MPEG-4/ H.264 compresses more efficiently than MPEG-2 in your VOB. That's all there is to it. No X-files mysteries here. The rest - well, for practicing there may be nothing agfainst using intermediates, but in the long run you should make it a habit to not use lossy compressed formats for transfering files. always use lossless CoDecs like Quicktime Animation or PNG and simply buy a bigegr disk to accomodate the files....
I have a Premiere Pro file that I am trying to convert to h.264 in After Effects.
That's not the best method. After Effects can't do multipass encoding which provides better-looking video at smaller file sizes. Use Adobe Media Encoder to encode into H.264. If you're using AE to do some color grading, motion graphics, or compositing, render a lossless video out of AE and use the Media Encoder to do the final compression.
... 720x480 dvd vob file for ease of importing...When exporting an HDV 1080p 24 scene from Premiere to AE for a bit of editing...
I'm not sure what you're saying here. Are you taking a smaller video file and blowing it up to 1080?
Also, AE is not a good program for editing; Premiere is an editing program. AE is for compositing, motion graphics and (for some people) color grading.
Also also, you shouldn't have to export from Premiere to AE. You can import a Premiere project directly into AE with cuts and all intact.
When exporting an HDV 1080p 24 scene from Premiere to AE for a bit of editing, the new dimensions turned out to be 1440x1080
What do you mean by "new dimensions"? The normal size for HDV video is 1440x1080. The pixel aspect ratio stretches it out to appear 1920x1080 on screen, but the actual pixel size is 1440x1080. Is the Premiere sequence you are exporting different? What video sources are you using? How are you exporting?
Also, as mentioned previously, you shouldn't have to export from Premiere to AE. You can import a Premiere project directly into AE with cuts and all intact.
After rendering to an h.264 mp4 movie in AE, the end result was crystal clear but the physical size of the live video was about half the size of the original 720x480 vob file I began with.
No such thing as "physical size" in the digital world unless you print something out. Are you saying the finished video appears smaller on your screen?
Idk if the size of the project is 1440 x 1080 and the video itself is smaller like canvas and image sizes in photoshop? I'm kinda new at this...Am I missing a step here or does it have to do with my render and output settings?
There is nothing like canvas and image sizes in AE. Now, if your video doesn't fill the composition, it will be smaller... To be honest, I'm not actually sure what your question is. What is the actual problem you're having?
To be honest, you should really start here and work your way through those resources. Not only will it (probably) answer your current issue, but it will make you better able to ask questions in the future, because you will understand the vocabulary.
Sorry, guess I should have stated my problem more clearly. What is happening when I encode my vob file through AE with H.264 codec, it physically shrinks the clip to about half the size AE is telling me it is before encoding. I guess what I need to know is what size should I crop my vob file to so when I render it as a mp4, its dimensions are the same as the actual size of the sequence its in. Im using h.264 for the sole purpose of uploading to youtube.