Can't get video to look the way it does in preview window
Hi! I'm creating some videos that will projected om a huge screen at a conference, and I'm working with a lot of white space & subtle graphics, so I want it to look right. However, the way it looks in the V13 preview window at Best Quality is NOT how it plays back in any other player (WMP, VLC & QT). At first I thought it was a rendering issue, and that the output was not the same as what I intended. But when I bring the rendered video back into Vegas, it looks perfect as intended in the preview window. (Screenshot below.) I "think" I've properly turned off all enhancements in each of the players as well as my graphics card.
So I guess my question is...which version of the video is the true correct version - the one I am seeing in the preview window (which is how I want it) or the one that every player seems to want to display? And how can I output a version that looks the way I intended, i.e. what I see in the preview window at best quality?
Again, to clarify - most threads on this topic address why the video renders differently than how it looks in preview. In my case, I suspect that it is rendering properly (IOW it looks correct when I bring the rendered file back into Vegas to preview), but just not displaying properly anywhere outside of Vegas. Also, this seems to be true regardless of format - I've tested in both MP4 & M2T. Thanks in advance!
So I guess my question is...which version of the video is the true correct version - the one I am seeing in the preview window (which is how I want it) or the one that every player seems to want to display?
They are both correct. It's a matter of differences in luminance levels between computer displays and televisions. Whenever you (correctly) do a render from Vegas, the luminance range should be 16-235, or in Vegas terms, studio RGB. This is the standard for display of video on TV. However, the normal luminance range for a computer screen is 0-255, or in Vegas terms, computer RGB.. So whenever you "play" a "made for TV - 16-235) video on your PC, the software will automatically expand the luminance range to 0-255 or in Vegas terms, apply a Studio RGB to Computer RGB conversion. If you bring your image into Photoshop, you will see that the whites are 255 and the blacks are 0 in your VLC image whereas the whites and blacks on the Vegas preview image are closer to studio RGB.
OK, I guess I should have thought of this. I'm so used to editing for TV. So if I know this will be played primarily off of a laptop, I should get it looking exactly how I want it to look in Vegas, then use the Computer RGB to Studio RGB preset in Levels applied to the whole project when I render...and then the rendered file should look the same in a media player as the project looks in Vegas?
And let me get this straight... If for any reason I bring that rendered file back into Vegas (which I sometimes have to do), it will look darker, correct? So if I want to render a file for the sake of bringing it back into Vegas (so all the effects & other time- & processor-intensive elements are pre-rendered), I should NOT apply the Studio RGB levels yet, correct? Only for the final output, and only if it is intended for computer viewing?
Hope that all made sense, but I think I'm getting it. My head hurts, though. Thanks!
Getting the proper levels in Vegas is a bit of a challenge. Here's a tip I learned from someone on the Vegas Pro forum, although not everyone agrees with this approach. Do all of your editing in Computer RGB making sure you do the proper conversions. Stills, graphics and video from some cameras are already full-range so no conversion is necessary. Consumer camcorders often record at 16-255 so it's necessary to expand the black levels. If you take this approach, then apply your final computer RGB to studio RGB levels FX on the video output bus and you're done.
IMHO, bringing back previously rendered files into Vegas for changes is not a good idea because of generational loss, unless you are using a decent digital intermediate. In that case do your pre-renders full-range and then apply the final level FX only on final render to a delivery format.
Since you will be using a laptop to drive a projection display (?), you obviously need to do some pre-testing to make sure the displayed levels are correct. You might consider using a media player that enables you apply such levels conversions. E.g. MPC-HC (Media Player Classic-Home Cinema) has a feature they called Shaders which permit you to do such conversions.
Don't know if VLC supports such options.