28 Replies Latest reply on Aug 26, 2007 11:16 AM by (Shiv_Kumar)

    Workflow for moving between PPro and AE

    Level 1
      I've spent hours trying to get this to work, with no luck and would appreciate help.

      I have some HDV footage that's been captured using PPro (mpeg). This footage contains a number of scenes and each scene has a number of takes with only one good take from each scene.

      In PPro I know how to extract the best takes of each scene and drop them on a timeline. So far so good. These scenes are shoot with a green screen so what I really want to do is take them over to AE and use the Keylight plug-in.

      After having tried various things I eventually too the captured footage into AE to process thinking I'll render it and then use that in PPro. But AE simply fails after about 30 minutes. The whole rendering process (it says) will take about 4 hours (for 15 minutes of footage).

      Thanks for any help.

      Shiv.
        • 1. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          Isn't that more of an After Effects question? You should probably ask in that forum, no?
          • 2. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
            Level 1
            Well, since I'm linking from PPro to AE and back I assume it's a PPro question.

            Besides, I'm doing all the capturing, snipping/editing etc. in PPro. Only Chroma keying in AE. :)
            • 3. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
              Jim_Simon Level 8
              You said you were rendering it out of AE. That means no Dynamic Link.

              Still, even with DL, it seems like AE is the problem program, so asking over as well as here might be worth it. The guys over there really seem to know that program well.
              • 4. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                Level 1
                > But AE simply fails after about 30 minutes. The whole rendering process (it says) will take about 4 hours (for 15 minutes of footage).

                - How does it "fail"?
                - Keylight footage does take time to process, so I wouldn't be surprised at those numbers.
                • 5. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                  Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                  I just did this yesterday.

                  I made sure all of the greenscreen footage was on one track, and everything else on other tracks. I duplicated the sequence, deleted everything except the greenscreen track, and then opened the project in AE. I only imported the one sequence.

                  I did my Keylight work and then used dynamic link to bring it into Premiere Pro. Worked great. Kind of a long render, but not too bad.
                  • 6. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                    Level 1
                    Steven,

                    I appreciate your reply.

                    I'm not clear on a few things you've mentioned so I'll write what I think you're saying...

                    All of the green screen footage (so far has been captured in one mpeg file. I then extract the good takes into seperate sequences. So in other words each sequence contains about 30-40 seconds of footage.

                    So seeing that this is where I begin, I should then open the project in AE? That is I start up AE from outside of PPro and then create a new project and "import" the PPro project?

                    Then do what I need to do in AE, save in close AE.
                    Now in PPro, I use the Dynamic Link feature and open the AE project in PPro.

                    From here in out, I'm not very clear as to how to proceed in PPro.
                    • 7. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                      Level 1
                      Aanarav,

                      I add the composition to the render queue. I then change a few of the settings, such as include the Alpha channel etc. The rednder queue area says "based on lossless". I then render. After sometime, I see "failed" in the render queue area.

                      I've tried using the File|Export options as well. Almost every one of them fails. Plus I'm not sure of I use AVI from there is it includes the alpha channel (there are no options to set this from the File|Export dialogs).

                      Smaller videos (30-40 seconds) seem to work.

                      I'm now rendering a 2 minute video...
                      • 8. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                        Harm Millaard Level 7
                        Your work flow is seriously flawed. DV material is notoriously bad for green screen keying, but you are using even worse material, MPEG, which is not even suited for editing, let alone green screen keying.
                        • 9. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                          Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                          Harm,

                          I have to disagree. Aanarav and I shot a boatload of greenscreen footage and I am quite please with it. It was shot on my Sony FX1.

                          Shiv,

                          First I make sure that all of the green screen footage is on one track. I copy the sequence. In the copy, I delete all tracks except the one with green screen footage. I import the sequence into a new After Effects comp. Do the green screen work. Save the comp. Use Dynamic Link to bring the material into Premiere Pro. That puts it in the Project panel in the current bin. Just replace the original track with the new track and you are done.
                          • 10. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                            Level 1
                            Steven,

                            Thanks for the follow up and direction. I will give that a try and let you know how it goes.
                            • 11. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                              Level 1
                              Harm,

                              I'm open to any suggestions. The green screen is a last resort and not something I want to do if I can help it.

                              Take a look at this video. The parts where you see the guy being interviewd (that's me, by the way) has been done using a green screen.
                              • 12. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                Level 1
                                Harm,

                                When I capture video in PPro using firewire I don't have any other option do I?

                                I would like to know the other options for the future. So what are they? I have OnLocation but I don't have a capable laptop to use (currently) for on location shoots. What hardware and software are we talking about.
                                • 13. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                  Harm Millaard Level 7
                                  For chroma keying it starts out with the quality of the source signal. Of course 4:4:4 is far better than 4:2:2, which in turn is far better than 4:2:0 signals. Next thing to consider is that it is far better to use uncompressed material with full frame resolution, than using interframe compression, like MPEG.

                                  If we are talking DV, which is 4:2:0 full frame compression you take severe hits due to the lack of chrominance signal. If we compare that to SD resolution MPEG, you take a further hit due to the interframe compression.

                                  In HDV, the best way is to use HD-SDI or even the poor man's alternative HDMI to capture uncompressed with 4:2:2 signal. Once it is compressed to 4:2:0, you have the same lacking chrominance as in DV, but hampered again by the interframe compression. Unfortunately, with HDV material there are no real alternatives, which is what Steven alluded to, I think. I was referring to what seems to happen often, people using hard disk MPEG SD cameras. You did not state which camera you used, nor did you mention whether it was HDV or SD. My remark should be seen in the SD context.
                                  • 14. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                    Level 1
                                    Harm,

                                    Thank you for your detailed response.

                                    I use a Canon XH-A1 which does not support HD-SDI output sadly (The Canon XH-G1 does). Don't know about an HDMI option, unless it's nothing to do with the camera supporting it but rather, suing firewire and some other hardware?

                                    I shoot at HDV 30F.
                                    • 15. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                      Level 1
                                      Shiv,

                                      I wouldn't worry about using HD-SDI or any of the above mentioned techniques. As Steven mentioned above, we shot a commercial with the FX-1 (HDV) and it keyed perfectly. In fact, the key was so good, we got a near perfect key with Premiere Pro.

                                      - Aanarav
                                      • 16. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                        Level 1
                                        Aanarav,

                                        A near perfect key in PPro! Man that must have been some lighting, huh?

                                        I spend a lot of time getting the screen evenly lit (using zebras at various settings to confirm as well) and making sure the subject is well away from the screen (about 10 feet or more), but getting anywhere close to perfect keying in PPro? Not even to a level that I'd call "bad".

                                        Will you guys be posting the video sometime? I'll love to see the "before" and after version.
                                        • 17. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                          Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                                          We worked very, very hard on the lighting. It was actually blown out a bit, but yes, we had a pretty easy time of it because of the initially care we took. If the key is taken from beside the neck, the rest can be easily masked out, but it wasn't necessary.

                                          You will be seeing the footage in a variety of sample tutorials and podcasts and free tutorials over the next few month. All to entice you to buy the DVD.

                                          This image will have JPEG compression issues, but it will get the point across I think. See how smooth the green is?

                                          • 18. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                            Level 1
                                            That is an evenly lit screen!

                                            I have some questions:
                                            1. Is that a board or cloth?
                                            2. How wide is the screen?
                                            3. How many lights did you use to light it up and where were they placed?
                                            3. Did you shoot people whose hair is not so neatly trimed ?:)

                                            Is that you by the way?

                                            Oh, if my questions seem like they's interfere with you DVD sales, I understand if you don't want to divulge this information here.
                                            • 19. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                              Level 1
                                              I was part of a big film school project here, a film made entirely infront of Blue Screen. Even the props were digital.

                                              Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

                                              As you can see the blue was not lit so well, had creases, but it keyed amazingly easy first time.

                                              Simple reasons why:
                                              1) It was Keylight in AfterFX, and
                                              2) DVC PRO HD, the 4:2:2 made life easy.

                                              PS click on the picture for a better look. There is our camera, HVX200 :-)
                                              • 20. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                                                It is paper on a long roll. You could stand on it if you wished.

                                                The width is about 9 feet as I recall, but we didn't have room to back the camera up far enough to take advantage of that. In a larger studio, it would have been interesting.

                                                Eight or nine lights as I recall. Some on the screen, some on us from above, some from in front, and of course, one from behind to eliminate spill.

                                                Aanarav's hair is not so short, but I believe it is so dark it kind of gives off a shimmer when we key the footage. Not to bad though.

                                                And yes, that is me.

                                                And that is one big bluescreen. It looks like Keylight could handle that easily.
                                                • 21. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                  Curt Wrigley Level 4
                                                  HDV is much easier to key than dv simply because of the extra pixels. Not as good as 4:4:4 footage of course; but much easier than dv. The more pixels at the edge of the matte the better. Thats why closeups are eaiser to key than full body shots. More pixels IN the edge of the matte.

                                                  In fact a trick for a better key is to video a full body shot 90 degrees. That way you can zoom tighter and have more pixels involved in the edge of the matte. Then simple rotate it later in the nle.

                                                  Steve; you are looking good. FL's been good to you. Screen looks a tad bright to my eye; but if you were far enough away from it you'ld be ok.

                                                  Curt
                                                  • 22. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                    Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                                                    Thanks Curt. Yes, we overdid the screen just a tad. However, we had a live keyer working and used that to judge. The funny part is that we were doing it for tutorials so we slowly turned off light after light to get material that was hard to key. Just to show bad footage. Apparently, Keylight is so good it keys without much light at all. Fortunately, we shot a guy with a green striped shirt. Now that will be hard to key! And it may add some comedy to the tutorials.

                                                    We were about 6 feet from the screen with a decent backlight. I don't see any spill in any of the footage.
                                                    • 23. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                      Level 1
                                                      Steven,

                                                      Thanks for the information! I appreciate it.

                                                      Ok, back onto the subject of the thread. I followed the steps you outlined (I think) and the following is the outcome (not good unfortunately).

                                                      I put a short clip on a track by itself in a sequence and saved the PPro project. Then in AE I created a new comp and imported the PPro project (only that one sequence). However, AE seems to want to import the entire project for some reason. Well, it got all confused and eventually hang up my machine (nothing was functional. No mouse, no Ctrl+Alt+Del, nothing). So I hard booted. I had to do this 3 times before AE went back to responding after importing the PPro project.

                                                      Anyway, I got under way setting the Keylight properties and then saved the AE project.

                                                      Then in PPro I dynamic linked in the AE project and dropped the comp into the time line. All I see is (I don't know how to explain it), so I'm linking to an image here.

                                                      Keying Result

                                                      Regards,

                                                      Shiv.
                                                      • 24. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                        Level 1
                                                        I should have mentioned that the bottom portion of the screen or the way it seems to be shaped/outlined is the "mask" I used before keylight. It extends to the top as well but you only see a part of it.
                                                        • 25. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                          Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                                                          We can't see the photo.

                                                          You need to figure out why you got more than the sequence that had one track in it.
                                                          • 26. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                            Level 1
                                                            My server was down for quite a while. You should be able to see the picture now.

                                                            I did another test case. A small project in PPro with a sequence with clips of good takes from a captured video file.

                                                            Createed a new project in AE, imported this new project. (it still brought in every file of the PPro project even though only one file is used in the sequence I imported.

                                                            Anyway, I did the keying stuff and saved the project.

                                                            Now back in PPro. I see the same issue.

                                                            I go back to the project in AE and it says xx files are missing and every one of the videos within the AE project look like that picture I sent posted earlier.
                                                            • 27. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                              Steven L. Gotz Level 5
                                                              I have no idea what would cause that.

                                                              I understand that all the files in the proiject come across, but the sequence I want to use is available. When you do that, dows it look OK?

                                                              The image you are seeing looks like a color chart masked out.
                                                              • 28. Re: Workflow for moving between PPro and AE
                                                                Level 1
                                                                I think AE gets confused with paths if you've not saved the project before you import files (or something). I went back in the AE project and told it where to find each of the "missing" files.

                                                                When I'm in AE, everything looks just fine. But back in PPro it looks like that. Yes, a color chart that's kind of masked in the shape of the parts I want to retain.

                                                                I think I've got things to work (after fixing the missing files issue).

                                                                So let me ask you this...

                                                                If I render the AE comp into a lossless (avi) media type and then this use the rendered video in PPro, am I lossing out on quality? I ask because when I do that things are move in realtime in PPro and I'm able to synch sound and other things much better.

                                                                So the way I see it (if there is no loss) I get the advantage of the following with the what you've shown me and what I've come up with due to performance issues.

                                                                In PPro, from a capture extract out the parts required into a sequence (all by itself). Save the project.

                                                                Then in AE createa an new project and save the project. Then import the PPro project and that one sequence. Do what you need in AE and render the comp into a lossless codec.

                                                                Then in the PPro project import the rendered video and use it to do what you need to.