View Full Version : After Effects and Timecode

Cail Young
05-15-2008, 09:24 PM
After a recent mishap with a third-party FX house; anyone aware of a way to make After Effects preserve source timecode when rendering Quicktime movies?

Or am I looking at window burning to keep TC through to the online?

EDIT: This should be in Other Workflows, my bad.

Cail Young
05-17-2008, 07:00 PM
Anyone got any clues?

Cyrus David
05-17-2008, 10:49 PM
I don't know if AE works like editing software.

You could cut in FCP (or AVID) use Automatic Duck to export to AE (it will bring the sequence into AE - matching the cut in FCP) do the FX work on the shots in AE and go back to FCP with the results. Check out Automatic Duck here:


or... ask this question on the best place on the planet to get an expert After Effects answer. You've gotta subscribe...email your question and wait for the answer in your email box.


Sorry I don't have a direct answer.



Cail Young
05-19-2008, 03:18 PM
The problem with that method is that you can't split up shots over multiple artists, which was the situation - multiple artists handling multiple shots and some of them were trimming shots in AE which throws off frame counts so you can't even do a numeric matchback; you have to visually match at the online which is SLOW - not the best situation under pressure.

Mark Allen
05-19-2008, 03:56 PM
I was waiting to comment because I was wondering if anyone would have a great answer. You could ask a few places: creative cow dot net and www.vfxpro.com are two great ones. (by the way I tried three times to put creative cow as a url and it kept giving me really crazy links - strangest thing! Seriously - try seeing if you can post it without the spaces.)

Now - I think it is possible that there would be some way of doing this with a script or hack that I don't know of - but in all my years of owning a VFX company, I've never seen it. :)

Also - more often than not vfx people with AE are rendering in frames. One of the reasons they do that is for distributed rendering. You're not really going to get time code to attach to that.

Ever since we stopped doing film FX and did mostly HD for TV and such, we threw out using handles and basically, editorial just gives the artists the exact frames they need, and the artists give editorial back those frames and it's done. If you do use handles, just make sure they're always the same - like 5 frames. I've not missed handles personally, not once.

So you just label your shots and then in FCP (or your editing program), you can have a title line on top of your edit line which indicates the shot number so as the shots come back (out of order), it's easy to drop them in without even looking at the image.

Perhaps this isn't your problem

If you are trying to go from AE to FCP and back - Automatic Duck does work, I own it, I don't really love the workflow with it though I must say.

Cail Young
05-20-2008, 12:27 AM
Perhaps this isn't your problem

The problem was VFX started before editorial finished, and because speed ramps in the edit meant I couldn't use in and out points for the hi-res transcode... You get the picture.

At the moment I'm thinking if we go down this path again it's a case of either mandate that the offline is 100% locked before I start pulling shots for VFX, or I just burn TC in a letterbox for VFX shots.