21 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2010 8:56 AM by TynanW

    Best export settings?

    JamesMediaMan Level 1

      I'm currently exporting 3-4 minute Mpeg4 files (H264) and they come out at about 55-60 mb. Can I get them any smaller? The video is HD so I want to preserve the quality if possible.

        • 1. Re: Best export settings?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Please do a search on this forum and elsewhere. This has been discussed a bazillion times, including the contradictory nature of quality vs. file size vs. compression vs. CoDecs vs. resolution vs. working with compressed media vs. intended use vs. AE being crap at some of that. Without at least a tiny bit of info, it is pretty pointless to even ask for the magic button. 60 MB is perfectly normal, you can only get it furrther down by sacrificing quality or resolution, so make up your mind what you actually want. And yeah, simply buy an exrtra harddrive. 1TB drives sell for a little over 100 Euros and that's plenty of space even for uncompressed media.

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Best export settings?
            Todd_Kopriva Level 8

            In addition to Mylenium's advice, here's a link to a page that includes some information and links to more documents about H.264, specifically: "Online resources about FLV and F4V formats"

            (Note that the F4V file type is a container type that contains video encoded using the H.264 codec.)

            • 3. Re: Best export settings?
              TynanW Level 1

              I'm currently exporting 3-4 minute Mpeg4 files (H264) and they come out at about 55-60 mb. Can I get them any smaller?

               

              Yes, lower the quality setting in the compression dialogue box.

              • 4. Re: Best export settings?
                Jan Maarten de Wit Level 1

                Yups 60 MB for a 3 minute HD movie in H264 is just normal

                And don't go down with the bitrate because if they ar getting smaller you're losing a lot of quality!

                www.freelancegraphicdesign.com

                • 5. Re: Best export settings?
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I wouldn't use AE to compress any H.264 video.

                  To quote my friend Dave LaRonde at CreativeCOW.net

                   

                  "Don't use AE to compress files for final delivery. The various compressors are there only to make quick 'n dirty files showing a project's progress to producers, clients, the kids, etc. AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding, a crucial feature that greatly improves the image quality of H.264 and MPEG-type files in particular.

                  Render a high-quality file from AE, and use a different application to do the compression. Popular ones are Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple's Compressor, which comes bundled with Final Cut Suite. Even compressing in Quicktime Pro is better than compressing in AE.

                  Making good-looking compressed files is almost as much an art as it is a science. It is NOT straightforward at all."

                   

                  There is even a whole forum on the COW on Compression Techniques.

                  • 6. Re: Best export settings?
                    TynanW Level 1

                    **I wouldn't use AE to compress any H.264 video.**


                    **AE is incapable of doing multipass encoding**

                     

                     

                     

                     

                    This all sounds good, except for the fact that AE can do multi-pass encoding !

                     

                    Software like Quicktime Pro use the very same codecs that AE uses, so the whole idea that AE lacks in some respect is spurious.

                     

                    I think people are attracted to the idea that certain activities are 'dark arts' and perpetuate the idea - the truth is AE is as good a compressor as anything else out there.

                    • 7. Re: Best export settings?
                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                      > This all sounds good, except for the fact that AE can do multi-pass encoding !

                       

                       

                      No, Szalam is right.

                       

                      There are codecs that can do either one-pass encoding or two-pass encoding. And when After Effects outputs using these codecs, it can only use the one-pass variety.

                       

                      The stand-alone Adobe Media Encoder application doesn't have this limitation. So, when creating files for web distribution, the best way to go is often to create a high-quality (losslessly compressed) output from After Effects and do the compression using an application like Adobe Media Encoder or QuickTime Pro or Sorenson Squeeze.

                      • 8. Re: Best export settings?
                        TynanW Level 1

                        **There are codecs that can do either one-pass encoding or two-pass encoding. And when After Effects outputs using these codecs, it can only use the one-pass variety.**

                         

                         

                        So . . . . if I have this right, when compressing to H.264 and you select 'Multi-pass' instead of 'Single-pass' - it still uses 'Single-pass' regardless ?

                        • 9. Re: Best export settings?
                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                          > So . . . . if I have this right, when compressing to H.264 and you select 'Multi-pass' instead of 'Single-pass' - it still uses 'Single-pass' regardless ?

                           

                          There are no multi-pass options in the render queue. Are you using QuickTime exporters through the FIle > Export menu? If so, you're already using QuickTime, not After Effects, to do the compression/encoding. Also, you really shouldn't be doing that unless you know exactly what you're doing and have a good reason for doing so. All sorts of things don't work right when you go through the QuickTime components using FIle > Export. For example, color management doesn't work through that path. There's a reason that the section about exporting using QuickTime components says this: "In general, you should use the Render Queue panel."

                          • 10. Re: Best export settings?
                            TynanW Level 1

                            **Are you using QuickTime exporters through the FIle > Export menu? If so, you're already using QuickTime, not After Effects, to do the compression/encoding.**

                             

                            Ok, I see, yes I am not using After Effects at all to export my movies, I am using . . . . er . . . .the Export file command which just happens to reside in an After Effects menu.

                             

                             

                            **Also, you really shouldn't be doing that unless you know exactly what you're doing and have a good reason for doing so.**

                             

                            Are you going to tell the authorities about me ! [/joking]

                             

                             

                            Yes, I know what I am doing - it is after all a simple Quicktime export panel identical to numerous others found on the Mac platform for years (decades?). I have been doing it that way for around 15 years, if Adobe see fit to included better audio compression (like MPEG4 or AAC - which is important for what I do) in the main Render Queue I might think of using that instead. I also prefer the control over temporal quality using the Export route (although it has improved in the Render Queue route recently).

                             

                            **For example, color management doesn't work through that path.**

                             

                            True, I avoid AE colour management, but even if needed there are ways around that.

                             

                            So in conclusion, (presuming the Multi-Pass option in Export File works perfectly fine) After Effects is incapable of doing multipass encoding if you cannot bring yourself to use the File > Export menu

                             

                             

                            On a serious point, your suggestion of a separate application (I should take a look at Adobe Media Encoder if you think this is a good option to consider) is probably to solution to most of these issues - including that of the OP.

                            • 11. Re: Best export settings?
                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                              > Ok, I see, yes I am not using After Effects at all to export my movies, I am using . . . . er . . . .the Export file command which just happens to reside in an After Effects menu.

                               

                              After Effects is very extensible, and it allows other software to do things like install extra menu commands, such as commands in the Export menu. QuickTime has done this. This confuses people. That is why there are several places where we try to tell people that these are usually (almost always) not the right tools to use.

                               

                              > **For example, color management doesn't work through that path.**

                               

                              True, I avoid AE colour management, but even if needed there are ways around that.

                               

                              You avoid color management, and you use don't use the export path that we recommend, yet you wonder why you're having problems with your colors, as in this thread ?

                              • 12. Re: Best export settings?
                                TynanW Level 1

                                **You avoid color management, and you use don't use the export path that we recommend, yet you wonder why you're having problems with your colors, as in this thread ?**

                                 

                                Yes, absolutely.

                                 

                                Like I say here (and in that thread) I have been trouble free for around 15 years, what I saw in my composition appeared in my renders (usually rendered to MPEG4 and Animation @ Q100 for delivery) . . but obviously now need to start looking for solutions to After Effect's gamma and colour shift issues having recently moved to CS4 + i7 + OS X 10.6.2. - this being the reason I asked the question in that thread.

                                 

                                But let's not attempt to change the issue being discussed.

                                 

                                I will bow to your better knowledge - and if ever asked by someone wishing to export a multi-pass file, I will tell them After Effects is incapable of doing so.

                                • 13. Re: Best export settings?
                                  spazzblaster

                                  I was upset to find out that I should not be exporting my mp4s from the render que in After Effects, since I have been doing it for a while now.  I will begin doing as was instructed in this thread and output a lossless version to be encoded in another program, but I had a couple simpilistic questions.

                                   

                                  When you say that AE cannot do multi-pass encoding, does that apply to the encoding for any kind of file or just mp4s?

                                   

                                  Also, most all of the videos I have made have been for my own personal use or portfolio.  Is there really that much of difference that I should take the time to go back and re-encode all of them?  Can you actually look at a video produced with single-pass vs. multi-pass and clearly see which is which?

                                   

                                  Thanks for any help you can give me!

                                   

                                  - Matt

                                  • 14. Re: Best export settings?
                                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    After Effects only builds one frame at a time. Rendering to any format that supports multi frame compression schemes from inside AE is not as efficient as rendering in an app that does.

                                     

                                    There is also a definite visible difference in the quality of the image when file sizes are the same. Lower data rates (smaller file size) make the difference more obvious.

                                    • 15. Re: Best export settings?
                                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                      > When you say that AE cannot do multi-pass encoding, does that apply to the encoding for any kind of file or just mp4s?

                                       

                                       

                                      all formats

                                       

                                      > Also, most all of the videos I have made have been for my own personal use or portfolio.  Is there really that much of difference that I should take the time to go back and re-encode all of them? 

                                       

                                      If you don't need very efficiently encoded files with the smallest possible fie sizes (for, say, distribution over the Web), you probably don't need to worry about it.

                                       

                                       

                                      > Can you actually look at a video produced with single-pass vs. multi-pass and clearly see which is which?

                                       

                                      Two videos with the same file size, with one encoded more efficiently, will look different from one another. Will anyone notice? It depends on the video and on the pickiness and attentiveness of the viewer. If you're happy with what you've got already, don't worry about it.

                                      • 16. Re: Best export settings?
                                        TynanW Level 1

                                        Mr Blaster,

                                         

                                        When you say that AE cannot do multi-pass encoding, does that apply to the encoding for any kind of file or just mp4s?

                                         

                                         

                                         

                                        AE can do multi-pass just fine, you need to use the Export menu rather than the render queue, but doing do gives you access to controls that are not available in the render queue route - not just multi-pass encoding, but better control over audio and temporal quality settings.

                                         

                                         

                                         

                                        Is there really that much of difference that I should take the time to go back and re-encode all of them?

                                         

                                         

                                        Yes, you do notice the difference (depending on the nature of the source file).

                                        • 17. Re: Best export settings?
                                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                          > AE can do multi-pass just fine, you need to use the Export menu rather than the render queue, but doing do gives you access to controls that are not available in the render queue route - not just multi-pass encoding, but better control over audio and temporal quality settings.

                                           

                                           

                                          I recommend against using the commands in the File > Export menu to create QuickTime movies. So does the rest of the After Effects team. We have explained why on other threads with TynanW.

                                          • 18. Re: Best export settings?
                                            TynanW Level 1

                                            I recommend against using the commands in the File > Export menu to create QuickTime movies. So does the rest of the After Effects team. We have explained why on other threads with TynanW.

                                             

                                             

                                            You certainly did !

                                             

                                            I think your advice came down to the colour profile not being embedded with the Export route, with is rather a moot point as using the render queue route also gives you unpredictable colour reproduction.

                                             

                                            My point remains, if someone needs to use multi-pass rendering - the facility does exist within AE.

                                            • 19. Re: Best export settings?
                                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                              I'll state the workflow that the After Effects team recommends simply: If you want to encode and compress your movies as efficiently as possible, create a losslessly encoded file from After Effects using the render queue, and then use a separate, dedicated media encoding application (Adobe Media Encoder, QuickTime Pro, Sorenson Squeeze, etc.) to encode and compress the final movie.

                                               

                                              > I think your advice came down to the colour profile not being embedded with the Export route, with is rather a moot point as using the render queue route also gives you unpredictable colour reproduction.

                                              TynanW, you said on the other thread that you were having color problems. We tried to get you to use color management, which exists entirely for the purpose of doing so. There are other reasons to not use the FIle > Export menu for creating QuickTime movies, but they weren't relevant to the discussion.

                                               

                                              Do what you like. I've given our recommendation.

                                              • 20. Re: Best export settings?
                                                spazzblaster Level 1

                                                Todd,

                                                 

                                                Thanks for your quick response!

                                                 

                                                I will alter my workflow accordingly.  I think I will go back and re-encode only the videos that are most important to me!

                                                 

                                                Thanks for your help,

                                                Matt

                                                • 21. Re: Best export settings?
                                                  TynanW Level 1

                                                  TynanW, you said on the other thread that you were having color problems. We tried to get you to use color management, which exists entirely for the purpose of doing so.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  Todd, I appreciate your input, really I do.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  You say you 'tried' to get me to use color management - as if you had solved the issue - and as if I had refused to use color management (!?) - if only I would listen to your advice - and that the issue - at it's heart - is one of myself not willing to use colour management.

                                                   

                                                  I suspect you know this is not the case. Spend some time with Google on the issue, there are many people out there struggling with this, it is simply no good to attempt to frame the issue as a user not willing to follow instructions.

                                                   

                                                  The fact of the matter is the even using colour management - which I invested a sizeable amount of time researching and investigating with exhaustive and extensive testing - simply does not resolve this issue, this is the view of numerous other people who are stumped by this issue.

                                                   

                                                  By way of an example can I ask you to outline briefly how you would get a quicktime (H.264) into After Effects - have it appear as it does in Quicktime player - then render it out to another quicktime that looks identical to what is show in the composition window ?

                                                   

                                                  Could you outline the work flow employing colour management that would allow you to do this very very simple process and have the movie-composition-render have the same contrast, colour balance and saturation at each stage ?

                                                   

                                                  And this would be on an entirely standard and predictable system with no third party extensions or other possible influencing factors - a standard iMac 27" i7 with a standard version of OS X 10.6.2 - running a standard version of Adobe After Effects CS4 . . like I say no plug-ins or extensions anywhere, all straight-out-of-the-box.

                                                   

                                                  Go on ! Please ! For all of us with this problem.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  There are other reasons to not use the FIle > Export menu for creating QuickTime movies, but they weren't relevant to the discussion

                                                   

                                                  For those interested in the subject, can you briefly outline the other reasons we should avoid the File > Export menu - as a long time user of this route (specifically for it's audio functionality - but in the past for it's control over temporal compression) I would be very appreciative of an overview of the possible issues to do with the effect of using File>Export on the final output.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  Do what you like. I've given our recommendation.

                                                   

                                                  Do what you like !? Petulance is never attractive, especially so when misplaced ! wink.giflaugh.gif I don't want to 'do what [I] like' (are we really back in the playground now!?) as a professional user of your products I want to be able to render a composition so that all my hours of colour grading are not negated by render that looks very different from what I had been working on.

                                                   

                                                  "I've given our recommendation", sounds like you are washing your hands of the issue, that's fine, but like I say, please do not attempt to frame it as simply a case of my refusal to do A, B or C or press a certain button. "I've given our recommendation" is great, but I was really after a solution rather than a recommendation, I have followed your recommendation, it does not address the issue.

                                                   

                                                  Since I started those last threads on this issue, I have spent weeks trawling through websites and PDFs and forums, and still cannot find a solution, just other users fighting the same battle, I am now the proud owner of a secondhand G5 and cinema display and AE7 - which is where I am compelled to do my final colour grade and renders.

                                                   

                                                  But if I do manage to resolve this issue, I will post the information here for other users.