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HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer

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Zak Stoltz
HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 2, 2010 at 2:53:57 am

I have looked everywhere for a solution to this problem, but I can't seem to find a concrete answer.

I have tried adjusting my monitor settings. I have tried playing the clips in programs other than Final Cut. But no matter what I do, my HMC150 footage looks WAY darker once it's imported into final cut than it did on both the camera's LCD screen AND the non-HD monitor we were using on set, which is the same type of monitor I am using now in the editing lab.

Here's an image comparison between the raw mts files and ProRes 422 files after being imported into final cut:

Original mts file in VLC media player:
http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs169.snc3/19671_533371182856_...

ProRes file after import in Quicktime player:
http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs189.snc3/19671_533371192836_...

Obviously they are both dark I will be doing color correction, but I would prefer to have the lightness of the mts file so that I have more to work with when the time comes...

Suggestions anyone? I am pretty lost here.


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Noah Kadner
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 2, 2010 at 3:53:37 pm

Um- not sure there's really a big difference there. That's an extremely underexposed shot- almost unusably so. QuickTime has brightness/contrast controls that would allow a shot to be displayed at the same level as another player like VLC happens to be set but that wouldn't make a difference. In other words- it's a meaningless comparison because every program you open a shot in can have a slightly different gamma setting that it will show a shot at in default.

I'd work more on getting your on-set exposures more accurate. Don't forget you've got a built-in waveform and vector scope on the 150 so there's no reason to not be a lot closer to the in the ballpark on exposure. Your monitors are calibrated much brighter than they should be if that shot looked correct on set.

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Zak Stoltz
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 3, 2010 at 8:13:06 am

Thanks for the info about the programs, but that doesn't explain how the shot can look fine on set but not in the lab when I'm using the exact same monitor calibrated in exactly the same way...

Can anyone explain that?

If not, can anyone think of any possible reason that the footage would darken up once I bring it into FCP?

Thank you!


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Noah Kadner
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 3, 2010 at 4:38:55 pm

I'm saying it doesn't really matter because that shot is way beyond underexposure. You've got something that looks like 4 or 5 stops under proper exposure. Maybe FCP displays it half or 1 stop darker than you saw it on set. That's easily correctable if the exposure was right in the first place but in this case you don't really have much to work with.

Bottom line is you need to do a calibration of all of your monitors and your camera so they agree. FCP doesn't do anything to footage but import it. If it looks different than what you saw on the set that's because your monitors aren't set up.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera! Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Call Box Training now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D,
Apple Tablet Blog.


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Alf Hanna
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 8, 2010 at 8:03:51 am

A friend of mine and I recently ran side by side comparisons of our jVC and my 150 using the same lighting. The HMC seemed to be 1 stop underexposed though the lcd seemed to say it was right. I did not use zebras or WF. It may have been that I needed a different scene file from the standard settings.

I would spend some more time in trials before shooting live. As Noah said, your two samples are way underexposed. Maybe do a trial using autoexposure, then switch over and drive off your zebras and waveform. See how far off the two are. Believe the zebras and waveform rather than your lcd or your monitor. It's all very disheartening, because I, like you, expect to see the results on the card and in FCP match my LCD, but that apparently is not going to happen. A problem with the 150? I think I might argue that it is. But it is what it is. Work around it. Calibrate everything before heading into the studio.

Alf
Panasonic HMC-150 & FCP on MacPro Dual Quads, 12 GB 7.0.1 on 10.6.2


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Zak Stoltz
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:26:47 pm

Thanks for the input, everyone. It's still a mystery to me why identical monitors make my footage look different on set and after transcoding, but I guess that's something that can't be fixed. Silly HMC150.


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Alf Hanna
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:35:10 am

Zak, the monitor in the LCD, is not a monitor that has been tuned to be color correct, and neither are most non HD monitors. That's a reason why the popularity of the add on monitors that you would plug into your HDMI port, so you can see very close to what you are outputting. But it still will be a good idea to do testing in advance of your just going into a studio.

I recently did that camera to camera with a buddy's JVC high end camera, and we had very different color balance that, while close, could have been very far off for a client wanting to show a similar color product.

Ultimately, you need to go back to making sure you properly expose your footage. As we have mentioned, to blame the 150 for seriously underexposing your work, is just blaming the wrong thing.

Alf
Panasonic HMC-150 & FCP on MacPro Dual Quads, 12 GB 7.0.1 on 10.6.2


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Chris Alstrin
Re: HMC150 Footage Looks Darker After Transcoding to ProRes 422 in FCP Log and Transfer
on Apr 1, 2010 at 7:51:40 pm

I have a similar problem. Here is a link to a screen grab I created. The footage on my log and transfer side (the right side of the photo) looks the way it was shot but as you can see once it's been transfered into FCP it is darkened. http://www.alstrinfilms.com/hmc150.jpg
Any thoughts or suggestions?
thanks
chris

Chris Alstrin
http://www.alstrinfilms.com


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