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Premiere XML import too dark in Davinci Resolve 12

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Caroli Lacruz
Premiere XML import too dark in Davinci Resolve 12
on Mar 26, 2017 at 4:41:50 am

I am color correcting a shortfilm I worked in as director of photography, and have very few time to the deliver date. I used the Canon 6D with 100 to 320 ISO levels (mostly on 100 and 200 ISO). There are two major problems I have:

1- Footage was shot flat and well lit. I worked with low light and therefore was always aware of the histogram in camera (can't afford a propper shooting monitor), and used a light meter. It looked very well exposed on camera, sometimes even a little overexposed.

The problem is: looking at them on the computer, the original clips are shown much darker in every media player (except for VLC) than what they look in Premiere Cs6 or After Effects. Worse than that, they show different values of exposure and saturation, depending on the media player and editing / color correcting program. I checked if there are any color effects accidentally added in Premiere, and there are not. While editing and after exporting from Premiere, the clips look correctly exposed, just as they were registered in the shooting.

2- When I import the XML into Davinci Resolve, the already darken original clips are shown way too dark in Resolve. To solve this, I did what other people online said had worked, and selected "Data levels" in the Clip Attributes option. This helped with raising the exposure levels, but produced a very big amount of noise, which leaves the footage useless anyway.

Three screenshots of VLC player with the same clip - different renders:

I want to know what's wrong with the original clips. Why are they showing differently in every program or media player I put them in. I have worked with underexposed footage before and it looked the same on every program. I guess it's some kind of codec problem. This had never happened to me before, so it's very odd.

Also, I urgently need some advice on how to set my clips configuration in Davinci, so I don't get crushed blacks, way too dark clips, or grainy images with the data levels option.


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Marc Wielage
Re: Premiere XML import too dark in Davinci Resolve 12
on Mar 28, 2017 at 3:32:25 am

What codec are you using? What color space are you working with? How is your monitor calibrated?

Read p. 572 of the Resolve 12.5 manual: "Limitations When Grading With the Viewer on a Computer Display." This goes into some detail why you cannot accurately monitor directly from the computer and operating system. You have to have a color-managed output, like one from a Blackmagic display card, plus a calibrated grading monitor.

What I generally do is, I place a second or so of SMPTE color bars (and/or gray scale) at the head of the file, bring that back into Resolve, and check both files on the scopes. They should be identical. If the scope readings are identical, then they pictures must be identical.

Don't try to make judgements on uncalibrated GUI displays. That will lead down a perilous road of pain and suffering. And if you do look at anything in the GUI display, don't compare it to what you see in Resolve.

When the scopes are right, the pictures will be right. Without scopes and without calibration, you're totally flying blind and at the mercy of the terrible lack of quality control in normal computer displays and operating systems.

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