Monthly Archives: July 2011

In this day and age there is an abundance of settings and codecs you can choose for your video and audio exporting. What I usually aim for is good quality while trying to keep the file size relatively low. For this I usually export my videos in H.264 (aka. MPG4). This is a great HD compressor for saving space on your computer and keeping your videos in great quality. If you’re producing your going to want HD quality, meaning you’ll want a resolution of 1280×720 or 1920×1080, both considered HD resolutions. As for frame rate, 24 fps (frame per second) is the most used and widely adopted frame rate. Most online video hosting websites like YouTube and Vimeo have a top fps of 30, so if you’re using a fps over 30 it will be reduced down when you uploaded your video to the video streaming website.
Audio is the other part in the exporting process. AAC is a great quality format that a lot of software will default to when you are exporting. WAV is known as a great, if not the best, quality format, but WAV files are huge and will take up a lot of space on your computer, for an almost unnoticeable difference compared to AAC, so I choose AAC. Two other audio settings to look at are Data rate, and Sample rate. The Data rate is the bits per second that will be used to make up the audio file. So the more bits there are, the better the playback quality will be. The standard data rate is 320 kbps (kilo bits per second), compared to mp3s that use 128-192 kbps, where a lot of quality is lost. I therefor don’t recommend mp3s if you want a quality production. The last audio setting to look at is the Sample rate, which is the amount of samples the exporter takes per second to reconstruct the audio. The sample rate used almost everywhere is 44.1 kHz (kilo hertz), which is chosen based on how humans hear sound. There are plenty of long articles to read on this without making this explanation much longer.
To sum up, what I normally choose is:-

H.264 1920×1080 at 24 or 30 fps. AAC 320kbps, 44.1khz.


I am very picky when I listen to music, I always want to adjust the EQ (equalizer) whenever I can, whether it be an iPod, car stereo, TV, surround sound system, etc… I always start by adjusting the EQ to what others and I call “Smiley Face” EQ. What that means is raising the High frequency range and the Low frequency range, while keeping the Mid range frequencies where they are, giving a U or “smiley face” shape to your EQ. I find this is the best place to start when trying to find a decent EQ adjustment on any system for any music style. On an iPod this would be under the preset “rock” in your EQ settings. Try it out and see if you enjoy your music even more, this should give a fuller sound to the bass and a crisper sound to the treble.

       What I mean by using non DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is creating the sound for your project directly in your animation/visual effects software. First off, if you’ve made an animation in Cinema 4D, you can’t really edit sound, so you’re going to have to render it out to Soundtrack Pro, or Adobe Audition, or similar programs. I prefer these to Logic or Pro Tools because they are designed to work with videos, whereas Logic and Pro Tools aren’t made to work with videos.
There are only three reasons I see to edit the audio directly in After Effects, or other visual effects softwares, otherwise you are better off using DAW. Firstly, you have to get the project done within 5-10 minutes, there is no time to push your project out and continue in another program. Secondly, if you are using “stock sound effects” such as Video Copilots Designer Sound FX, and creating an effect using Trapcode Particular (or similar plug-ins) and you need to fit the effect to the “Woosh”, “Explosion”, etc…sound, it would be a lot easier to have the sound directly in your project when you make this effect, rather than go back and add it in when you are adding the rest of the sound for your scene. Thirdly, it is beneficial to use sound directly in After Effects, because if your whole project was created around a sound track, there no reason not to export your project without the sound you were using.
Other than those three reasons, you have a lot more control with your sound if you make it with an audio dedicated program. So, why not take a little extra time and get a better final result? Use your DAW (digital audio workstations)! …if you have one.

There are a couple of reasons why I have chosen YouTube over Vimeo (for now). I hate nothing more than poor quality audio, and if I can stream a video in HD it not only allows for better video quality, but also allows for higher audio quality to be streamed along with the HD video. This is one of the main reasons why I like YouTube’s option of watching in 720p or 1080p. Obviously it is nicer to watch a video in 1080p (if you have the option) rather than in 720p, but in those cases where you have a lower download speed due to a slow internet connection, the fall back 720p is a nice option so that you aren’t stuck waiting around for your video to buffer. However, you can still get pretty great quality in 720p. Vimeo also charges to upload more than 1 HD video a week whereas on Youtube everything is free. To be honest, I much prefer the playback appearance of the Vimeo player rather than that of YouTube, not to mention the higher advertisement flooding on YouTube…. But in the end why not both? They’re free…basically!

Firefox not displaying tif. images, not that much of a hassle considering they take much longer to load than a jpg. You can get a plug-in that allows it, but still why not just allow tif.’s to be displayed? Safari does!