View Full Version : An easy question

09-02-2004, 08:28 PM
I'm new to AE and FCP, but loving both. My question is about the workflow between FCP and AE. I know someone is about to scream automatic duck, but please wait. All I want to know is, once I've imported some raw edited clips out of FCP and into AE, what are the right export settings in AE to ensure what I put back into FCP has minimal loss?

I'm worried about all this importing and exporting between the two programs will mess with the quality of my footage, and am looking for the step by step to ensure lossless transfer from FCP to AE and back to FCP.

Anyone want to bite?

Sol M.
09-02-2004, 10:30 PM
The best way I've found to move from FCP to AE is by using Reference Files. A reference file is very small in filesize because it basically only contains references to the source media. You can make a reference file of a sequence and import into any program like you would any other MOV file (because to any program, it is recognized as a normal MOV file). This is a nice feature of FCP, as not all NLEs in the same class have the ability to create reference files.

There are different options when moving from AE to FCP.

For a completely lossless export, your only option is to render uncompressed. Whether that means as an image sequence or as a complete movie file is your choice. Some people (especially those with a 3D Animation background) like to export as an image sequence because if something goes wrong with a section of the render, only the frames in that section would have to rerendered as each frame is represented as a unique image file. The only downside to image sequences (IMHO) is that you have to pay attention to ALOT of files for a clip as opposed to a single clip if it were rendered as a video file. Other than that, an image sequence is a pretty good option.

Keep in mind that a clip rendered uncompresseed will eventually need to be rendered to DV if you're mastering on DV.

With this in mind, if you are moving from AE to FCP merely for final mastering to DV (meaning you won't be making any more adjustments to the video), the choice is yours which application you do the render to DV in (the end result will be the same).

However, if you will also be doing encoding to other codecs (MPEG-2, web, etc.), then you would (theoretically) benefit from rendering uncompressed as you would be avoiding one generation of compression before encoding to the other codecs. In practical use, whether or not your video would measurably benefit from saving a generation will be based on the subject material of the video itself. Knowing whether it's worth it or not to render uncompressed will come with experience.

For some people, the amount of time it takes to render from uncompressed to DV (for final mastering) pretty much negates any of the benefits of saving a generation of compression before encoding to other codecs. In the end, you'll have to decide between the benefits/disadvantages of rendering time and measurable image quality for yourself :)