View Full Version : Video Output Question

03-04-2005, 09:23 AM

I am rendering an animated short for a friend of mine. I have 64 scenes that I need to render a DVD presentation. I was told I should render the scenes into an image sequence and not a movie. Then import the images into a QT movie. After that, import the video into Final Cut Pro. I do not have a lot of video experience, but I do understand some media technique.

I have never used this method before, so I would like to ask these questions.

A: What is the best extension to use for image sequence in Lightwave? LW_tif32, LW_tag32, etc.....

B: When I import into QT, do I use the same file extension as the image extension name?

C: How should I set up FCP compression setting when importing the video?

D: Do I use mpeg 2 for the final rendering for the DVD? Are there any settings I should be aware of when using mpeg 2?

When I was new to LW, I would render the scenes into a 720x486 non- compression QT movie and then import into FCP using the NTSC settings for a VHS tape recording. For computer playback, I would use Sorenson Video 3 compression.

I do understand by rendering an image sequence you are protecting the images you have rendered up to, in the event the computer crashes. Where as a QT movie you lose everything.

This will be the first time I am doing a video for DVD players.

Any help or information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! :rolleyes:

03-05-2005, 02:05 AM

First of all good luck with your project. I hope it all turns out right.

1) The main reason you should consider rendering out your animation into image sequences in your situation is to have it available for multiple formats and to be able to have the orignial to come back to to recompress should your codec or settings not be correct.

However, you can nip this all in the bud by doing tests and researching your formatt beforehand.

What you might do, seeing as how there are plenty of questions, is take some simple test footage - say 30 seconds of a colored bouncing ball for instance or whatever - and run it through all of the paces.

If this is the only output of the movie I would skip the single frames and render as a QT and then import and then, edit and render your MPEG2.

But I would work backwards from your final output of DVD.

Starting from the DVD format decide and/or aquire the following information:

Output Frame Size i.e. 16:9 4:33 etc. You aquire this from the NTCS standards but a good place to find this exact info including the pixel aspect ratio is the templates in FCP for rendering to MPEG. Start there.

There is lots of information regarding compression into DVD from the Video footage but that should all be available in the docs for that application that you use to author the DVD. read that and it will give you all the data you'll need. Thankfully in the last few years, burning DVDs has gotten much easier. But one thing of note is that some burners are not as compatable as others. Stay away from Sony. As for a format to burn to, use only those with the offical DVD logo. -R is one and it is the most common. As an example +R does not comply with DVD logo. This is the standard for all players and media. This will ensure highest rate of compatability with players. YOu see the logo as that little oval with DVD in the center. You can even search it on google and get the data from thier website.

I'm too tired to rattle off Pixel aspect ratios but that's important. It does vary so that has to match in your LW scene set up to your final output or you'll get distortion.

So working backwards from DVD into QT make sure you have templates(in FCP) that all matchup as far as the frame size and pix aspect ratio is concerned.

As to the extention to use in LW, it depends on what program you use to convert should you decide to use images. Start there and see what it will accept and choose accordingly. I have no preference. But test the conversion software before you commit your entire anim

Then of course you use the QT extention of .mov

When you render to DVD yes it is Mpeg2. FCP should have a template for this.

Anyway work it all backwards and then set up your scene in LW and render a 30 second test or as many tests at as many lengths as you choose. Run it thought the entire process start to finish to make shure it all works BEFORE you commit to your renders.

This is all straight forward stuff we are not reinventing the wheel obviously I just always test things before I committ if I have not done it before and I think it's good advice here.

Best of luck,


03-05-2005, 07:32 AM
Thanks for the information, MDust.

Should I use "none compression" when rendering into a QT movie from Lightwave? I know it will be a large size video, but I am not sure what other setting would be good. Animation perhaps? I was told to stay as long as possible with no or little compression till the end. Then decide what format to render the final video to.

In the 3 years using LW I had never lost a rendered scene when using the Movie settings. However, most of my clips were 360x240 (5 passes) "test" videos with adaptive sampling on, 0.1. I have done several 720x480 (9 passes) for my Demo reel on a VHS tape.

For this project I need to do the full size of 720x486 and at least 9 passes with a .06 or no adaptive sampling. Not sure yet?? I will be seeing longer rendering times compare to the smaller video size, but I need good quaitly.

I am using a new computer and not sure how well it will perform long term rendering. So I decided to render out images to be on the safe on. Might do both, is that wise to do?

About 75% of the movie is on average of 6 or 7 seconds long. I have several longer 10 to 12 seconds clips. All complex characters involved scenes. I am using plenty of composting methods for the difficult scenes. Overall it will be a 3 month rendering project using only one, maybe 2 computers.

This is an overwhelming assignment for me. I am practically doing the whole project, even the storyboard. Only the audio is being done by someone else. This was also my first character animation experience as well. Spin spin my head spins!

I am trying to gather as much information I can for this project. Thanks!! ;)

03-05-2005, 02:41 PM
Well my hat's off to ya! Good to see someone with ambition.

I learned everything I know from doing all the hats too.

Sorry I forgot the compression question from your first post - it was late.

Also there is certainly nothing wrong with redering frames and uncompressed animation/video - probably a good idea. BTW I haven't figured out yet which setting in LW for a QT is "uncompressed" .avi has it in the compression settings (options) in LW as Full Frame (uncompressed). I assume in QT it is juts the Video setting. Check the manual.

But regarding the compression question, I have recently delt with a lot of DV. I editied 2 features in this format. The 5:1 ratio looks pretty good but If I had my choice I would of course choose none. But this is not only heavy on drive space it is heavy on your proccessor and hardrives durring editing. That is what has made DV so attractive, because it is not hard on your system and you can edit freely with real time preview. So if you have a way to process these clips - I have Batch Converter from Sonic Foundry - you could do what a lot of people do when editing footage is have a low res and a high res copy. One clip is rendered as a compression free the other is the one you edit with(one that you convert to a compressed file). The compression you use depends on how much your computer will handle. I assume with FCP you are just using "monitors" on your computer screen and that you do not have a real time hardware set up. In either case, it might be a good idea to process these clips into the DV format. It looks good and edits easy. If you don't have a conversion software, just load up the uncompressed file into the timeline in FCP and export/render as (or what ever they call it in FCP) into a DV file. Use a template that matches your footage i.e. NTSC DV widescreen(16:9) or NTSC DV 4:33. Just make sure and render it to exactly the same length. In otherwords, in mt NLE software I can double click on a clip in the timeline and it draws a region ecatly from the first to the last frame of the clip, so I can render a copy that is exact tot the frame. Comprende?

So then when you are done editing and ready to render a file to MPEG2, you first use a tool that I am sure they have in FCP to replace all the clips and you just replace all fo the clips to the uncompressed versions.

Also make sure you keep the names exact but store them in a different folder. There is a trick you can do that sort of simulates Lightwave's Content Directory idea. What you do is you have all the clips(compressed and uncompressed) as the same file names stored in two places. All the comp files are in a folder named Movie Clips Compressed the uncomp files are in a folder named Movie Clips Uncompressed. When you are ready to do you final output, close the project and close FCP (maybe even reboot) Then you just rename the folders so they are switched and it tricks the NLE to just go and look for the files in the "same" folder when it loads the project. Nothing fancy just rename the Uncompressed folder something unique like ad a 1 then rename the other one as Uncompressed and FCP will find it.

But after all of that FCP probably has a tool for this.

So there's my long answer. Yes go uncomporessed but edit in compressed. And yes render frames too - to be safe.

When it's all said and done you have to think about frame rate and make sure all of your stuff is the same and the audio guy and you are on the same page (regarding 29 drop and all of that) you will have to set this in LW too, so know what you're going with.

Best of luck.


03-06-2005, 08:02 AM
Once again Mdust,

Thank you for the reply and help. I have already save the information and will use it for good use! I like the idea of working with compress files then replacing it with the uncompress clips. Like working with a character who is low res and then replace him with the original file!

It is amazing with this business of animation and video. You never stop learning. Something else always comes up. It's just hard to speed up the process and move on, especially when you don't know how to proceed.

I never thought I would get this far with the 3D animation. Now the video challenge comes up. Spin spin my head spins! Thanks, I hope to share this video with ya! :rolleyes:


03-06-2005, 10:36 PM
Yes I'd love to see it and when you are ready. You will probably post some stuff here? If not we can exchange contacts if you like.

Anyway I know what you mean, my head is spinnng too! I am wrapping my head around a bunch of new stuff. Yep, always learning.

14 years ago I started making films. After my first short - in which I was introduced to and used Lightwave for about 4.5 minutes of animation on an Amiga 2000 - I was hooked on 3D but decided to stick to filmmaking the conventional way and I learned everything I know from camera/lighting to sound on down. Now I am applying all of that knowlege to 3D. Though I did keep my hand in it off an on through the years, it's like starting all over again learning Verison 8 but I'm making it. So believe me I know what you mean. I was just tearing my hair out the other night over V maps but I'm catching on. I read a lot of posts and get lots of valuable info here on this forum so when I can, I give back.

So I hope it all goes well and I am glad I could help with your situation - thought you'd like the file swapping idea.

Please keep us posted and by all means if you need any clarification on any of it let me know at any time. I know I opened a can of worms with drop frame but, you have to decide what to go with and be on the same page with your audio guy or it will be out of sinc.

There are conventions for this,(NTSC) I just don't have it off the top of my head, especially for DVD. (Even with my last project I had to check with the post house I mastered at to make sure I had it right)

Let me know if you need anything else,


03-08-2005, 10:52 AM
Quicktime Pro is only $30 and you can open your image sequence in it and save it to whatever movie format you want. My latest anim I saved as LW jpeg files and QT pro created a movie in Photo-Jpeg format that turned out really well and was much smaller than no compression. Of course if you will be doing a LOT of editing, jpeg might not be the best format because it is compressed pretty high.

Unless you are doing a very short anim, it is much safer to render out images. If you want, render out both and delete the images if the movie file is ok.

If you do images and need to fix only a small section, you can go back in and render out only those frames and as long as your render output settings are the same, the file names will sync up perfectly.

03-08-2005, 11:43 AM
If you do images and need to fix only a small section, you can go back in and render out only those frames and as long as your render output settings are the same, the file names will sync up perfectly.

Thats a great idea. Another reason to render out frames.

Also again I forgot to mention that most NLE aps now offer the ability to import still sequences - you may not have to buy/use another app for it. But in QT Pro they have a pretty extensive list of import file types if you need it(tff bmp etc).

here's that link:


In my app all I have to do is set the default still image length to one frame and shift select.

The only caveat is that it has a limited source format selection.

Again start from FCP and work back when you know what format stills it will take.




03-08-2005, 04:43 PM
Quicktime Pro is only $30 and you can open your image sequence in it and save it to whatever movie format you want.

If you want, render out both and delete the images if the movie file is ok.

Yes I have QT Pro. Thank you for the info. I just did my first image sequence scene and it is simple enough. I also rendered the movie at the same time as well. I think it would be okay to use no compression. I'm not worry about the file size.

Just the FCP end I need to experiment with.

Yes I'd love to see it and when you are ready. You will probably post some stuff here? If not we can exchange contacts if you like.


Hello again, Sorry for the delay. I was having trouble getting to the community group for the last day or so. I thought the site was down or something.

I do have a few scenes from the project in my demo short. I would like to shared the video with you, if you're interested I can email it to you? It's only about a min and half. I need people comments, especially other animators. The project probably wont be done for another 3 months. :(

I have been using Lightwave (Up and down) for about 3 years, but I am new to character animation for the last 8 months. It another learning experience for me. This is what I was taking about. Never ends! Spin spin my heads spins! LOLOLOL :D

If you like, Please contact me at: [email protected]

Thank you again!

03-08-2005, 07:32 PM
[QUOTE=Z_Render_8]I would like to shared the video with you, if you're interested I can email it to you? It's only about a min and half. I need people comments, especially other animators. QUOTE]

You know you can upload it here too if you want some feedback in the WIP gallery.

Just take it into QT Pro and squeeze it down to a nice small size so folks can stream it or download easy.

I also emailed you,