Saturday, 16 February 2008

Adobe MPEG-2 Support


After struggling last time to import MPEG-2 files in Premier Pro, this week I have been having issues with poor support for the encoding in After Effects. There is a problem where the rendering suffers from red artifacts, normally filling the entire frame.

This is not a problem with the source as I can play the file in other software without issue, but the red flicker is being introduce in After Effects. After browsing the web for this issue, the concensus seems to be to convert your video files from MPEG-2 into something else before editing them, however, this is a time consuming process and adds the possibility of introducing more errors.

To add insult to injury, whenever I try to report an issue on the Adobe support site, it seems to be down for maintainance (do they do this every Saturday?).

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Adobe CS3 Production Premium

Okay, so one of my interests is film making (not that I've made any yet) and to that end I have just purchased a copy of Adobe CS3 Production Premium (actually I bought it over a week ago, but have been so busy I had done nothing but install it before today). Now I'm no expert, in fact most of this is completely new to me, so here is a beginner experience of video editing in CS3.

I had some video files lying around from my holiday last year, so I thought I'd have a go at editing one of those. It was a video of the dolphins at sea world (aww, cute).

One feature that caught my attention when I was reading about the package was the AutoComposer which you can use to create scores for your video. So, first thing I did was open up Bridge, as this is what pulls every thing together, and clicked on the olive coloured Sb box.

This did not, as I had hoped, open Soundbooth, but a page with information about SoundBooth; including, as luck would have it, a link to a tutorial on using AutoComposer. I clicked the link and while the tutorial opened, I opened up Soundbooth.

The tutorial started and I started along with it.
Choose a score it said. I did.
Click on the score and you will hear a preview it said. I didn't, hear a preview that is. I paused the tutorial and started poking around. I discovered a preview panel under the window menu, I heard the previews. I resumed the tutorial.
There is some explanation on various items on the composer panel.
Select the video file as the reference link it says. I pause it again. I have not yet got my video clip in the application, so I load it up and select it as the reference clip. I continue the tutorial.
It explains about intros and outros and how the score works with keyframes.
It explains how to lower the volume of the score while a person is talking. I lower the volume of my score only to find that no-one is talking when they should be. In fact, my video has no sound at all!!
I paused the tutorial and went on a hunt for an explanation.
After trawling through help and googling, I found a forum post that said the sound in MPEG files is not supported as it is mixed in with the video, or something like that.
Most of my video files are MPEG. In fact my new camcorder, a JVC Everio, records everything in MPEG.

I am really annoyed that CS3 does not support audio in MPEG files, I have used free video editing tools that do this, surely one I have paid so much for can do it!
Come on Adobe get your act together!!

I tried the video file in Premier Pro (the video editing package), no luck there either. So I googled again and found a freeware app to rip sound from MPEG, this worked... sort of.
The audio file was shorter the the original MPEG.
In Premier Pro I could change the duration, by I was not sure it would sync correctly. I decided that would do for now, I'd try out some other features.

I decided to use After Effects to try out stabilizing my video footage (hand held camcorders get a bit wobbly) and this was great! Load up the file, drop it into the composition, right click and select stabilize. Easy.
I turned on every option, selected 2 points then let it rip. I waited for it to process a few second, then stopped it, applied the results and hit playback. When it played back it was devoid of shakes, but even more impressive, it had sound! It seems After Effects can do what the other apps couldn't and can read sound from an MPEG file.

A plan began to form.

I saved my After Effects project and then tried exporting as a Premier Pro project.
I started up Premier Pro. I opened my new project. It didn't work.
The video data could not be found and the was still no audio.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.

At least I have about 3 seconds of video footage of dolphins that doesn't shake.

My Other Blog

I already have a blog dedicated to the work I am doing on Kingdom Gould, so this is my other blog, the one that contains all the other writings on what I'm interested in.