Flash CS4 Quicktime Export leaves artifacts and looks like crud. Help!
September 26, 2009 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Flash animators: When I export my flash cartoon to quicktime, moving objects leave behind horrible artifacts. Apparently I am not the only one with this problem. If Flash's quicktime export is so crummy, how do the professionals publish their cartoons to video?

I'm working with CS4 on a mac, but I've heard this is also a problem with CS3. I've also heard that you can import SWF files into After Effects and then export to video. As much as I'd like to be able to afford AE, I can't at the moment.

I know there are tons of animators working in Flash. Does this problem exist for you, and how do you deal with it?
posted by buriednexttoyou to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When you are exporting to Quicktime, what settings are you using?
posted by jeremias at 8:43 AM on September 26, 2009

Response by poster: I have tried every variation of export settings I could find. I have tried the default of "Stop exporting when last frame is reached" as well as "Stop exporting after time elapsed: hh:mm:ss.msec." I have stored the temp data in memory and on the disk. In Quicktime settings, I have tried most of the compression types (oddly enough, DV - PAL yields the least awful results. I would prefer something uncompressed or H.264). I have tried variations on the frame rate. I've set key frames to the default of 24, to every frame, and to 999 frames. I've set the quality to very high and very low.

As far as I can tell, the problem happens in the "recording flash content" phase, and not in the "Compressing Quicktime Movie" phase.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:05 AM on September 26, 2009

Response by poster: Just discovered that the problem goes away if I change the movie's framerate from 24fps to 12fps. This makes the movie run at half speed, though, but I can double the speed of the video in another program to get it back up to 24fps. This adds more steps to the process, though, and I hope it doesn't cause audio sync issues in the future. If anybody figures out another solution, I'd love to hear it.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 11:25 AM on September 26, 2009

When I did this, I always just exported frames as JPGs or TIFFs. (this was some time ago)
posted by jedrek at 11:54 AM on September 26, 2009

Do you get this same artifacts when you export using the "Animation" codec? Unless you've done it already I would do a simple motion tween with a circle and then export using the aforementioned animation codec which is uncompressed. If you see artifacts here, then something is definitely wrong with the Flash encoding.
posted by jeremias at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2009

Response by poster: jedrek, what do you use to recompile the frames into a movie?

jeremias, I have used the Animation codec with the same problem.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2009

Not a Flash user, but wondering if you tried to export an image sequence, which could then be compressed however you wanted? Might work...
posted by dpcoffin at 12:53 PM on September 26, 2009

Response by poster: I can export an image sequence, I'm just not sure what to use to recompile it.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 12:58 PM on September 26, 2009

Best answer: Use Quicktime Player (with Pro key enabled, or using Snow Leopard's Quicktime 7 Player, which lifts the restrictions) to join the files.

Assuming they are numerically ordered, under Quicktime's File Menu, there is an item that says "Import Image Sequence". Point that at the folder that contains your image sequence and click OK. It will ask you what the frame rate is, and then compile into a .mov. You can then export this to your desired compression format.
posted by tomierna at 1:17 PM on September 26, 2009

Response by poster: It works! Thanks, tomierna! I wonder why Snow Leopard has Quicktime 7 and that newfangled Quicktime, but the newer one doesn't have the ability to import an image sequence. Very strange.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2009

It seems this has been answered well, but also keep in mind most web video (youtube, etc) ends up in flv (flash video) format these days. So you could also publish to that...

Although now that you have QT, Vimeo or whoever will handle that conversion upon upload.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:32 PM on September 26, 2009

It seems this has been answered well, but also keep in mind most web video (youtube, etc) ends up in flv (flash video) format these days. So you could also publish to that...

They do (although they also use H.264 MPEG-4) but I've not found one yet that will allow a 'native' upload - I think they all recompress on upload, regardless of the supplied format. So providing a video that is close to the end result in terms of compression bitrates and potentially resolution can actually result in poorer quality as the recompression process make compression artifacts worse. In general it's best to use a higher bitrate good quality codec to supply those sites.
posted by sycophant at 12:35 AM on September 27, 2009

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