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Color Management with DSLR/LUT

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John Lee
Color Management with DSLR/LUT
on Mar 3, 2015 at 2:47:29 pm

I have been trying to decipher After Effects color management system for some time, without much success. I am using a Canon 60D with technicolor's cinestyle profile and am applying the cinestyle LUT via LUT buddy in After Effects. The issue I am having is my blacks are all over the place, and I'm not sure what colorspace I should be in (RGB or 709?). This is my workflow:

Shoot with 60D Cinestyle Technicolor Profile
Denoise source footage with Neat Video
Key footage, Color Correct, Output

Through trial and error I have found the best results to be setting my working space to sRGB IEC and exporting in AVID DNxHD RGB. I am seeing different black levels based on my output codec (ProRes vs DNxHD). I've tried switching colorspaces from 8 to 16 to 32 bit, but I can't seem to get a consistent black on my outputs.

RGB outputs look correct on my MAC at work, but they look super light on my PC at home, whereas 709 outputs look correct on my PC but severely underexposed on my MAC. I know these computers are probably using different gamma values with their displays--but despite looking at SDI 10bit outputs at home and verifying the levels, I still can't figure out which setting is correct.

Does anyone know what the best settings for this workflow would be? Again I'm shooting on a 60D with the cinestyle profile, applying a LUT, and then outputting for youtube.

I've done a variety of tests, if you have time, here's a playlist with several different color management settings:

If anyone can help me out or refer me to a comprehensive guide on Color Management, I'd appreciate it.

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Walter Soyka
Re: Color Management with DSLR/LUT
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:18:20 am

Applications' treatment of DNxHD levels from QuickTime files can be horribly inconsistent, and the QuickTime Player itself on Windows has long-standing color issues and cannot be trusted.

Your problems with color management are all likely in output, not in anything that you're doing in the rest of your workflow.

Try DNxHD in MXF, or try CineForm in QuickTime as your cross-platform intermediate format. You could also output directly to YouTube via Adobe Media Encoder as H.264 with one of the YouTube presets.

[John Lee] "If anyone can help me out or refer me to a comprehensive guide on Color Management, I'd appreciate it."

The Ae docs have a section on color management:

The workflow is basically unchanged since CS4:

And I've posted extensively here on color management. Here's a link to an intro to color management:

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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John Lee
Re: Color Management with DSLR/LUT
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:46:59 pm

Thanks Walter. I agree it seems to be the output step where I'm having issues. What I've done in the past is render out a png sequence and then encode that out of premiere (married with the audio file) to H264 for youtube. Needless to say, that's not an ideal workflow for me.

I do have MXF output capabilities but I don't see the DNxHD codec as an option when I select an MXF file type. I'm using the free version of DNxHD as I don't have Mediacomposer at home.

Thank you also for the links--I've read through them and I've found that leaving all my color management settings in sRGB (which is the source footage profile) solves a lot of my problems. I'm glad that I at least have gotten the color management setup correctly--now I'll just have to try using different output codecs. There are so many different options that this has been a headache for me, but your advice is much appreciated.

Thanks again!

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