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Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch

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Nathan Grout
Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 13, 2012 at 11:46:31 pm

Background Info

All of my editing in Avid is in the YCbCr 709 color space. This is an 8-bit color space (values from 0-255), where black is defined as 16 and white is defined as 235. Anything below 16 is super black and anything above 235 is super white.

My normal HP computer displays use the standard sRGB color space. They define 8-bit black as 0 and white as 255.

Because Avid defines black above where my displays define it and white below where my displays define it, everything in Avid appears to have a lower contrast than it otherwise would. I've uploaded an image that demonstrates this.



This image is made from screenshots from Avid and Quicktime (which represents the native color space of my monitor). You'll notice the lower contrast on the Avid displayed images that I mentioned above. It's subtle, but is most noticeable in the differences in the brightness of Woody's vest, the highlights on Woody's belt, and in the details in the shadows behind the dresser.

(Note: Quicktime is displaying an export from the sequence that Avid was displaying. This export used the same codec and color space as the imported footage in the sequence. As such, the export process should not account for any of the display discrepancies.)


Question Time

I like that Avid encodes my video in a way that doesn't permanently crush my footage. I don't like that Avid displays my footage inaccurately for my displays. Is there a setting that I can change in Media Composer 6 to resolve this problem? Alternatively, is there an easy way to change the color profiles of my displays in Mac OS X Lion (10.7.2) to better match how Avid displays images?


Solutions I Have Tried
  • I have searched the forums on CreativeCow.net (obviously). I did find this thread from 2009 that confirms that I'm not the only one who has noticed the discrepancy: http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/45/2076#2079
  • I've Google'd it.
  • I have looked through Avid's settings and haven't found anything on my own.
  • I have tried to manually adjust brightness and contrast of my displays while looking at the pluge portion of standard color bars in Avid, but since they are computer displays rather than broadcast monitors, this was unsuccessful.
  • I have calibrated my displays using a Spyder3Elite colorimeter, but this accurately calibrates the displays to their own color space, not to the color space of Avid. I have looked for alternative Spyder3Elite settings that would better match Avid's color space, but to no avail.


Mac Pro (Mid 2010) - 3.33 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon Processor - 10 GB 1333 MHz RAM - ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB Video Card - OS X Lion 10.7.2 - Avid Media Composer 6.0 - Adobe Production Premium Suite CS4 - Final Cut Studio 3.0


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Shane Ross
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 12:03:30 am

[Nathan Grout] "I don't like that Avid displays my footage inaccurately for my displays. Is there a setting that I can change in Media Composer 6 to resolve this problem?"

The Preview and Program monitors in the Composer window are only there to show you what you are doing. They are not designed to be color accurate, and there is to way to make them color accurate. If you want to see what your footage really looks like, you need an IO device and an HDTV or Production Monitor.

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 12:06:08 am

[Nathan Grout] "I don't like that Avid displays my footage inaccurately for my displays. Is there a setting that I can change in Media Composer 6 to resolve this problem?"

Short answer is NO. The Full Screen playback mode has a setting to "expand luma range" that makes this image reasonably correct. At the moment it doesn't seem to work in 6.0, but did work in 5.5. Until Avid changes this approach, your only solution is an external monitor connected via an I/O card, like a Decklink or Kona or something else.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 12:11:11 am

PS: I know it isn't the answer you want to hear (and I would agree), but the Avid display actually IS accurate, because it is showing you how the video really looks, without adjusting it to compensate for the display. For example, in FCP, ProRes images are also Rec709 video levels (Black=16, white=235), yet the FCP Viewer/Canvas compensates to show you a "pleasing" image within the UI. This means the 0-16 and 235-255 range are actually crushed and clipped as you see it on the monitor, even though that's not necessarily the case.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Nathan Grout
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 12:18:35 am

Yeah, the "Expand Luminance For Computer Displays" setting isn't doing it for me on MC 6 either. I understand that the Source/Record monitors aren't meant to be a pristine, grade-worthy reference, I just want something more in the ballpark of reality.

I guess it just doesn't seem unreasonable to me to want to be able to chose whether I see the image as it's encoded or as it will be displayed. In essence, I just want to be able to toggle between two of the most conventional LUTs.


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Hector berrebi
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 4:20:55 am

you could try and play with source settings (right click a clip in the bin)
will only work for QT files that are NOT avid codecs. and were AMA linked.

won't fix your problem, for that you'll have to get an IO card and monitor

however, it will let you expand the range back to 0 & 255

you can always change it back and refresh source setting on sequence before you export



hector

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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Nathan Grout
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:40:10 am

I tend to not use AMA because I've had much better results with Avid's codecs and I like being able to do fast Quicktime Reference exports. However, I've grabbed an AMA clip to try to do what you've described. I can't seem to find the option that you describe when I right click. What exactly is it called?


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Nathan Grout
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 7:00:11 am

If nothing else, I guess I can apply color correction to a track of filler above my work and set the black point on the master curve to (16,0) and the white point to (235,256). It gives me the look I want in Avid as long as I remember to turn it off for export.


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Hector berrebi
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 11:32:17 am

its called "set source settings" and will only work on QT files brought in by AMA.
and on R3D files.

right click a clip in a bin and its there


hector

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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Nathan Grout
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:09:32 pm

Oh, that's why I didn't see it. It's greyed out and not an option for the AVCHD AMA clips that I have imported. Don't know if it's just that flavor of AMA that's a problem or what, but it's not letting me try it.


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Hector berrebi
Re: Avid Color Space / Display Color Space Mismatch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:44:34 pm

Yup... Won't workon AVCHD. Only QT (red files have different source settings) and only if its not Avid codec.

I believe AVCHD is shot in 709 and therfore no need to change its range. This is mainly for files created in RGB or coming from RGB workspce.

Hector Berrebi
prePost Consulting


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