Aspect Ratios and codecs for animation in FCP

Posted by John Anderson 
Aspect Ratios and codecs for animation in FCP
July 26, 2007 08:56AM
I have a six minute animated film that I am putting onto DVD using DVD Studio Pro 3.
the entire film was made in Flash at 720x480 and exported using the animation codec, auto keyframes, million+ colors. I exported it in both 720x540 and 720x480. Both look good, however, I have read recently that some professional animators start in Flash with a 720x540 format and export into Final Cut Pro at 720x486. After editing in Final Cut Pro they export back into 720x540.
Does this sound like good advice? I'm trying to get a handle on all of this so I can start out using the right aspect ratios at the very beginning.
Re: Aspect Ratios and codecs for animation in FCP
July 26, 2007 03:25PM
<<<720x480 and exported using the animation codec>>>

Did circles come out right when you did that? Television services running in 720x480 "know" that those two numbers are not 4:3 and automatically use a non-square pixel conversion so everything looks correct on the screen. Circles come out round.

Meanwhile, back at standard QuickTime and a computer screen, those pictures will look short and fat. That's when you either need 640x480 or 720x540. Both of those are 4x3 formats (one converted up and other down). That's also called Square Pixel.

We start television graphics in Photoshop 720x540 too, because that lets the artist produce work with no distortions on the screen. Then we export that work at the last second to 720x480 (or 486) with Constrain Proportions turned off. That graphic will look seriously weird until you drop it into Final Cut where it matches all the rest of the 720x480 stuff. Final Cut, a television compliant service, knows about the non-square distortion and straightens everything out again.

What is it about Flash that lends itself to animation creation?
Re: Aspect Ratios and codecs for animation in FCP
July 26, 2007 06:28PM
Thanks for your response. I will start my files at 720x540 in the future as that seems like a good format for what I'm doing even though I probably should think about HD formats as well.
I have spent the day experimenting with all the different combinations for exporting my film. They all seem good. I think the vector qualities of Flash stretch easily into different shapes. However , I do notice that some things were round look a little oval etc but there is little or no jaggies- as they say.
Also, I need to see everything projected on a large scale to make a final determination.
However, maybe you can solve this problem.
I exported several test using the Quicktime in Compressor. They looked great on my computer but DVD Studio Pro seemed to get stuck encoding these files. Everything else worked fine. I notice that people in the forum seem to have problems with Compressor out of FCP?

Why do I like Flash?
This is the first full animation I have completed exclusively in Flash. I like drawing in Flash and once I have specific scenes created I can recycle those scenes or re use parts. Also, file sizes are relatively small considering how big they can get in other programs. It is not an intuitive program but I definitely learned a lot on this project and cannot wait to start the next one.
Best, John Anderson
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