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Old February 26th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #1
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After Effects+Final Cut HDV workflow

Hi,
This is my first post on this board hope I don't do anything stupid.

Here it goes: I recently bought the Canon XHA1 camera, I'm really happy about it great camera and all, but I'm still ironing out some issues since I have never touched HDV.

I can capture from FCP just fine via Firewire as 108024p. It looks amazing in FCP and just as nice in quicktime.

My problem is opening one of these clips in After effects doing any kind of modification and bringing it back into FCP. I have tried bringing the clip as is (it shows up in after effects as 1920x1080 (1.33). I have tried rendering with animation codec full quality, HDV 108024p, as well as the apple intermediate codec. I have found that all of them produce artifacts around the edges when compared to the original clip, both in final cut pro and quicktime...

This is really frustrating since everything looks perfect on the original but it seems I am destroying my own footage by using may usual workflow... Hope it's not a stupid question!!

I'm on a Macbook Pro 2.16 2gig Ram. FCP 5.14, After Effects 7
Footage came from Canon XHA1 1080 24f mode
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Old February 26th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberto Bellini
This is really frustrating since everything looks perfect on the original but it seems I am destroying my own footage by using may usual workflow... Hope it's not a stupid question!!
You should be able to continue to, and I would think you would want to, use Apple's IC - because that's what your FCP timeline is set to, anyway, right? If you render out via Animation or something else uncompressed, you're just going to have to compress it again to AIC once back inside FCP (well, the next render pass will do that for you).

Now if this is going to be a regular occurrence, it may be in your best interest to pick up a Kona card or the like, that will not require you to re-render once back inside FCP. If you capture in FCP as you are now, then use that footage in AE, but render back out to a Kona format, then you'll be playing your 32bit footage back in real time.

I would think, though, that there must be a setting for AIC in AE that you just haven't hit right yet. I haven't done the workflow you are doing - but it's immediately on the horizon - so I want to see you get it right!

Are you sure there's nothing checked that shouldn't be checked in AE - are you limiting the data rate, modifying the FPS or not speaking kindly to AE?
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Old February 26th, 2007, 03:52 PM   #3
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Oh, and welcome!
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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #4
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Thanks!

Thanks for the reply.

My timeline actually was set to hdv 108024p. But I tried changing it to Apple IC.
I then exported as a quicktime movie (AIC. 100% quality 1440x1080 23.98 fps)
Looks perfect in quicktime.

I open the clip in AFE 7 and it shows up as 1440x1080 (1.33) and for some reason it is separating upper fields (which is odd since the 24 mode is progressive and I had interlaced unchecked in the AIC dialog box) so I interpret footage and remove the field separation.

I create a comp with it and it displays with a distorted aspect ratio even though in Composition settings it is at HDV 1080 1.33.

So I take this same comp (I left the aspect ratio issues as is...) and make a movie using AIC 23.976 non interlaced).

It opens up in quicktime with a distorted aspect ratio but looks fine as far as the artifacts are concerned. I bring it into FCP and..............

The edges look fine! But.... there is alot of added noise and artifacts to smooth color surfaces... usable, but I'm still wondering if I'm doing something wrong....
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Old February 26th, 2007, 05:19 PM   #5
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Offline for a bit...

AIC is something that would be applied during capture. Whatever you captured it at, make that those are your timeline settings (generally). Your footage is actually 1440x1080 (rectangular) but gets correctly interpreted as 1920 when played back (square). See this thread for more on that.

Second, don't export the movie - use the original footage (as captured) in AE. Unless there's a lot of editing or something going on, but bring the footage directly into AE and export it back out at whatever format you captured it at, though anything less than Animation or unCompressed will have *some artifacting. I would think you could use something like Photo JPEG to save some space...then, and it may sound like I'm back tracking, but I'm not (it depends on what you're using AE for (elements, open, effect)) - you may very well want to render out a high-res form AE and just let FCP convert once back in the timeline - -

But your timeline currently makes me "nervous" as you're switching codecs on it. I don't think you want to do that. By the time it's getting to AE, you've already re-encoded it once to a lossy format.

# See what happens if you bring your captured footage directly into AE,
# Get your timeline codec to match what you captured

Post your results...you aren't doing anything crazy. It's standard OP as far as I can tell...
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Old February 26th, 2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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same...

Yeah, this is what I tried in the beginning!!

I brought the clip in as I captured it, and rendered at hdv 108024p, which is what my final cut timeline was set to. The results are scary!! A lot worse then the previous method I described above... that was actually the best looking one.

Maybe I just need to do this AIC conversion on capture, I'll try that.
Is this what people have been doing? Everyone seems pleased with their hdv results so somethings up...
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Old February 26th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #7
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Even though I can output back to tape, I think of HDV as an acquisition-only format. The conform/print to tape process is a backup for me, at best.

The approach I take is to edit HDV at 60i or 24F, and to copy/paste the finished edit into a custom high quality intermediate codec timeline for final renders, or exports to After Effects, Motion etc. The problem with compositing and HDV is that it is an interframe format, which will increase render times, and it's also heavily compressed. It works fine for acquisition, but in post it's best not to finish in the format. It's slow to render anything complex, and it will scrunch everything into the 4:2:0 colorspace when often the quality of compositing and effects would benefit greatly by rendering to a 4:2:2 format that's less compressed.

I basically finish each project as a 1920x1080 Sheer codec QT file, which perfectly preserves the original HDV quality, even with heavy manipulation in post. I usually backup to HDV too, but if your project involves lots of After Effects comps it's best to just bypass HDV altogether and finish in a better format.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:31 PM   #8
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After Effects

I understand a little more about the limitations of HDV, and all that. But I think there is something very disturbing in after effects handling of the 24f footage...
It seems like it trys to deinterlace the footage even though it's interpreted correctly as progressive. I've seen a couple of threads around the adobe forums that point out to this issue, but so far the solutions have not worked for me.

I was able to get satisfactory results with 60i and the apple intermediate codec, but all my 24f footage looks very bad when put through the same process.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barlow Elton View Post
I basically finish each project as a 1920x1080 Sheer codec QT file, which perfectly preserves the original HDV quality, even with heavy manipulation in post.
May I ask what the 'sheer' QT codec is? Is it an uncompressed codec? What are some example file sizes of exports using this codec? I am looking for a similar export workflow. Thanks! :)
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #10
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Sheer is a true "lossless" codec, exportable in any HD or SD frame size (and stuff in between), progressive or interlaced. Lots of colorspace options too.

Well worth the $100 if you want better codec export options, but don't want the file size of QT uncompressed codecs.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:37 PM   #11
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Wow... thanks for that Barlow...

Do you know if I would be able to export using the Sheer Codec from Premeire Pro 2.0 and take that Sheer Export file to either Sorenson Squeeze or QuickTime 7 Pro for web encodings?
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