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Terrible banding

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Jonthan Oster
Terrible banding
on Oct 6, 2015 at 2:42:14 pm

Hey guys. I have a few festival deadlines coming up so I really need to figure this out quick. I have a few scenes in my film where the banding is just terrible. I've attached an image. The strange thing is, when I watch the raw footage before putting it into Final Cut Pro, just as a quicktime file, it's completely fine. There's no banding what so ever. I shot in 4k ProRes 422. When it's in Final Cut Pro, when the playback is set to better quality, there's no banding whatsoever. However, when I set it to better performence, I notice it. I try exporting the film as is (current settings ProRes 422) and it has plenty of banding. I just don't get it. The raw file plays great, plays great in Final Cut Pro under better quality, so you would think that's the way it would export. I've also tried exporting it as HD and as H264 and as uncompressed, all exports have the banding. Strangely enough, the only export that seems to work is when I move it to compressor and export it as Quicktime Animation. Then I have no banding, but the file is huge, and for festivals I need to export to H26 eventually anyways.

Here's the image. This isn't even one of the worst ones. Focus on the neck and the space inbetween the two actors.
THANKS!



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Noah Kadner
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 6, 2015 at 5:21:49 pm

Banding may be due to limitations of your screen. Check on a broadcast monitor and export at Optimized/Original.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops


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Jonthan Oster
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 6, 2015 at 7:36:54 pm

Well the thing is I can watch the raw file (before exporting from final cut) just fine, no banding. I also upload it to Vimeo and my iphone afterwards, have watched it on multiple monitors after exporting. They all have the banding. I don't believe it's just the monitor.


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Shane Ross
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 6, 2015 at 11:48:30 pm

The raw file might be 10-bit...or at least of very high resolution. When you compress for Vimeo, or anything really, that process throws away color information...resolution...in order to be small enough to upload and stream. So yeah, you will get banding when you do that. You are compressing the image.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jonthan Oster
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 7, 2015 at 3:43:21 am

Thanks for the reply. But if I'm exporting in Final Cut as (current settings) shouldn't the bit rate stay the same? Because it's not just downgrading to HD h264 that gives me banding. It's any kind of export.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 7, 2015 at 4:42:39 am

Banding depends on a lot of factors. If you have other footage run through the same system you haven't noticed banding that's one thing. But generally speaking it's pretty much whatever you put in you get out. And typically banding is the fault of the monitor not FCPX.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops


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Emily Chichi
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 9, 2015 at 1:52:58 am

report it to the apple fcp feedback page at http://www.apple.com/feedback/finalcutpro.html


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James Cude
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 9, 2015 at 1:58:23 am

Agreed. You should report it to the FCPX team.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: Terrible banding
on Oct 10, 2015 at 3:29:18 pm
Last Edited By Robin S. Kurz on Oct 10, 2015 at 3:30:31 pm

The age old trick (to this even older problem) is to add (blue) noise to the image. That raises the delta exponentially and the encoder is forced to compress far more precisely, therefore leaving in considerably more (color) information. And color, as the numbers 4:2:2 tell us, is the first to go. But in the end of course at the cost of a much larger file.

Add blue noise at a value of 0.02 to any affected clips in FCP (not to anything that is unaffected to at least give the compressor SOME chance to save space) and export. Any banding should at least be greatly reduced, if not in fact completely gone. You'll want to export directly to the needed format also, not use intermediates (e.g. not output to ProRes THEN to Vimeo, rather straight to H.264). But any upload to YouTube et al will always have far more predominant banding either way (since they're recompressed even higher on the server), no matter how good your master is.

The discrepancy in the way FCP displays the clip in the different modes has to do with the same type of reduction for the sake of smooth playback. Your original certainly has not been changed. Additional generations will obviously also introduce more artifacts, though that should be near undetectable with ProRes. But no codec is perfect either.

- RK

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