What format are you rendering to? What are your settings for that format? Are you changing any settings in the Render Settings or Output Module Settings dialogs?
Rendering to XD CAM 422 1080p30 - no other changes. Same as Comp settings.
Ah, so it's QuickTime with Apple's XDCAM HD codec. Thought you were using a third party encoder. Gotcha.
Unfortunately you've run into a bug in After Effects CS5. Sorry about that. It appears to apply to all of Apple's XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD codec flavors. I don't know the reason or any way you can defeat it. Workarounds would be to use After Effects CS4, another application, or another codec.
The bug is filed, and I'll make sure the engineers have a look at it.
-=After Effects QE
Thanks for coming back to me Tim, however as I'm sure you are aware I am incredibly shocked and disappointed that a company with such a renowned reputation for making such excellent industry standard software allowed such a fundemental flaw go unchecked. For the work we do, until there is a fix for this, it is almost completely pointless in having this software on our machine.
I appreciate the workarounds suggested but all were unsatisfactory for the following reasons:
1) Use CS4 - I do not have access to a version of this and it would be ludicrous to suggest purchasing it when we have just spent approx $1699 on the latest version. Also I would have had to redo all the work I had done in CS5 as backwards compatibility is simply incompatible! This pain was highlighted when I experimented with CS3 that I had access to and this performed a test render as expected. I would have given anything to be able to open my CS5 project in CS3 right then......
2) Another application - Again I would need to redo work already done but without the superior compositing abilities of your software.
3) Another codec - This was the route we used but was also unsatisfactory as the compression and re-compression of the asset resulted in introducing unwanted artifacts and loss of clarity, particulary with text. Fortunately we were able to deal with this prior to our final output, but were pushed dangerously close to our deadline and potentially business-threatening contractual penalties.
I hope and would like to assume that this issue will be addressed with considerable speed and I look forward to being personally notified when the relevant update is available to download.
I just completed a feature shot on xd cam. Even in Final Cut if you go from XDCam to XDCam you get a smaller image in the render. The problem is in Sony's CODEC.
Change the workflow to XDCam to a 10bit (lossless, ProRez, whatever) CODEC to edit/fx/color grading to lossless for compassion for DVD or BluRay you will end up with a far superior product.
None of the GOP compression schemes used for any of the direct to digital cameras is suitable for production.
I assure you it's not the habit of the After Effects team to let bugs of this severity go unnoticed. In fact, late yesterday I learned this bug was previously discovered and has already been fixed internally. We intend to make the fix available in a future release, though I can't comment on when that will happen.
I understand that you're frustrated the bug wasn't found and fixed in After Effects CS5. If it helps, here's a little bit of insight to our development process: The XDCAM codecs that you're using are a part of the Final Cut Studio codec suite, which is an important part of your workflow and many of our other customers. However it's not the only workflow or codec that we test. Testing is a limited resource and we must prioritize what we test. Feedback from customers, including the fact that you found this bug, informs us about how our customers are actually using After Effects so we can change our testing priorities appropriately.
In regards to the workarounds I suggested, I'd like to clarify my intent of each suggestion.
1) Your original post referenced CS4, so I assumed you have After Effects CS4 available to you. A misunderstanding; my apologies.
2) I didn't mean to imply that you would port your project from After Effects to a different application. (Heaven forbid!) I meant that you could render from After Effects to an intermediate codec that you could then take into another program to transcode to the QuickTime XDCAM codec. As Rick has already suggested, a lossless codec will allow you to avoid problems caused by multiple compression passes.
3) The intent of this suggestion was to use a different codec for delivery, if feasible within your workflow. Clearly this is depdendent on your workflow, but since I'm not familiar with the details of your workflow I don't know if this is a practical suggestion for you.
Even though my words here don't do anything to eliminate the problem, I sincerely hope this has been helpful for you.
-=After Effects QE
UPDATE: This problem (black border around QuickTime XDCAM codec exports from After Effects CS5) is fixed in the After Effects 10.0.1 update.
If you are exporting to any of the QuickTime XDCAM codecs (XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD, XDCAM HD422) with After Effects CS5, you should install the 10.0.1 update. Choose Help > Updates in After Effects, or download it from Adobe.com.
-=After Effects QE