Importing Sequences into Video Applications Flash

Now that you’ve created a sequence or QuickTime movie with Flash’s Export or Publish command, you can bring the newly generated material into most video-editing applications. Not all video-editing applications will accept still image sequences and automatically treat them as one movie clip like Adobe Premiere or After Effects do. Just about any video application will accept QuickTime movies. In this section, you see how to prepare either a raster QuickTime movie or an image sequence for video output.

Adobe Premiere 5.1
Adobe Premiere is one of the most popular video-editing applications available for desktop computers. Just about every major video-capture card comes with Adobe Premiere (or Premiere LE), and it offers a very intuitive interface for editing video. While not as advanced as Adobe After Effects for visual effects or compositing, it can be used for a variety of tasks, from CD-ROM video to animated GIFs to DV-ready output.

To import a numbered sequence of still images generated from Flash, double-click in the Project window or choose File➪Import➪File (Ctrl+I/Command+I). Browse to the folder that contains the image sequence and select the first image in the sequence. Check the box for Numbered Stills underneath the filename field. This option tells Premiere to automatically look for consecutively numbered filenames and treat the group of them as one Movie Clip.

Click OK, and Premiere adds the image sequence to the Project window as a Movie Clip. It displays the first frame of the clip as an icon, and includes the duration of the clip and its pixel size.

The Project window displays useful information about the clip, such as duration and frame size.

The Project window displays useful information about the clip, such as duration and frame size.

If you followed the guidelines in the “Adjusting Flash Movies for Video Output “ section, then you’ve already anticipated a 59.94 fps playback speed. Because NTSC video uses 29.97, we need to adjust the speed of the imported sequence. Select the clip in the Project window, and choose Clip➪Speed (Command+Shift+R or Ctrl+ Shift+R). Enter 200 percent for the New Rate setting, as shown below.

Use the New Rate setting to adjust the speed at which Premiere plays the clip. Because Flash does not create interlaced frames, you need to mimic the effect of interlacing by doubling the number of frames in the Flash movie.

New Rate setting to adjust the speed at which Premiere plays the clip

Drag the imported sequence from the Project window to the timeline window. Place the clip at the desired insertion point. If you intend to superimpose the image sequence over another video track, place the image sequence clip on the Video 2 track.

Adobe After Effects 4.1
As mentioned, After Effects is the Photoshop equivalent to video production. After Effects works with moving images in the same way that Photoshop works with still images. Although After Effects is a complex program with innumerable settings, you can use it for simple tasks as well. Using After Effects, you can achieve the highest quality video from your Flashgenerated image sequence. That’s because After Effects offers subtle controls for video clip and composition settings that deliver crisp, interlaced, frameaccurate video.

After Effects can continuously rasterize any vector content meaning that After Effects can re-render each vector frame into a raster frame. Most video applications, such as Premiere, rasterize the first frame of a vector image and continue to reuse that first rasterized version for the entire render process.

What does that mean? Simply put, if you have a small vector circle in the first frame of a project that grows larger in subsequent frames, then the circle appears very jagged at the larger sizes. Although both Premiere and After Effects render a Flashgenerated image sequence at the same quality, please note that if you want to do special effects with just one frame (or still) from a Flash movie (not an entire image sequence), then After Effects does a much better job. Also note that this can be confusing because there are two potential uses of material imported from Flash into either After Effects or Premiere. These are either single frame imports or multiframe imports. The big point is this: After Effects does a consistent high-quality job with both types, whereas Premiere only handles the latter type (multiframe) well.

Please refer to the earlier discussion of After Effects, if you are not familiar with its interface and controls. To import a sequence into After Effects:

  1. Open an existing After Effects project file (.AEP) or create a new project (Command+Option+N or Ctrl+Alt+N).
  2. Double-click in the Project window to import the image sequence. In the Open dialog, browse to the folder containing the image sequence. Select the first file of the sequence (for example, ball_0001.png) and check the Sequence option (such as PNG Sequence, JPEG Sequence, EPS Sequence, and so forth). Click Open.
  3. If After Effects detects an alpha channel in the imported file(s), then an Interpret Footage dialog opens. You must tell After Effects how to treat the alpha channel. For any image or image sequence with an alpha channel imported from Flash, use the Treat As Straight (Unmatted) setting.
  4. After Effects automatically detects the presence of an alpha channel in imported file(s). For alpha channels that Flash creates, use the Treat As Straight (Unmatted) setting.

    After Effects automatically detects the presence of an alpha channel in imported file(s)

  5. Select the imported sequence (now shown as one footage item) in the Project window and choose File➪Interpret Footage➪Main. This time, the Interpret Footage dialog displays the complete settings for the selected footage file. In the Frame Rate section, enter the correct frame rate in the “Assume this frame rate” field. If you followed the guidelines given earlier, then you used a 59.94 fps for your Flash movie. Enter that value here. Also, make sure Square Pixels is selected in the Pixel Aspect Ratio section.
  6. In the complete Interpret Footage dialog, you can set the frame rate and pixel aspect ratio for the Flash image sequence.

    In the complete Interpret Footage dialog, you can set the frame rate and pixel aspect ratio for the Flash image sequence.

  7. Create a new composition via the Composition➪New Composition command (Command+N or Ctrl+N). Depending on your video hardware, the settings for a new composition will vary. For the Duration section, enter a value greater than or equal to the length of the imported Flash sequence. See below for a DV-specific composition.
  8. Drag the Flash sequence footage file from the Project window to the Time Layout window. You now have a Flash sequence ready to integrate with other video in After Effects. Use Render Settings and Output Module settings specific for your video hardware.
  9. Composition settings for DVformat (for example, mini-DV, DVCAM) video

    Composition settings for DVformat (for example, mini-DV, DVCAM) video



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