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While AE should be able to import MPEG files, I wouldn't recommend it. As my friend Dave LaRonde from CreativeCOW.net says:
Dave's Stock Answer #1
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.
hi thanks for that, that leaves me with another question. How should i convert the footage. I assumed when i capture video from my camera the footage was in its rawest format. If i want to edit footage ive recorded into premier, how should i do it?
I know that the trial of Premiere Pro doesn't include MPEG support due to licensing issues. The same is probably true for After Effects.
BTW, I use HDV (MPEG) footage from my XH-A1s in After Effects all the time with no issues.
from "Setup and installation":
"Important: The free trial version of Adobe After Effects software does not include some features that depend upon software licensed from parties other than Adobe. For example, mocha for After Effects, some effect plug-ins, and some codecs for encoding and decoding MPEG formats are available only with the full version of Adobe After Effects software. "
How raw your footage is depends very much on how it's captures. Take any HDV camera. It captures in HDV format, usually with an MPEG-based codec at a color resolution of 4:1:1. Which sucks. This rather educational piece explains why. However, some cameras have outputs that let you send live signal from the camera without having it go through the HDV compression. This allows you to capture using an AJA, Kona, or Matrox capture hardware and get it at 4:2:2 or even 4:4:4. IDEAL for chroma key work or any sort of anything that you want to look good.
If your camera records video onto a CF card, internal hard drive, or any other form of digital media and you merely move the files onto your computer, that's pretty raw as far as camera files go.
If you capture from an HDV tape, it gets a little trickier.
Anyway, suffice to say that, if you have your footage working fine in your editing program output it to AE in a compositing-friendly format. Quicktime with the PNG codec (NOT a PNG image sequence) seems to be rather popular these days.