I have no idea what I'm doing to cause the artifacts from AE
So, I take the multi-cam sequence and render it out into a WMV file which I then bring into AE.
You are rendering to a compressed format. All forms of WMV are compressed, even the so-called Uncompressed. You're ruining your color information and introducing block artifacts. Use a different intermediate format like good old Quicktime Animation or image sequences. Of course there may also be other things going on like you screwing up your fields with wrong footage interpretation and agressive settings for effects in 8bpc causing banding and quantization...
Seemed to have fixed the issue. . . I still have to make a DVD, but I can tell playing the AVI file out of AE that the artifacts are drastically reduced.
I do have a further question (somewhat unrelated). I render out using AE standard 'lossless' setting (which is an AVI file). The short test clip I use renders to a file that is about 466,000 KB. I changed the bit rate from 8 to 16 and re-rendered and then changed it to 32 and rendered again and the file sizes of all three are the same. I've never used anything but 8, but I was under the impression that the higher bit rates produced larger files and better quality.
Any lesson in this area would be appreciated. . . .
I render out using AE standard 'lossless' setting (which is an AVI file).... I changed the bit rate from 8 to 16 and re-rendered and then changed it to 32 and rendered again and the file sizes of all three are the same.
When you say 8, 16 and 32 bits you're talking about changing the AE project settings, right? They don't affect the number of color bits in any given codec.
I've been told that one of the virtues of working in a high bit depth in AE is that it tends to smooth out the look of gradients, glows, etc. even if you're rendering to an 8-bit codec. I've never tested this personally.
Well, it remains somewhat of a mystery then. One more question - somewhat related. . .
I was experiencing the same artifacts regardless of whether I was importing the WMV file or using dynamic link. Apparently with dynamic link, there is similar compression being applied in the 'transfer' to AE from PP. Do you, or anyone, know what's going on internally with dynamic link in terms of 'what format' is being imported into AE?
It might not be the compression alone, but interlacing. In Ae, you may have to separate fields. I'm an FCP guy, so I'm unsure how Premiere projects come in. If footage appears in the project window -- perhaps in a folder, try interpreting the footage as upper field first.