a client you should always deliver an H.264 MP4 to a client. As of today, it is the universal format and will playback on almost every modern device and with most media players. There are several white papers you can read on h.264. Quicktime will occasionally have problems with an H.264 movie in a QuickTime container and the decoding through Quicktime is not nearly as reliable as other players so you should never use Quicktime to render h.264 files. If a client demands h.264 Quicktime for some reason you need to find a different solution than the Output Module or the AME. Quicktime will playback an H.264 file if you just change the extension, but other apps will report the file as damaged.
H.264 will quickly degrade if you re-compress. It is not as bad as some but it still degrades. Color artifacts and color banding show up very quickly because the codec is only 8 bits per channel and it only supports Red Green and Blue. No Alpha Channel is available for transparency.
I hope this makes sense. As soon as you wrap your head around h.264 and MP4 the world will probably adopt a new "Standard Format" that everybody will want to use. H.265 is on the way to being that new standard but there are other formats being developed.
I hope this clears it up a bit.
Thanks very much for taking the time to do this, Rick. I'm starting to get my head around it now, even though I'm feeling slightly shameful, as I'm a very experienced designer, but always took the easy path of just exporting the highest quality file without really understanding what I was doing..
In AE version a few months ago, I made a video using a bunch of iPhone video.
I saw a post ridiculing designers for doing this, but what the heck. it worked.
Now I converted and wanted to put mastered audio on there and am getting green frames and stopped footage.
Yes each clip is in a different frame rate.
I tried to reinterpret it, not working. Couldn't access "more options".
Is this what I should do?:
open each footage in AME and change to a MP4? and then try it?
I am also getting error for "damaged output module"
I am on MacBook Pro Retina,
2.7 Ghz Intel Core i7,
16 Gig 1600 MHz DDR3
using a firewire for assets
graphics: NVIDIA eForce 650M 1024MB