1 person found this helpful
Some of these concepts are currently a bit over my head. Basically I just want to be able to convert my footage without losing quaility to something that will work in AE (with Mocha) and can edit and consolidate in Premiere Pro. What is the best to choose so that I don't lose ANY quality from the original footage. File size is not an issue as I have plenty of HardDrive Space and will be consolidating.
Hard drive space may not be an issue, but hard drive speed surely can be for HD content. Lossless or uncompressed formats require sustained speeds that may be well over 100 MB/s, which is beyond what a single disk can handle. That's why people who use such content rely on stripped disk arrays, ie multiple hard drives which are joined together as a single volume to provide this kind of disk performance.
Other than that, there are some things which are platform specific.
If you want to have real time editing on Premere Pro on Windows and also have great quality in AE, you could use the 8 Bit Yuv 4:2:2 codec which is available acrosss Adobe applications on Windows. This would require, again, a lot of disk horsepower. There's also a 10 bit version, but if your source footage is 8 bit (as XDCAM EX is) you'd be wasting bits (extra bit depth can always be good while processing images in the AE pipleine, not to fill bytes with empty informatiom that is not there when converting file formats).
Quicktime Animation or Quicktime PNG would provide essentially the same quality on both platforms with smaller files, but neither of them is optimized to do real time editing.
ProRes and Apple Uncompressed 8/10 bit are certainly great (the latter is exactly the same as YUV 4:2:2, but in a Quicktime container), but the problem is... there are free decoders for Windows and Mac, but you can only render to those codecs if you have Final Cut Studio in your machine.
For most people using AE, real time decoding is not the main concern. In fact, most things you'd want to do in AE may be complex enough to make decoding speed less of an issue. That's why Quicktime PNG and Animation are so popular: they are free, reliable, cross-platform and offer uncompressed quality with somewhat smaller file sizes (ie, they are losssless). They just are not tuned for the kind of performance an editing application expects.
If you'd like to have all that on Windows for real time edting on Premiere with regular hard drives, plus lossless quality in Premiere Pro and After Effects, it could be a good idea considering something like Cineform. But you may want to ask in the Premiere Pro forum if there's something else they recommend.