I'm running After Effects CS5 and even after reading the detailed discussion of square pixels, etc, I cannot seem to locate the place to control the pixel type. Thus I "think" I am using the same pixels at all times, only because I did not change anything and cannot locate a place to change the pixel usage.
I think I found my way into a setting for the composition.
I have yet to determine the "quality" of the original pixels.
I'll keep looking, but if you see this, please send a hint.
Okay, after exploring the composition settings, and comparing the source avi file look and frame size to the various options in the composition settings, I think the original source is a square pixel "format".
When I render the output I get a file (.MOV) that looks normal on play back in quick time, same shape, size, aspect ration, etc, as the original video.
In fact I can play the original video file beside the render output file and they look identical, except for the effect I added.
However, when I import the output file to Final Cut it shows it to be a 640 x 480 file, BUT when I place the file in the viewer the aspect ratio changes a little bit. It gets squeezed a little side to side.
So I look at the item properties for the source and the output files in Final Cut,
for the original the PIXEL ASPECT = SQUARE
for the output file the PIXEL ASPECT = NTSC - CCIR 601 (????)
If I was not confused before, I certainly am confused now.
Okay, it looks like an output file of type MOV gets assigned an NTSC - CCIR 601 pixel aspect . . .
while determining this I got to wondering if there might be a way to generate an AVI output file from the after effects render process.
I mean, if it takes in an AVI source file, shouldn't it be able to output and AVI file?
I just read a post on another Q & A thread which states AVI output is not supported in CS5 on Macs, which is the platform I am using to run CS5.
Not certain I understand why, but that is what the post stated.
I just read something about "importing" square pixel graphics to Final Cut which showed a table where by you select an input frame size which looks odd before it is rendered and then looks okay after rendering. Sort of. I tried it, and while it did improve the final result, there was still an obvious change in the frame size, but not quite as bad as it was previously.
Now I am wondering if I should convert all the AVI video to QuickTime MOV and then bring it into After Effects and render it out so all of the output files share the same distortion . . . . not really a solution, more of a disappointing work around.
Okay, the final cut import document suggested importing a square pixel data source from a 720 by 540 frame size.
(( for DV-NTSC 4:3 video format )) to obtain a 720 by 480 result.
I was able to get After Effects to generate 720 by 540 by doing the following,
from the Current Render "panel" I selected the Output Module (clicked on the name) and then altered it by checking the RESIZE box, which then allowed me to click on the CUSTOM drop down box, revealing a choice called NTSC D1 SQUARE PIXEL, however that creates a 720 x 534 frame by default.
So I UNLOCKED the aspect ratio and edited the 720 x 534 to make it 720 x 540.
I then clicked OK to close the Output Module setting panel.
I then clicked on the name of the Output To: file name and then clicked the render button.
I then imported the output file into Final Cut pro, and despite the initial odd appearance, after placing the video clip in the time line and rendering, the final result did not appear to have any strange change of frame size during play back.
However now I am attempting to get the aspect ration for the Final Cut output file to look proper.
OK, for anyone who finds this discussion while trying to solve the same or a similar problem.
How I got into the situation was by attempting to use only a segment of the original video in After Effects and then take the augmented video clip and use it with the original (unaltered) source video to assemble / create a short "movie".
As it turns out, that just would not work properly due to (I think) the fact the original source video was captured using a pocket digital camera in video mode.
The Canon Elph (SD450) records in 15 fps to an AVI file and uses Square Pixels.
The Canon camera came with some editing software which allows you to trim the clips and organize them to build a video.
I had split one of the clips in half and attempted to enhance part of it with After Effects and then put it back in the Canon editing software to complete the short video.
However, since After Effects (CS5 Mac) does not create AVI output files, I attempted to pass the output MOV file through Final Cut to make an AVI file for use by the Canon editing software. The Canon ES/W detected something was different with the clip and would not accept the video clip.
So then I tried to use Final Cut (v7) to add the enhanced clip to the other original AVI clips. I encountered strange frame size problems which seem to be related to how Final Cut Pro "sees" the square pixels coming from the Canon AVI as compared to the square pixel output from After Effects.
Final Cut sees the Canon AVI file as Pixel Aspect = square, however a square pixel output from AE seems to be slightly different.
Square Pixel MOV file from AE is seen as NTSC CCIR 601 in FCP.
Then there was the need to conform with FCP square pixel import rules . . .
Despite seeming to get close to what I wanted, I could not figure out how to do it.
In the end, created the entire desired clip in the Canon software and brought it to After Effects to add the enhancements and then played with the setting for final image quality to keep the file size small. My first output from AE created a 1.2 Gb file, when I started with 123 Mb.
Using Format Options 33% Quality resulted in a 382 Mb final output file.