[This article was first published in the November, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]
Douglas Steick asks:
I enjoyed your Soundtrack Pro & Motion training on Monday and did get some workflow issues resolved, however I did not ask this:
First, I crop, resize, and clean-up various video formats (mostly infrared imagery from sensors, ranging from 1288 × 1024 to 5K × 5K) with After Effects to 1920 × 1080.mov files.
Second, these .mov files are run through Motion to add various text treatments and then sent to Compressor to create the “final” .mov files.
Third, these “final” .mov files are imported into FCP.
Goal is to deliver the best image quality possible for delivery as an interactive Blu-ray Disc.
With this workflow I have used the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec for all steps.
While reading your “Picking the “Right Version of ProRes” article, I was particularly interested in the statement: “We use the Animation codec when we want to move files between one application and another, for example, between After Effects and Final Cut. Then once it’s in Final Cut, you render it into the final version you need for your project.
Should I be using the Animation codec out of both After Effects and Motion, and importing those files into Final Cut with it’s project settings set to Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and decline the offer for Final Cut to reset the project settings when the Animation file lands on the timeline? Or should FCP be set to the Animation codec? Then send to Compressor for the H.264 (I am actually using the x.264 codec) for Blu-ray authoring?
Larry replies: Doug, great question. The short answer is no.
Here’s a medium answer.
The Animation codec is for FCP 6 and earlier. For FCP 7, you should be using ProRes 4444, which is virtually lossless and higher quality than Animation.
Here’s a longer answer:
When exporting your files from After Effects, export them as ProRes 4444 – highest quality, can include alpha channel data, greater bit depth than most other video formats. Only downside is large file size.
Bring those files into Motion and do your processing. Since you’ve already scaled and converted them in After Effects, there is no benefit to exporting them from Motion. Just save the Motion file — very small and VERY fast — and import that into Final Cut for final editing.
When you are done editing, export as a self-contained movie and compress that to H.264 in Compressor. This should be much faster and retain more quality — especially in the shadow areas of your image.
NEW & Updated!
Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.