Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Deep AVIs within After Effects Pro.

The professional version of After Effects has the very import feature of 16-bit processing. This is something CineForm loves and we made extensive use of this on the production of Dust to Glory. To allow greater than 8-bit AVI support within After Effects, CineForm has created its own I/O module to offer importing and exporting of deep AVIs. Cool huh? Yet this comes with some resistance from Adobe themselves as we had to override their existing After Effects importer. The concern is fair, just as AE doesn't support deep AVIs (annoying to our customers), the CineForm importer doesn't support DV (annoying to many of their customers.) Unfortunately the two importers can't play well together, as After Effect is missing the mechanism that Premiere has which enables multiple importers to co-exist. Sigh.

To overcome Adobe's concern and the After Effects limitation, the new release of Prospect HD (v1.1 is due out any day now) will allow you to select which importer you will use on the launch of After Effects. You can permanently select deep AVIs, or stay with 8-bit processing, or dynamically select which you are using in each AE session. The beauty of this approach is it actually overcomes the AE limitation for all AVI types (with a little user work-around.) It turns out the AE limitation only applies to the action of importing, not to using multiple AVI types loaded in previous sessions (weird I know.) If you're working with deep AVIs but you still need to mix in some DV clips, here is how you can do it (in PHD v1.1.) Starting with a project with deep AVIs, to add DV elements:
1) save your project and close AE.
2) re-open AE (while holding SHIFT+CTRL) which will open the CineForm importer control panel.
3) Select 8-bit AVI mode from the CineForm pop-up.
4) reload you project and import all the new DV elements.
You are done. Now all the media types work together while gaining the benefits of deep pixel processing. If you need more deep AVI elements, simply repeat the steps and switch back into deep AVI mode. This shows AE is so close to working as we all would prefer, yet this work-around allows the highest quality output without compromissing your source flexibility.


-Spiff- said...

Would there be any benefit to such deep avi settings when working with the 8-bit Cineform files from AspectHD?


David said...

Not for 8-bit sources, the results will be the same as the importer can only use the bit depth of the source file. However for some operations it is worth using AE Pro in 16-bit mode, even with 8-bit data.

Obin Olson said...

I understand Aspect is 4:2:2 8bit right David?

If this is the case then what is happening with my 4:4:4 files from the dvx100 mod when I compress with your codec?

David said...

Obin, RGB 4:4:4 will get converted into YUV 4:2:2 using Aspect HD. As with most video compression technologies, YUV storage offers the greatest compression efficiency and image quality balance. We intend to keep 4:4:4 for film and effects work-flows (future.)