What is the best file format for exporting sequences?

what is the best file format for exporting sequences in general?
Tif or exr?
I know most companies use exr because it can include multi-pass
I experimented tif 32 bit float and exr 32 bit float, the quality and size of files are the same.
Is tif higher in uncompressed quality than exr, or not? Or it depends?

I like both, but as you say, many companies prefer EXR and that tends to be the current “standard.” But TIFFs vary in quality based on their compression, like any other format. It’s really a matter of personal preference and client preferences.

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As to your other question, I moved that here as well: “What is the best file format for exporting insert clip? Should I set “Clip” section to be the same as “revert to clip”? And what does “revert to clip” mean? What is it used for? I have no idea about this deep meaning.”

I like TIFFs with an alpha for insert clips.

As to “revert to clip,” you can find that in our documentation. Boris FX | Mocha V5.6.0 User Guide

Exporting Rendered Clips (Mocha Pro)

You can export a clip to an image sequence or QuickTime format by choosing “Export Rendered Clip…​” from the file menu.

export rendered clip

Options include:


Choose the clip you want to export.

Frame range

The range of frames you wish to export. If you choose to export the full range but have not rendered all your frames, the next drop down, “Revert to clip” will be used.

Revert to clip

Choose how to export frames that have not been rendered. If you choose None or the current clip to export, black frames will be exported for non-rendered frames.

Save channels

By default, this will just export the flattened render (Color), but if your render has alpha you can choose this also.

Export to

The export options for Image Sequences and QuickTime movies.

For Image Sequence you have the following options:

Directory: The directory where you want to export your image sequence.

File Format: A list of available image formats to render to.

Prefix: The name of the clip to go in front of the frame numbers.

Suffix: The name of the clip to go after the frame numbers (blank by default).

Index Start: The number to start the exported sequence from. By default this is the first frame in the timeline.

Index Width: The number of padding zeroes to use.

Choosing QuickTime movie will bring up the standard QuickTime export options when you click OK.

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Thanks for your FAST and EFFICIENT reply!!! <3
So for “revert to clip”, it would be better render first before we export, correct?
"Revert to clip

Choose how to export frames that have not been rendered. If you choose None or the current clip to export, black frames will be exported for non-rendered frames."

Hey Mary.
Prior to the curent Pro release, I had an issue with EXR’s that Martin might have notes on. Mocha didn’t like the Prores MOV that was my source so converted to EXR’s rendered from AE. Mocha like them & I thought I was set until I rendered a test back out from Mocha. The ones from AE were 10-bit and that’s what it was expecting, but the Mocha ones were 12-bit I believe. AE wouldn’t have anything to do with those so I ended up having to go with a different format that both apps were happy with.

In any case the issue arose too close to getting included when the current release was in Beta. Is that on the docket for the new beta?

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So you need to run through a render in Mocha before you export it. This is referring to what to do with unrendered frames so that there’s proper padding in the shot. I like to just render the whole timeline and then export, unless I am using the plugin, then I don’t export rendered clips at all… I just render them back to my host timeline using the plugin interface.

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In general, mocha likes 16 bit images. For best results, use EXRs that are 16 bit.

Is there control or options for that in AE? Seems like I tested all available & kept running into that issue.

You know what? It might have been with DPX files come to think of it. I found a utility at the time called DPX Analytics for Windows specifically for that issue & that’s what I uncovered.

So “Never Mind” on the EXR’s. Think that’s what I ended up going with (possibly tiff’s) but they were considerably larger than the DXP’s.

I’d run tests but had an unfortunate drive restore a few months back & lost my source files and of course all my notes on the subject. Kind of why I was trying to drag Martin into this as he might still have the Support log. Was just as Boris bought Imagineer Systems.

Fortunately, had an off site drive that I’m getting back soon & hope to fully get my drive up to snuff.

So, the various codecs available for export in AE all do different things in OpenEXR format.

Compression methods
There are 3 general types of lossless compression built into OpenEXR, with two different methods of Zip compressing. For most images without a lot of grain, the two Zip compression methods seem to work best, while the PIZ compression algorithm is better suited to grainy images. The following options are available:

  • None Disables all compression.
  • Run Length Encoding (RLE) This is a basic form of compression that is comparable to that used by standard Targa files.
  • Zip (per scanline) deflate compression with zlib wrapper applied to individual scanlines (not based on the ZIP file format despite its name).
  • Zip (16 scanline blocks) deflate compression applied to blocks of 16 scanlines at time. This tends to be the most effective style of compression to use with rendered images that do not have film grain applied.
  • PIZ (wavelet compression) This uses a new combined wavelet / Huffman compression. This form of compression is quite effective when dealing with grainy images, and will often surpass any of the other options under grainy conditions.
  • PXR24 (24 bit data conversion then deflate compression) This form of compression from Pixar converts 32-bit floats to 24 bits then uses deflate compression. It is lossless for half and 32-bit integer data and slightly lossy for 32-bit float data.
  • B44 This form of compression is lossy for half data and stores 32-bit data uncompressed. It maintains a fixed compression size of either 2.28:1 or 4.57:1 and is designed for realtime playback. B44 compresses uniformly regardless of image content.
  • B44A An extension to B44 where areas of flat color are further compressed, such as alpha channels.
  • DWAA JPEG-like lossy compression format contributed by DreamWorks Animation. Compresses 32 scanlines together.
  • DWAB Same as DWAA, but compresses blocks of 256 scanlines.

As to simply saving them in 16 bit, they will all ready as 32 bit in AE no matter what you do. But you should be able to export them as 16 bit from the renderer. If you run into too much trouble with it, try DPX or TIFF to simplify it.

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Thats great info & some I’ve never seen before. What would determine a preference? I usually just go with None.

On a similar note about exr’s is the ProEXR that fnord releases as a free .aex. The release version is ProEXR_v1.9.3, but I happened to have a beta and took me awhile to find the link to it. Long story truncated, both versions have issues, at least in my AE CS6. Trying to render a single frame file ends up with a HUGE file. In my case, I ended up with a file with one layer of image & 93 empty and an 800 Mb file. Moral, just use OpenEXR.

Your preference will depend on your needs and your setup as well as your drive space. I figure you can’t go too wrong with the Dreamworks DWAA format but, to be fair, I am not a format guru so I am not sure. No compression definitely makes for large files.