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Confused about how MC displays video

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Bill DePalma
Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 28, 2012 at 11:25:50 pm

I am moving from FCP to MC. The 2 programs definitely have different philosophies about how to display video within the program. On my 30" calibrated NEC monitor, Final Cut dispalys video as I would expect, and how it is sent to my external displays via a Matrox Mini. Displays match both inside and outside of Final Cut. On the MC side however, my computer displays video with an extremely compacted tonal scale, never getting close to displaying black as black. However, the ouput via the Matrox restores the long tonal scale, particularly black level. However, if I export a quicktime from my MC timeline it diplays the compacted tonal scale that I am seeing from the MC timeline on my computer display.

I guess what I am asking for is some background as to why Avid is displayed this way. Have I been in error on Final Cut the past ten years? And if the Avid is the correct way, how do I approach color correction? Trust what I am seeing both visually and from scopes on my computer display?-it just looks wrong. As example, if I alter my external displays to match what I am seeing from MC on my commputer monitor I need to push the external displays WAY out of normal spec, pushing black levels very high to math the grey-black inside MC.

I know there is a function to expand luminance values in Full Screen mode to get the expanded black but the function seems to be broke in MC 6.01 (works in 5.5) But regardless, it seems that actual tonal values are what I am seeing on my computer display. Very confused.

thanks
Bill


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Shane Ross
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 28, 2012 at 11:37:19 pm

[Bill DePalma] "I guess what I am asking for is some background as to why Avid is displayed this way"

Lowers resolution to ensure playback without dropping frames. All the Preview and Program monitor's jobs are is to show you what you are doing. Give you an image that you can see and cut with. They are not meant to be color accurate at all.

BTW, FCP's interace in the Viewer and Canvas wasn't color accurate either. Certainly closer than Avid, but not at all spot on.

[Bill DePalma] "And if the Avid is the correct way, how do I approach color correction?"

Send a signal to a broadcast monitor or darn good HDTV via an IO device. DX hardware, or Matrox like you own. The image on THAT monitor, if calibrated, is right.

[Bill DePalma] " if I alter my external displays to match what I am seeing from MC on my commputer monitor I need to push the external displays WAY out of normal spec, pushing black levels very high to math the grey-black inside MC."

Don't do that. Don't try to get your computer displays and external monitor to match. You need to calibrate the external monitor to color bars...properly so you know you are viewing a proper image. You NEVER, even in FCP, try to make the external match the Canvas. The canvas is wrong. The computer interface is to allow you to see what you are doing. External monitoring on broadcast monitors via proper IO monitoring is how you color correct.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bill DePalma
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:05:53 am

Shane
Thanks, actually that is how I work. But what is of concern, is if I calibrate to c bars on my externals, export those same bars to QuickTime from MC, the bars played from QT on my desktop have the same elevated black levels that I see within MC. Weird. In addition to that, if I AMA a prores clip and then import that same clip via DNX, mix those on the same timeline, the AMA version is much lighter than the imported clip. I am just trying to get comfortable and confident with my workflow.
Thanks


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Shane Ross
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 29, 2012 at 1:28:15 am

The computer and the QT file also aren't meant to be color accurate.

The Avid is designed to delivery color accuracy when it comes to outputting broadcast formats. Out to tape, a QT file that is ingested into a broadcast server and played from there. It isn't meant to be accurate for exporting for web or computers. If you need that, you need to look at other NLEs that are designed to deal with that.

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


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Bill DePalma
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:38:07 am

Shane
Got it.
But...
We do export to quicktime with some reasonable expectation of color accuracy. What I am seeing is not within that expectation. But, I do get your point.
thanks
Bill


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Job ter Burg
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:39:02 am

To understand how color levels work during export/import, you might want to read this http://www.xs4all.nl/~terburg/Publications/601_709_RGB.pdf.


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Bill DePalma
Re: Confused about how MC displays video
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:26:39 pm

Job
Great article, very much appreciated.


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