21 Replies Latest reply on Nov 7, 2010 9:19 AM by MarvinHerbold Branched to a new discussion.

    Demo version lacking...

    MarvinHerbold Level 1

      If Adobe is serious about getting me to drop 1,000 dollars for Adobe Effects CS5 they're going to have to do better than that for the downloadable demo.

       

      I do mainly green screen work with my AVCHD camcorder.

       

      First thing I find out is the demo version does not support AVCHD.  So how am I supposed to know whether editing AVCHD files work well in AE?  And no, I am not going to take anybody's word for it.  I've been bitten by shoddy AVCHD support before.  I currently use Sony Vegas Pro and AVCHD support is excellent there.

       

      So, fine... I convert some of my green screen clips to png image sequences and import that into AE.

       

      Then I find out that keylight is not even in the demo download.  Oh come, on!  Just how am I supposed to know if this is going to work for me or not?  $1,000 is a lot of money... and what can I test in the demo... nothing.  Nice going.

       

      I refuse to pay that amount of money unless I know _for sure_ that this product is going to work perfectly for me on my box.

       

      Marv

        • 1. Re: Demo version lacking...
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

          There's also a 30-day money-back return policy when you buy the full version.

           

          http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/153/tn_15327.html#main_Return%20details

          • 2. Re: Demo version lacking...
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            As Todd mentioned, there's a money-back policy.

             

            But also, it's not Adobe's fault. They don't control the licensing of the codecs they use or the third-party plug-ins.

            • 3. Re: Demo version lacking...
              MarvinHerbold Level 1

              That is kind of a weak excuse - Sony Vegas Pro demo download includes support for AVCHD and green screen.

               

              A few reasons why I want to leave Sony Vegas Pro:

               

              1) They cannot render alpha channel out when doing png image sequence which is truly lame.

              2) Lack of ability to compose 2D images in 3D space (using z buffer, etc)

              3) Pathetic developer support - their public video SDK is based on technology around 10 years old (you cannot even compile the plug ins using compilers newer than VS2002) and their file I/O SDK are available only to major paying companies.  They do have OpenFX plugin support, tho...

              4) Inability to do temporal effects. All their video effects source from the same frame only.

               

              Granted VP is a track NLE and AE is a layer NLE but I think I can live with that.  If I ever have to put together long videos again I'll just use VP.

              • 4. Re: Demo version lacking...
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                That is kind of a weak excuse - Sony Vegas Pro demo download includes support for AVCHD and green screen.

                 

                Fair enough, but do you know the specifics of their licensing deals? It is still merely speculation as to why one company is offering it and another is not. There are different licensing models available. I know it sucks to not be able to test this, but that's just the way it is. If you can tell us the camera model, Todd may be able to confirm whether it has been tested and works. As of CS5, pretty much all of the issues that plagued CS4 should have been resolved, so it should be safe, even if your specific cam is not explicitly tested (but its little/ big sister/ brotehr may have been). Otherwise feel free to provide a short test clip and someone might have a look at it. Older versions of Keylight can be downloaded directly from The Foundry, but not one that works in CS5. Still, perhaps reading a bit in the manual may help you to gauge whether you could find it useful or not...

                 

                Mylenium

                • 5. Re: Demo version lacking...
                  MarvinHerbold Level 1
                  Fair enough, but do you know the specifics of their licensing deals? It is still merely speculation as to why one company is offering it and another is not.

                   

                  To me (as a consumer) it doesn't matter - I just see that one demo product has it and the other demo product doesn't.  To buy, the one that has it costs $500, and the one that doesn't costs $1000.  Anyway...

                   

                  My camera is the Canon Vixia HF11.

                   

                  How do I provide a short test clip?  I don't see an upload area here...  I can upload one of my short green screen clips around 50 MB for 15 seconds of 1920x1080p 29.97fps 24mbps footage.

                  • 6. Re: Demo version lacking...
                    Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                    Upload it to Vimeo with the option to allow registered users to download the original source clip or use Rapidshare, Megaupload and similar services and post the link(s) here. Attachments are disabled on this forum and even if they were enabled, this would be too large a file.

                     

                    Mylenium

                    • 7. Re: Demo version lacking...
                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                      FWIW, I have successfully used footage from a Canon Vixia HF-series camera in After Effects CS5.

                       

                      What is your reason for not taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee and finding out for yourself?

                      • 8. Re: Demo version lacking...
                        MarvinHerbold Level 1

                        Here it is...

                         

                        http://www.vimeo.com/16212537

                         

                        It's still in line waiting to be converted - I don't know if you can download the original right away.  Looks like they will delete the original after 1 week.

                        • 9. Re: Demo version lacking...
                          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          That is kind of a weak excuse - Sony Vegas Pro demo download includes support for AVCHD and green screen.

                           

                          I agree with Mylenium on this; it's a fair cop, but the licensing deals are all kinds of complicated.

                          But AE does include support for keying work in their demo. The only thing not included is Keylight. All the other keying tools are there.

                           

                          Granted VP is a track NLE and AE is a layer NLE

                           

                          Woah. Let me stop you there. AE is not an NLE. AE is a compositing and motion graphics app. It is certainly not an editor. While, technically, you can edit with it, you won't like it. It works very differently from an NLE. Premiere is Adobe's NLE. I know there are many folks who edit in Vegas but do their compositing, motion graphics, color correction, and color grading in AE.

                          • 10. Re: Demo version lacking...
                            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                            I will try and download it, when it's through their conversion queue. Stay tuned...

                             

                            Mylenium

                            • 11. Re: Demo version lacking...
                              MarvinHerbold Level 1

                              Is there a list somewhere that lists stuff that is not included in the demo?  A list of all the 3rd party plug-ins that come with AE basically.

                               

                              I tried the different keying stuff included in the demo - it's no where near as nice as Sony Vegas for green screen work.  In Vegas, basically one click and poof my whole green screen goes away.  I think Keylight is supposed to be as nice... but I couldn't tell you that.  :-)

                               

                              Definition of an NLE is anything that gives you random access to any frame on a source clip.  You can go to frame 219 or frame 37 instantly?  It's an NLE.  AE is a layer type of NLE - each source material has its own track.  Like you say this isn't ideal for editing long videos.  Vegas and Premiere is a track type of NLE where you can put multiple clips on one track.  Great for putting together longer videos.

                               

                              I understand what you are saying - AE isn't suited for putting together longer videos.  My videos are destined for YouTube mainly and don't last longer than maybe 3 minutes.  AE will probably be ok.  If I ever need to go longer or have tons of scenes then I will fall back to using AE for effects and VP for editing.  Or maybe I'll just use AE with VP all the time if putting together more than one scene in AE is truly sucky.

                              • 12. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                MarvinHerbold Level 1
                                What is your reason for not taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee and finding out for yourself?

                                 

                                The wife.  It is a lot easier to convince her to let me raid the piggy bank if I can show her on screen that this works.

                                • 13. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                                  > Is there a list somewhere that lists stuff that is not included in the demo?  A list of all the 3rd party plug-ins that come with AE basically.

                                   

                                  http://forums.adobe.com/thread/642440

                                  • 14. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                    shooternz Level 6
                                    I understand what you are saying - AE isn't suited for putting together longer videos.  My videos are destined for YouTube mainly and don't last longer than maybe 3 minutes.  AE will probably be ok.  If I ever need to go longer or have tons of scenes then I will fall back to using AE for effects and VP for editing.  Or maybe I'll just use AE with VP all the time if putting together more than one scene in AE is truly sucky.

                                     

                                     

                                    I think you should definitely try the trial version despite the lack of some functionality.

                                     

                                    This will let you see how well AEFX works for the material you wish to edit.  It is not actually an NLE Editor  by virtue that it does not do much of anytjhing realtime (eg playback).  It is a compositor and FX editor by design.

                                     

                                    I suggest you trial PPro as well as AEFX and test the DL capablities within the suite as well.

                                     

                                    Let us know what you think of that in comparison to VP

                                     

                                    BTW: Green Screen work in PPRO (UltraKey) is exceptionally good.  Keylight in AEFX is very powerful and great for specially tricky key work.

                                    • 15. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      The very first thing you should do with your AVCHD footage is convert it to a production codec. No matter what editing or compositing system you use you'll b much better off transcoding the footage to a lossless or nearly lossless codec for further processing. If you really want to do high quality work you need to get it to a YUV 10bit codec. Black Magic has some good ones for both Mac and PC.

                                       

                                      You can transcode in Vegas or Premiere Pro, then bring that footage into AE. I only rarely bring XD cam footage (bout a zillion times better footage than AVCHD) into AE for post processing without transcoding to a 10 bit (minimum) codec first. I'd not consider doing anything other than straight cut editing with AVCHD footage.

                                       

                                      Just my 2¢

                                      • 16. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                        Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                        ^ I'm with Rick.  AVCHD is just not a format suited to production work.

                                         

                                        I suspect the reason Sony offers AVCHD compatibility in Vegas Pro demos is because Sony owns AVCHD (with Panasonic).  That's a rather distinct licensing advantage! 

                                        • 17. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                          MarvinHerbold Level 1

                                          Now what would be the point of that?  Transcoding the original footage to a different format is never going to add detail that wasn't there in the first place.  Going from an 8 bit codec to 10 bit codec is not going to magically add 2 bits of detail.  You've lost time and hard drive space and gained nothing, and at worst you've just added more compression artifacts on top of what the original AVCHD compression introduced in the first place.

                                           

                                          Edit: The above comment was directed to Rick.

                                           

                                          For Andrew: I assume by saying "not suited to production work" you mean that it is a slow codec to work with, and yes you are right.  AVCHD is a processor hog and if your computer isn't up to it, it can be a real pain working with AVCHD source media.  However with the rig I've got (RAID HDD, fast quad core, etc), I can scrub through the time line of full resolution 1080p AVCHD clips at real time speeds.  And yes, Sony obviously have a distinct licensing advantage owning AVCHD - I'm past that point now, 'tho - I've gone out and bought CS5 Production Premium and now have a new set of problems on my hand - namely, AE doesn't decompress my AVCHD video properly.  I've got another thread about that and hopefully Adobe will address this, and I believe they will.

                                          • 18. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                            Strangely transcoding does add temporal detail by construction actual frames. Bumping up from 8bit to 10bit YUV does improve the ability the to process the footage by giving you more room between the original pixel values to make adjustments. That's why 90% of my AE projects are processed in 32 Bit. Could Adobe license some code that does this on the fly so you wouldn't have to transcode? Sure, but then processing time would go up and so would the cost of the app.

                                             

                                            There have been tons of articles and examples on the net demonstrating funky things that happen with frames and color and that clearly document the advantage of transcoding. I transcode just about everything. Every frame from XD Cam, every frame from Canon DSLR's, and on the rare occasion that I'm forced to deal with AVCHD, every frame is transcoded. You asked how to fix your problem in AE, for now, with this version, that's the answer.

                                            • 19. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                              MarvinHerbold Level 1

                                              Rick: "Giving you more room between the original pixel values to make adjustments" - that is what applying 16 or 32 bit effects do, and you reduce color banding that way.  Transcoding original source footage from 8 into 10 bits doesn't do that - you're just spreading 8 bits over 10 and very slightly altering the original color values (no you can not remap 8 bit channels exactly into 10... if you want to know why, ask me).

                                               

                                              By simply decompressing AVCHD footage you are in effect transcoding it from 422 or 444 or whatever YCbCr color space the footage was in, into 8 or 16 or 32 bit RGB color space, on the fly.  AE already does this.  No extra cost.  I am just merely asking for Adobe to fix a bug with their existing AVCHD decompressor that they've already created.

                                               

                                              One possible valid reason I can think of to transcode AVCHD clips into a format that doesn't use inter-frames, is if you were splicing them and re-rendering back out into AVCHD.  Because keyframes are present in the AVCHD stream only once up to every 300 frames, if you splice somewhere in between keyframes then you are in effect forcing a re-compression of that GOP (group of pictures), creating a new keyframe where you spliced the footage and re-creating up to 299 inter-frames from the splice point to the next keyframe.  This re-compression degrades the video, obviously.  Now there are ways around that without having to do a costly and disk-heavy transcode into a space hungry codec.  Let's say that you have a long footage you want to splice away unneeded parts to save disk space.  Don't splice exactly where you intend to show the video... splice away at a point at least 300 frames before and 300 frames after the usable segment.  Then when you re-compress to AVCHD the segment you intend to use is untouched.  If you're using a decent editor, the unedited GOPs should be copied unmodified from the original source to the new AVCHD clip.

                                               

                                              Another reason to transcode is if your computer isn't up to decompressing AVCHD clips in real time.  AVCHD codecs are very processor intensive, and most consumer grade computers will chug with AVCHD media.  However I have a pretty beefy computer, and can scrub 1080p AVCHD clips at full frame rate.

                                               

                                              My background: I am a video game programmer, and deal a lot with codecs.  I've written a few codecs myself over the years.  I write plugins for various video editing software on the side (Mostly Vegas Pro) doing stuff like motion tracking and optical flow and so on.  Currently I am working on something that is similar to Particular.

                                               

                                              I guess my point with this rambling is that is that my currently workflow is very nice, has low overhead, and does exactly what I need.  I don't currently need to waste a lot of time and disk space transcoding into a format that really buys me nothing.  All I need is a working AVCHD codec that doesn't mess up the decompression.  You're obviously happy with your workflow, and so more power to you.  But it's really not for me.

                                               

                                              Marv

                                              • 20. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                                Marvin currently has many different threads going about AVCHD issues. Please try to consolidate conversation on this issue onto this thread or one of the two more specific ones that it points to:

                                                http://forums.adobe.com/thread/748572

                                                 

                                                It's really hard for the people who are trying to follow these threads to help if we have to try to reconcile half a dozen scattered conversations.

                                                 

                                                (And, yes, there are now multiple Adobe employees looking at these threads on a Sunday. But don't expect any substantive answers until the weekend is over.)

                                                • 21. Re: Demo version lacking...
                                                  MarvinHerbold Level 1

                                                  Apologies, Todd.  I started one about lack of AVCHD in trial (this thread), then one about AVCHD footage not being interpreted properly, and one referring a problem with AVCHD decompression.  There is a 4th one I accidentally started (I still don't know how it happened) when I tried to reply to this thread and it somehow magically turned into its own discussion thread... I must have hit a wrong button somewhere.

                                                   

                                                  And Todd - hopefully you are being paid to work on weekends!  I admire your dedication.  After years of being abused in the video game industry (long 12 hour crunch days and mandatory weekends) this is something I simply refuse to do any more.  :-\

                                                   

                                                  Marvin

                                                   

                                                  *Edit - correction to my previous post - I said "splice" when I meant to say "cut".  I watched the movie Splice last night and it was quite disturbing and can't get it out of my head...

                                                   

                                                  Another interesting tidbit to roll around in your head and try and figure out if you're bored... you can't ever get exactly 50% gray, no matter how many bits you use for RGB.  Think about it.  :-)