8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2010 11:46 AM by si755

    After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format

    si755 Level 1

      I posted in the Adobe Premiere forums about an issue I was having with my renders. If you want to read it then you can check it out with the url below.




      What I have figured out is that After Effects does not like my AVCHD files I get from my camera. (They are h.264 in an ,m2ts file type and not mp4)


      The issue is that I get "echos" or skips when I render something in After Effects or render with Media Encoder via dynamic link and Premiere Pro CS4.


      What I am not familar with is the types of files that many of you who are more expereinced than I am use for After Effects when you need to convert to a lossless format (or one as close as you can get to being "lossless."


      I was wondering if someone could recommend the kinds of files I should be converting to and if you have a good method of converting them. Not that I want people to discuss other software here, but if you do not use Adobe programs to convert, then what kinds of files do you convert to?


      In other words, where do you recommend I begin reading or researching this because a lot of companies sell conversion programs. I currently have one that I paid for but it does not do the job I need it to do for HD. I would like to keep it as close to HD quality as possible.


      FYI I generally will do video work with some effects and green screen work in After Effects. My output is video. If you have any other questions about my process, then please do not hesitate to ask me. Other than that, I appreicate anyone's guidance.

        • 1. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Yeah, AE does not like video files with interframe compression. It processes video in a completely different way than a non-linear editing program like Premiere does. My friend Dave LaRonde from the friendly forums at CreativeCOW.net explains it this way:

          If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

          These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

          In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


          You have experienced this delightful problem for yourself.


          There are several different file formats that people use. Uncompressed AVI is one as is Quicktime with the animation codec. However, lately folks seem to prefer Quicktime with the PNG codec (not a PNG sequence). It produces a significantly smaller file size, but is still effectively lossless.


          You can use the Adobe Media Encoder to export it out of Premiere to use in AE.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
            si755 Level 1



            Thanks for the reply. Yes, I read David's post on Creative Cow actually. It is how I figured out that it was that file type and I felt like an idiot for not knowing. I actually didn't know AE doesn't like interframe compression. Though, once I read it, I understood why and it makes sense the way AE works. I was like, "Duh!"


            I am not familiar with Quicktime using the animation codec or PNG codec. Would I have to get Quicktime Pro to do convert to that or can you tell me if Media encoder can do that? I do not recall seeing those options there.


            Thank you, I appreicate your help.

            • 3. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              Those are standard Codecs that do not require QT Pro. PNG should definitely be there, but Animation has been labeled "legacy" by Apple. For it to show up, you may need to enable the Allow Encoding using Legacy CoDecs option in your Quicktime system control panel, Advanced tab.



              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
                si755 Level 1

                Thanks Mylenium, I will check it out. I am a PC user so I do not use Quicktime much even though I should. Call it conditioning, but it is not my favorite. I also shy away from anything that is generally associated with it, but as I can see I have been depriving myself. I have a lot to learn about it though. I will look for what you are saying, but I am not ashamed to admit my experience is limited with it.

                • 5. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                  Yeah, sure, there have been better days for QT and recent versions are pretty hum-ho (Apple simply doesn't know how to make good PC software, if you ask me), but at least it offers some widely accepted options of CoDecs, which is kinda important not only for your own perusal, but at latest when you need to exchange with other artists. Windows' own AVI offerings are severely more limited in that regard, literally leaving only Uncompressed or MS RLE for intermediate workflows. That is if you don't have commercial CoDecs like Cineform, do not want to enter the treacherous waters of free CoDecs like HuffYUV and Lagarith or do not use capture cards like AJA with their own set of CoDecs...



                  • 6. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
                    si755 Level 1



                    I do not know if you will see this since the question was answered. I rendered using both PNG and legacy animation codec. Maybe I am insane but it does not appear any more lossless than when I convert. Is there something I am missing? I will try it again, I just do not see a noticeable difference from any other format I use.

                    • 7. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                      I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. Of course, since you already start out compressed, any successive generation can never be better than the original. The only critical factors in the choice of formats and CoDecs therefore are robustness, reliability and, optionally, target file sizes. QT Animation is pretty much the same as RLE compressed AVIs, PNG should result in slightly smaller file sizes, but occasionalyl be slower to work with. If you feel comfortable with using AVIs, then there's nothing wrong with that, but as I said, one day you may be asked to hand off clips to otehr people and then QT might become relevant. Particularly QTs ability to carry more meta data for markers, comments and additional (invisible) streams might come in handy, even more so if e.g. you may need to put those markers to use on YouTube or podcasts...



                      • 8. Re: After Effects CS4 and converting to a lossless format
                        si755 Level 1

                        Now I understand better what you are saying. I do not have the language down to explain what I meant. Yeah, I meant robustness, clarity, etc. Of course, file sizes are important too. I was looking for it to be closer to the original so when I rendered it I would not loose as much quality. I will keep playing with it so I can note what I see and if I get confused I may be back.


                        I do notice that at times I get those wavy lines around the subject with certain file formats. I have seen this in people's videos online that are supposed to be HD too. I believe the PNG format did that to me and not so much the animation one. What you are saying is that people convert to PNG and animation for a number of reasons, but among those is the size of the file they work with. I am not a fan of uncompressed AVI. I just prefer not working with it. I know it's not ideal, but I prefer working with FLV when I can.


                        I didn't know you could put meta data markers on You Tube. How does one do that so You Tube viewers utilize it? Or are you talking if one "rips" the video offline and the metadata comes with it?