9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 3, 2010 7:51 PM by Todd_Kopriva

    H.264 output files are too big

    bdmsb

      I've been building time lapse movies with QuickTime Pro and am moving to AE CS5. In QuickTIme it's easy to set the output quality of the H.264 video by moving a slider in a quality scale. My short clip looks fine at about 9 MB.

       

      In AE, if I choose H.264, I get a really crappy quality and a 2 MB file. If I choose "QuickTime" output, I get a 200 MB file. I've tried changing the H.264 Bit Rate to little effect. At most settings I've tried, down to "20", I get the same 35 MB file with pretty good quality.

       

      How can I get back to a 9 MB file, like outputting from QuickTime Pro does?

        • 1. Re: H.264 output files are too big
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I don't output H.264 from After Effects since AE doesn't do multipass compression. I render lossless out of AE and use something else (in my case Adobe Media Encoder) to do compression and final encoding.

          • 2. Re: H.264 output files are too big
            Todd_Kopriva Level 8

            Yep. As Szalam says, the standalone version of Adobe Media Encoder (AME) provides more control for compression options. The recommended workflow is to use AME for compression of files for final delivery/distribution (as opposed to intermedaite files for further post-production work).

            • 3. Re: H.264 output files are too big
              bdmsb Level 1

              I downloaded AME and so far it seems to offer the same options as AE. I don't see a multiple pass option for H.264. I guess I will have to study it further.

               

              But it seems pretty goofy to me that AE has a render engine that requires me to use a separate program for the last step in production. They brag about the render engine being able to make multiple copies simultaneously ... for the web, for TV, or whatever. So why not allow the same functionality as their own AME? It's not like CS5 is the "lite" version!

              • 4. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                Adobe Media Encoder is part of the After Effects package. You shouldn't have needed to download anything separate.

                 

                After Effects is good at creating output files for further post-production work. Adobe Media Encoder is better at compressing files for final delivery. Premiere Pro, by the way, uses Adobe Media Encoder for all exported movies.

                • 5. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                  bdmsb Level 1

                  My AE is version 7. I'm evaluating CS5 for upgrade, so I may not have the whole package.

                   

                  I seem swimming against the current here, but it still seems odd that I have to run a separate program to render my projects with AME after I have just rendered them with AE. But I'm trying to see how this all works.

                   

                  My movies are odd shapes, and they have to be by their nature. I can easily define those shapes in AE, but AME wants to use a list of presets that don't conform to my extra wide or extra tall movies. And AME doesn't seem to show me what the dimensions of my movies are. So to override the presets, I have to go back to AE, make a note of the dimensions, return to AME and set the custom size.

                   

                  But I wonder now if AE is using AME "built-in" as the render engine. I seem to be getting no additional features by having downloaded AME as a separate application. Specifically, I don't see any setting in AME that indicates it will do a two-pass encoding of H.264. As far as I can see, the H.264 encoding is pretty much the same as the render settings within AE CS5.

                   

                  Is there a way in AE to memorize a render setting so I don't have to re-set all the parameters each time?

                  • 6. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                    Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                    > I seem swimming against the current here, but it still seems odd that I have to run a separate program to render my projects with AME after I have just rendered them with AE. But I'm trying to see how this all works.

                     

                     

                    The job of After Effects is to create perfect images. The job of Adobe Media Encoder is to offer the best possible compression and encoding tools. This is the same division of labor that exists in other suites of video applications, such as Apple Compressor in the Final Cut Studio suite.

                     

                    It wouldn't make much sense for us to build all of the encoding and compression tools into After Effects if they are also needed by Premiere Pro, Flash, and other applications---all of which use Adobe Media Encoder to compress and encode movies.

                     

                    > My movies are odd shapes, and they have to be by their nature. I can easily define those shapes in AE, but AME wants to use a list of presets that don't conform to my extra wide or extra tall movies. And AME doesn't seem to show me what the dimensions of my movies are. So to override the presets, I have to go back to AE, make a note of the dimensions, return to AME and set the custom size.

                     

                     

                    Adobe Media Encoder is more restrictive about such things than is After Effects. The reason is that it's mostly used to create movies that adhere to some specific standards and constrained output types.

                     

                    > But I wonder now if AE is using AME "built-in" as the render engine. I seem to be getting no additional features by having downloaded AME as a separate application. Specifically, I don't see any setting in AME that indicates it will do a two-pass encoding of H.264. As far as I can see, the H.264 encoding is pretty much the same as the render settings within AE CS5.

                     

                     

                    This page gives an overview of rendering and exporting from After Effects, including a brief overview of how Adobe Media Encoder is involved.

                     

                    Regarding two-pass encoding: If you choose a format that supports it, the standalone Adobe Media Encoder gives the option for 2-pass VBR compression. This page gives some information about export settings.

                     

                    By the way, there's an AME forum here. Please bring questions about AME to the AME forum.

                    • 7. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                      bdmsb Level 1

                      Thanks for your patient and thorough explanations. I have found that the built-in Adobe Media Encoder can be used to create the output file sizes I want by selecting a small bit rate, so I don't need to switch to an external program for rendering.

                       

                      Sorry to have brought this up in this forum, I didn't know the rendering was perceived as a separate application.

                      • 8. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                        Dave LaRonde Level 6

                        I didn't know the rendering was perceived as a separate application.

                         

                        That's okay.

                         

                        I there is one problem I have with Adobe, it's that it assumes you read every little snippet of information about its applications.  That isn't frequently possible, nor practical.  It's why this forum exists.  Don't feel bad about using it; there are nice folks here.

                        • 9. Re: H.264 output files are too big
                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                          As Dave says, the whole reason that we're here is to help you to find the information that you need.