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Old February 9th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #1
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Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Hi,

I'm looking for some general advice on workflow using Adobe Premiere and After Effects (CS5.5). In particularly, in relation to Dynamic Link.

I have a number of videos I've been working on, and although I've been doing it a while, I still consider myself to be scratching the surface with how these programmes operate.

In general, I shoot on Z5 - so my footage is 720 x 576 Pal - Widescreen.

I then put together graphics in AE. (At the moment these are square pixel).

My key question I guess is what is best practice for combining the footage with my graphics.

Generally, I'm looking to output a video as square pixels to get best results when uploaded to YouTube or used on a website with a media player.

Working on a video yesterday, I was working principally in Premiere, attempting to bring in the graphics from AE using Dynamic link. But, the graphics were poor. Blurry, pixelated and just not good.

I then flipped the other way, importing the video sequence into AE, and building the whole thing in AE - which resulted in much better "crisper" graphics. But it took much longer.

Pixels and their aspect ratios fry my brain generally - although I like to think I'm good at math(s).

I've noticed that when I export from Premiere I get narrow black lines top and bottom on the finished uploaded video. From After Effects it's fine, matching YouTubes ratios.

Since this is typical of the projects I will be doing - I'm interested in how others build them, and the best way to work. (And whether you export the final project from Premiere or After Effects).

Essentially...

Film footage, combined with graphics. Shot 720 x 576 (Anamorphic?)
Finished video destined for web/YouTube.

At the moment, I seem to spend the lion's share of my time, just fiddling trying to get the end output right - rather than working on content.

Apologies in advance for the head slapping obvious things I haven't realised!

Any thoughts?

Tony
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Old February 13th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

I have different trouble with Dynamic Link. If I'm working on a quick, short sequence it works great, but if it's a long, ongoing project I never seem to retain the Link several days later when I reopen both projects, I just get color bars. Frustrating.

As for your blurriness, I wonder if you need to render the project in AE, or set your Ram Preview options to Full (it might be set to Third, or automatically step down to there). You shouldn't have any problem with blurriness as long as the project setting are the same pixel dimensions. Not sure why you get black lines on your Premiere video (Is standard PAL settings 720*576?). Sounds like you are off by 1 or 2 pixels. You could go into a clips 'Position' setting under the Effects Tab, uncheck maintain ratio or whatever, and increase the height by two pixels or so. Then just highlight all the clips in the sequence & hit CTRL V. Although, is the black line only on Youtube, not your Quicktime or AVI etc video file??
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Old February 13th, 2012, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

I must admit I've never started a project off in AE, always going to it, and back from premiere - and to and fro photoshop. Are you creating very complex graphics in AE then when you link to premiere, it pops up as a sequence? I have had trouble with getting these sequences into a different one, because they need rendering before they 'really' exist.


When I do projects in SD I tend to use the first option, just widescreen DV, not the square pixels version. I've tried to replicate what you're doing but can't make your problem appear - I must be doing something wrong, or just different to you.

If you can give us an idea of how you are working in AE, and how the dynalink to premier works, I can try again?
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Old February 13th, 2012, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

"If I'm working on a quick, short sequence it works great, but if it's a long, ongoing project I never seem to retain the Link several days later."

Yes,
I thought I was the only one having this problem. Thought it was something I overlooked....
Very interested to hear from others as to how to deal with this very frustrating situation!
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Old February 14th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #5
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Tony
I think the key to much of your problem lies exactly within the issues of frame size and pixel aspect ratio. You need to be absolutely sure about every parameter of your footage.
I believe the Sony Z-5 shoots HDV which is going to be 1440x1080 frame with a PAR of 1.33.
Then you must also make a note of framerate (24, 25, 30), interlaced (UFF), or progressive.
The sequence settings in Premiere should reflect all of these parameters exactly, and in After Effects you should set up your comp with exactly the same parameters. This should enable you to move media elements back and forth via Dynamic Link without problems. If you do render a comp from AE, be sure the render settings match the Premiere sequence settings.
On export of your project for web, use Premiere's specific presets for export to YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
If you have done all of this correctly, your images & graphics will be crisp and clear and you will not have any letterboxing bars on YouTube :)
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Old February 14th, 2012, 08:42 AM   #6
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Thanks for the comments and advice so far. I have made some progress (yay!) although probably a lot more to learn.

I thought I'd run through what I've found in case it's helpful to anyone else.

The two key issues were the blurriness and the black bars on the final upload to You Tube.

Blurriness.
I'd wrongly assumed that if the final output was to be square pixel, and graphics are naturally square pixel, that setting up the AE project as square was best. Clearly not. So I've set it to match the Premiere sequence with better results. Thanks Robert for making that point.


Black Bars on You Tube.
This is an interesting one which I solved in a way - although it's probably not the best solution. Robert and David's points got me going back over my pixels!

When I use the Z5 on Widescreen 16:9 PAL setting it shoots footage at 720x576 with a Pixel Aspect Ratio of 1.422. I've just noticed that when that footage is brought into Premiere it sets the Pixel Aspect Ratio as 1.4587, and describes it as DV PAL 16:9.

Now... 720 x 1.4222 = 1024 which is 16:9 on a height of 576.
But... 720 x 1.4587 = 1050.264 which isn't 16:9 on a height of 576. In fact the height would need to be nearer 590. That's if my limited understanding of PAR is correct.

So what I've realised is that my 16:9 footage is ending up in Premiere as "not quite 16:9", and then I'm exporting it, and uploading it to YouTube. YouTube adds the black bars to make it fit.

My current solution is to crop the sides of the source footage in Media Encoder to force it into 16:9 before exporting. This has got rid of the the bars.

That said, it feels like a bit of a work around - and I'd like to understand more about why Premiere calls 720x576 at 1.4587 = 16:9 when by my maths it isn't.

Last edited by Tony Fogarty; February 14th, 2012 at 10:18 AM.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #7
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

I do it a variety of ways depending on the complexity of the comp...

I always begin my project in premiere, start by laying down the audio track and some footage, and when I need to start some after effects, I always right click, and Replace with After Effects composition.

I built it in AE, and then render out in premiere to "proof read" my work. If it gets to be a complicated piece with a lot of things going on, I will sometimes render out the AE comp, and import the ProRes file that is the result, and then just remove the Dynamic Link'd comp. This keeps things in check so that it doesn't get ridiculously complex because I will routinely round trip 2-3 clips in one dynamic link and use composited effects and light effects as transitions.

If I render out some of the stuff I am working on it will stop a problem I run into every now - such as when I want to re-link and embed a dynamically linked comp in another to add another effect because I didn't think it through. You just have to be cogent about what exactly you want to do and sort of storyboard it in your head so you know what you need to render out, what you can link and leave, and what you are going to save until the final pass over the project for grading and effects.

Again, it is best to KNOW what you want to do, rather than just blindly wandering into a project and say I want to use after effects. Keep it simple, render things out as you need them before you make a final effects pass at the end of the project. I usually have the entire thing cut before I start AE work.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 11:35 AM   #8
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Just a guess...but if the aspect ratio as displayed by Premiere doesn't match the raw footage for some reason, maybe you can set up a custom preset for your cam? Or will that even let you set the ratio?

Any frame size issues I've ever had (importing or exporting) were a result of my own doing...especially when in combination with AE.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 12:05 PM   #9
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Fogarty View Post
That said, it feels like a bit of a work around - and I'd like to understand more about why Premiere calls 720x576 at 1.4587 = 16:9 when by my maths it isn't.
Perhaps this blog post will shed some light: pixel aspect ratios in After Effects CS4 and other applications in Creative Suite 4 Production Premium After Effects region of interest
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Old February 14th, 2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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Re: Adobe Premiere and After Effects Workflow

Thanks for that article Kevin. I think I've seen it before - but not having had the problem back then most of it went over my head. Now I've read it with new eyes!

At least it makes sense as to why the numbers don't seem to add up, and I'm not going mad.
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