Green Screen work. Dynamic link between PPro & AE CS4 or export between? at DVinfo.net

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Old February 12th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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Green Screen work. Dynamic link between PPro & AE CS4 or export between?

Hey Everyone,

I just finished a week of shooting interviews in front of a green screen using my HMC150. Now the question becomes, what is the best way to integrate these green screen shots into my already large project?

I should say this is my first HD project so I'm probably unfamiliar with some of the tricks that would make this much easier on me, so please point them out!

I have probably 10 hours of green screen interview footage, and will end up with 10 hours of B-roll footage, covering classrooms, labs, etc, as this is a promo for a local college. So around 20 hours total footage. The college has many departments that each need a video, so this is why there is so much footage.

We will be doing a bit of color correction, and perhaps some added effects on the project, so I decided I will probably buy Cineform Neo as my master codec. That and after some tests it seems Cineform keys much better than AVCHD in AE CS4.


This is however my first time using PPro and AE CS4. Can someone suggest some good work flow options? I'm under the assumption that it will go something like this:

1. Import footage onto PC
(Vista 64bit, I7 720 processor, 12gigs ram, ATI radeon HD 4850, 2 TB storage)
2. Batch convert all AVCHD footage to Cineform
3. Import all Cineform footage into PPro CS4
4. Edit down to a final cut
5. Dynamic link PPro sequence to AE CS4, key out green screen w/ primatte, add in any additional effects or text.
6. Final export to DVD and web from PPro or AE?

The College wants the finished products for DVD and for their web pages.

I suppose I could try to keep everything in PPro CS4 if they make a good keying tool for it, but I've heard using primatte in AE is best.

I'm sure I'm overlooking a lot here or I'm mistaken about how I should go about transferring footage from PPro to AE, so let me know what recommendations you would make. And if you need any more info on my project or setup to make a recommendation please let me know. Thanks!

- Shawn
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Old February 12th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #2
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Shawn,

AE has a great keyer included with it (Keylight) that you may want to run through its paces before going with a 3rd party plugin.

So far as Dynamic Link vs Render, there are a few things to consider.

First... if you want to maintain the option of keying over revised backgrounds in the future, you'd probably opt to go Dynamic Link... unless you plan on archiving your raw footage AND your rendered footage if you go that route.... that's a lot of data.

From an archival standpoint, Dynamic Link works well via the Project Manager.

From an edit standpoint, and all things being equal... timeline response is snappier with a rendered file.... but if you are only doing cuts and not a ton of them, that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

What I would do is set up a small test project with a green screen take. Set up your key in AE and then use Dynamic Link in Premiere and archive the project. Make sure all elements are grabbed (background elements, AE project, etc) and you can open the archive and have everything present.

Rendering your files adds two big ingredients to your project.... file size and render time, while eliminating flexibility down the road should you choose to not include your raw green screen footage.

In an ideal world... Dynamic Link should make transparent the fact that you are editing virtual clips and your proposed workflow looks good. The only variance for me is using TMPGEnc for the conversion from CFHD to MPEG2. TMPGEnc is discussed extensively on these boards, and there is a free trial available. It smokes AME for scaling, deinterlacing, and overall image encoding.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #3
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I second TMPGEnc. It blows Adobe Media Encoder out of the water in terms of quality, especially when going from HD to DVD. If you consider TMPGEnc, consider the Leadtek MPEG2/H264 PCI Express encoder card. Its $290 and includes TMPGEnc whereas the program by itself is $100. Newegg.com - Leadtek MPEG-2/H.264 Transcoding Card WinFast PxVC1100 with TMPGEnc PCI-Express x1 Interface - TV Tuners & Video Devices
Tomshardware just tested it and its now on my To Buy list.

About AE & Premiere: depending on whether you need to animate graphics and/or text, I find AE so much easier and quicker. I also agree that "Keylight" is a great keyer (Its a fairly expensive plugin from The Foundry which Adobe includes for free).

Good luck.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #4
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"The only variance for me is using TMPGEnc for the conversion from CFHD to MPEG2. TMPGEnc is discussed extensively on these boards, and there is a free trial available. It smokes AME for scaling, deinterlacing, and overall image encoding."

Does this mean once i export my project from PPro or AE, i should export it as cineform, then use TMPGEnc to encode to mpeg2?
Cineform turns the HMC150's long gop into intra frame compression right? so there would be no need to do anything else inside TMPGEnc for converting CFHD to mpeg2 right?


"About AE & Premiere: depending on whether you need to animate graphics and/or text, I find AE so much easier and quicker. I also agree that "Keylight" is a great keyer (Its a fairly expensive plugin from The Foundry which Adobe includes for free)."

Are you saying I could do all the editing for this project inside AE and leave PPro out of the mix? I do plan on adding graphics and text to some of the videos in this project.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 12:09 PM   #5
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Yes to outputting a master Cineform file of your edit from Premiere.

Attempting any sort of timeline edit from AE would quickly become tedious. I think of AE as a vertical software, and Premiere on the horizontal.... or, one deals with layers, the other with time. Dynamic Link is a good vehicle for having the best of both worlds.

And your assumptions about what Cineform will do for your output are correct. Outputting to a CFHD file is your best route. You can research that aspect on the Cineform board.... a wealth of information, and as nearly as I can tell.... if you work for Cineform you don't require any sleep because they offer an incredible presence on the forum.

Just a reminder.... do a test, and make sure Project Manager will archive for you without any surprises.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #6
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Technically, you could do all your editing within AE, but the key is nesting or 'Pre-comps' as AE calls it. I prefer AE for videos that require a lot of animation. If your text and graphics tend to be static, then Premiere will be easier to learn and use.

For audio editing, AE is cumbersome and lacking.

The only problem I have come across with Dynamic Link from AE to Premiere is using transitions from a Premiere clip to a DL/AE clip and vice versa.

Here is a great resource for AE - After Effects Scripts
Especially the BG Renderer, which allows you to render a comp in AE and continue working on other comps in AE. BG Renderer
The scripts are free but you can donate any amount you want.

Since you are new to Premiere & AE, Lynda.com is only $25/month and is great for learning the basics.
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Old February 15th, 2010, 01:53 AM   #7
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Great info all around, thanks so much everyone I really appreciate it!

- Shawn
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