Seamless Animation has 'hiccup' at end when exported as h264

New Here ,
Nov 25, 2016 Nov 25, 2016

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I'm having a real head-scratcher here. For my work I build seamless looped animations in after effects, usually from 10 - 30 seconds depending on what the scene requires. Obviously, having been doing motion graphics for a few years, I ensure that every element of my animation is a seamless loop, verified and triple checked prior to export with laborious review within After Effects.

Things seem to go off the rails when I output these same animations via Media Encoder, and convert  or encode them to H264 mp4s (usually high bitrate, 10mbps). Now I know without fail that this video is seamless, but once it's encoded, when I watch it back in any playback software (vlc, qt, or windows "movie & TV) at the end there is, without fail, a noticeable hiccup which feels like anywhere from  6 frames to a full second stutter / pause when the video starts over again (usually easily identifiable / longer than shorter)

So I've tried to export the exact same animation in multiple formats:

Animation - seamless Loop

DNxHD - Seamless Loop

ProRes 422 LT (colleagues mac) Seamless loop

Sorensen 3 (I know, right?) Relatively seamless loop

What really grinds my gears is that if I take that same 'hiccuped' mp4, drop it into either premiere or AE, it loops seamlessly!

The issue on my end is for my job I need to hand off the animations to an operator who plays them back and they need to loop seamlessly, and using DNxHD / Animations are prohibitively large for the systems we have set up (mac mini's driving multiple cloned displays) so I need something lightweight, and as universal and great as the H264 codec is, it's the most reliable for our workflow.

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon in their workflows? I've tested it a few different ways:

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > AE 2014 > Media Encoder 2014 > H264 (stutter)

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > Media Encoder 2014 >  H264 (stutter)

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > Media Encoder 2015.3 >  H264 (stutter)

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > Media Encoder 2015.3 >  H265 (less prevalent stutter)

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > Handbreak / MPEG streamclip >  H264 (stutter)

Seamless Loop (Animation)  mov > Final Cut (colleagues mac) >  H264 (stutter)

I'm downloading the new Media Encoder 2017 now, and will try again with that, but I'm just trying to see the fault in my workflow here, and trying to figure out why this seems to only happen with h264 MP4's... Posted in Media encoder forum due to it being my primary pipeline, as an after effects animator.

Specs on my PC:

WinPro 10

Core i7-4790K 4GHZ

32 Gigs of Ram

Nvidia Titan 6GB Video Card

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