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how to export pure black from AE?

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Joseph Lewis
how to export pure black from AE?
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:42:44 am

How do I export pure black from AE using h264 codec and be able watch the same superblack via Youtube or VLC player?

This is what I do... I create a new comp, add a solid with black and export using Media Encoder. The format I use is h264 (Match Source, High bitrate).

When I watch my clip via Windows Media Player, it shows pure black because I believe it shows the full range (0-255).

When I open the same file using VLC player, MX Player on my android phone (via table using the same player too) or upload the video to youtube, the black is a bit of greyish. I believe this is the correct behaviour because when I use h264 codec, it expects pure black to be on 16 and whites at 235?

This is what I tried so far...
- changing project colorspace to sRGB 1966 and other options like HDTV rec 709 (16-235)
- playing around with color profile converter
- levels
- changing depths from 8 to 16 bits

I can achieve pure black on my PC via VLC player by changing dynamic range from 16-235 to 0-255 in the NVidia settings. The problem that if I distribute my video file to end users, they won't see pure blacks if they watch it via VLC... the same problem would remain if I upload it to youtube.

Can someone tell me what steps I should follow in order to generate 1 second clip with superblack background using AE and watch the same pure black via VLC, youtube (h264 codec). It would really make my day and I could finally sleep well!

Thank you in advance

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Walter Soyka
Re: how to export pure black from AE?
on Jan 20, 2015 at 4:33:34 pm

Sadly, you cannot fix this problem on the source side. There is no way for you to compensate for a user with a misconfigured player or graphics driver or display.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

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Chris Wright
Re: how to export pure black from AE?
on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:51:25 pm

walter is right about misconfigured players outputing 0-255 or 16-235, but you can try burning in the color management with AE's effect->utility-color profile converter. try rec.0-255 and 16-235 and see if it breaks in other computers. As default, some players do setup a certain way so all you can can hope for is get the greatest group of default setups to be compatible. Besides, most players don't support color management anyway.

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Joseph Lewis
Re: how to export pure black from AE?
on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:34:07 pm

I believe I'm preparing the source wrongly in After Effects...

Here is what I did today. I added a solid black in Davinci Resolve, in the output setting set video/data levels to 4-1019, picked quick time wrapper and rendered a few seconds of it as I result I had file. Then I dragged/dropped that file to Media Encoder, picked h264 match source/bitrate, converted and volia - VLC played everything with true blacks. Uploaded to Youtube, everything super black. All players show blacks as I expect.

Like I mentioned in my initial post I cannot achieve the same effect with After Effects. I tested many things in AE and nothing worked for me but I'm ready to go through that again, maybe I missed something.

I uploaded rendered files: (rendered via AE, just created new comp, added solid black, dragged and dropped to media encoder; no color management, levels or embed color profile as it didn't work for me...)

black.aep (my simple AE file) (rendered via Davinci Resolve, set video/data levels to 4-1019) (dragged/dropped to media encoder. This file shows superblacks across all players I tried)

PS how do I exactly set video/data levels in AE like I did in Davinci resolve...?


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