11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2008 7:55 AM by craulmedia

    what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?

      on my system thee are a few codecs i can choose from when working with my footage in vdubmod before importing them into after effects. they include cinepak, intel's indeo, intel 4:2:0, intel IYUV, Mainconcept DV, MS H.261, H.263, divx, MS mpeg-4 v1-3, MS RLE, MS Windows media video 9, and xvid. i want to change some of the compressed stuff that AE does not like like my movie backups in xvid into a lossless format but which one of the previous mentioned are lossless? which one is good to use for editing in AE? sorry if this shouldnt be on this forum.
        • 1. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
          Neither of them is lossless in strict technical terms and sorry to say so, they are all rubbish for working with AE. I also think this is one more case where you are simply attacking the issue from the wrong angle. As I always say - go out, buy another harddrive. They're cheap these days. Then you won't have to worry about finding strange ways of re-compressing already compressed footage to odd formats as you can work uncompressed, which is what Ae likes best. also consider switching to Quicktime. There's a much wider selection of reliable "lossless" CoDecs such as Animation, JPEG2000 or PNG.

          Mylenium
          • 2. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
            craulmedia Level 1
            not lossless but VERY good and accurrate = Quicktime with FotoJpeg @ exactly 75% quality (keeps YUV color Space)
            small file sizes included ;) in opposition to animation codec or equivalent.

            otherwise - and affordable = sheer video codec
            try it out fully functional at bitjazz.com
            never seen a better codec ever. good bye gamma, luma-shift.

            then

            if you want to pass your work in hi-res to someone else use QT with FotoJpeg on export as mentioned abovw
            for distribution of your work (web, customers, etc.) use QT H264 via Quicktime Pro.

            i believe that without Quicktime we´ll all be lost in the world of formats.

            cheers
            • 3. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
              craulmedia Level 1
              yes mylenium,

              i were not takling about absolute uncompressed, i were talking of accurate and reliable codecs. I´d rather work with FotoJpeg encoded QT than with an HUGE AVI file that slows down my work and bows down my HDD.

              i agree with you that a RAID is a huge benfit wehenever working with video.

              but in relation to codecs: it´s all like with cameras an all the plausible (or rather unplausible) discussions about tech-mech. the tool is your eye itself.
              • 4. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                >the tool is your eye itself.

                No, not really. There are hard technical facts to anything dealing with digital imagery. Even with a digital camera, what you see must not mean anything if the captured image is "poor" in technical terms which in turn will also affect how it is perceived by the eye after processing, including any secondary, tertiary and so on compression. Therefore the only absolute truth in regards to working in AE is to work uncompressed at the footage's native bit-depth.

                Mylenium
                • 5. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                  Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional
                  To echo Mylenium, none of the codecs listed in the original post are very good for compositing use - they're pretty much all delivery codecs.

                  My favourites are all Quicktime:

                  Uncompressed (10 or 8 bit, depending on your workflow)
                  Animation (100% Quality, ALL keyframes)
                  ProRes HQ 422 (not lossless, but close)
                  • 6. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                    Level 1
                    Its my understanding that uncompressed is not ideal for working because of the large toll in time it takes from accessing it off the harddrive, and therefore a small bit of computation on lossless video will actually speed up the workflow. My older computer cant even play back an uncompressed avi without being all choppy.

                    Ive found the huffyuv codec which reduced the size of this one clip by half (with no reduction in image quality) and seems to be the best to work with for my needs.
                    • 7. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                      You definitely need to switch over to quicktime based codecs. AVI codecs are bulky and inefficient. The Best uncompressed codecs are Uncompressed 10bit and PNG. I prefer PNG because it's less than half of the size of the 10bit codec and is a 4:4:4 color space. The trade off is that it's slow to encode.
                      Otherwise you can try out the ProRess codecs, they supposedly are built for what your looking for, I say "supposedly" because I haven't tried them yet.

                      If you're worried about performance you should export video for after effects as a low-res, low quality video that plays back quickly. Then when your ready to export your project from AE, re-export the video from your NLE as uncompressed as possible and replace the footage in your AE project with that newly exported uncompressed footage. That way you will have no generational loss.
                      • 8. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                        Joey Morelli Level 1
                        Eddie,

                        First off...there is no "editing in AE". It's a compositing / animation program. Second, all the codecs you mention are icky. Why would you want to convert compressed images to uncompressed? They will look the same just be muuuuuch larger. You can't put back what was never there to start with.

                        Someone mentioned H.264 as an "accurate reliable codec". That is untrue. It's good, but definitely not a lossless archive codec (not even close to lossless). You lose a lot of color using that codec but it's great for anything that ends up on the internet.

                        Quicktime is king. I use & recommend the same ones AY mentioned:

                        Uncompressed (10 or 8 bit, depending on your workflow)
                        Animation (100% Quality, ALL keyframes)
                        ProRes HQ 422 (not lossless, but close)

                        Also TIFF, TARGA & PNG sequences hold alpha channels - These work well with NLEs.

                        There's an old saying in the biz: "sh!t in - sh!t out". Start with the best source material available.

                        Joey
                        • 9. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                          >Its my understanding that uncompressed is not ideal for working because
                          >of the large toll in time it takes from accessing it off the harddrive,
                          >and therefore a small bit of computation on lossless video will
                          >actually speed up the workflow. My older computer cant even play back >an uncompressed avi without being all choppy.

                          Nope. The speed of "uncompressed" largely hinges on the file format. It is absolutely possible to read even HD sequences in realtime from a normal single SATA drive if they are stored e.g. as TIFF sequences or Targas. the same applies to several Quicktime CoDecs, which once more serves as an argument to switch to this media architecture. Non-fluent playback of uncompressed AVIs is nothing out of the ordinary. even modern computers can't handle that perfectly as the format itself makes absolutely no use of any optimizations and hardware acceleration - it really is just a dump of sequential uncompressed image buffers.

                          Mylenium
                          • 10. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                            Joey Morelli Level 1
                            AVI is the worst image format to work with out of the Uncompressed choices IMHO. Oversized / clunky...useless.

                            Joey
                            • 11. Re: what are the good lossless video formats to work with in AE?
                              craulmedia Level 1
                              nobody was talking about H264 as some "lossless" thingie.
                              its reliable for output to web, mobile, etc.
                              i even would consider it for archival if space is critical. otherwise FotoJpeg will do anyway fro archival.

                              and yes. AVI is huge BS that you can do giving it someone to work with.

                              :)