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ProRes exports are really dark.

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Adam Harper
ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 23, 2018 at 7:40:38 pm

Hi all,

As you can probably tell by the topic name, I'm trying to export a ProRes file but it always seems to come out much darker than what I'm seeing in Avid. I've tried both RGB and 601/709, even "Same as Source" and it doesn't seem to make much difference. I've posted examples down below;

In Avid


In Export


It doesn't look too bad here but this is basically the only moment in the film which is outside, the rest takes place in a mine and it's damn near impossible to see for large chunks of it.

Would really prefer it to look like what's showing in Avid. Is there a way around this?

Thanks,


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Brent Marginet
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:21:45 pm

You cannot go by what it looks like in Avid. That's a Proxy View of the Video and those are never even close to accurate no matter what NLE you are in. What you need is an AJA, BM, Matrox, Bluefish or AVID Output Card or Breakout BOX and at least monitor it on a good quality HD TV. Ideally you want to monitor it on a Reference Monitor but those are expensive.

Are you running a Mac or a PC because some OS's use the wrong Gamma so that could make it look darker as well. The Output Levels should be Rec. 709 Legal Range and I suspect that if your Exports look that dark then they are really just to dark.

"MY MEDIA/PROJECT MOTTO: If you think three copies of your Media or Projects are enough. Take a moment to place a value on them and then maybe add two more.
Hard Drives are now stupidly cheap. A RE-SHOOT AND YOUR TIME AREN'T."


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Adam Harper
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:22:49 pm

I forgot to point out that what you're seeing in Avid is AMA-Linked to a ProRes 4444 file which came from grading. Don't know if that changes anything to how I should be approaching this.

I'm exporting from an OS, Yosemite 10.10. This is probably my ignorance speaking but I don't see how it can be that dark when the graded file is way lighter?


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Brent Marginet
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:22:06 pm

Have you AMA Linked your Exported file and compared it to your video in the Timeline.
They should both look the same in Avid, if not then something has gone awry on your system.

"MY MEDIA/PROJECT MOTTO: If you think three copies of your Media or Projects are enough. Take a moment to place a value on them and then maybe add two more.
Hard Drives are now stupidly cheap. A RE-SHOOT AND YOUR TIME AREN'T."


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Adam Harper
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 28, 2018 at 5:10:07 pm

I AMA-link them all and the only one that stayed the same was the "Same as Source" export. Though when I open it up separately it still seems to be much darker. It's very odd. Do you know what might be going wrong on the system?


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Brent Marginet
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 30, 2018 at 5:52:36 pm

There may be nothing going wrong with your system other than the fact that you are viewing the Video on your Computer Monitor. As Job said there is a Flag in ProRes files that causes Quicktime to display the Video differently than if it were a DNxHD/HR or some other Codec. The problem however is with the way Apple has made QT interpret the Flag as opposed to how MC Exports the Flag.

This is the type of post that has been beaten to death and really the problem stems from the fact that everyone expects there Video to look proper on Computer Monitors. Well it doesn't. Avid MC, Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, FCP-7, FCP-X, QuickTime, VLC, M-Player, CinePlay, Youtube, Vimeo, etc., etc., etc. all display your Video Differently. Even my dual identical Computer Monitors display it differently for two reasons, Computer Monitors are not accurate and one is driven from a DVI Port while the other is from an HDMI Port.

If you want to really know what it looks like then you must send it from an output Device via HD-SDI to at least a Good Reference Monitor that is set to the same Colour Space as your Video has been created in. In your case that is likely Rec.-709. There really is no other way to know and don't ever expect that to change. Video Cards and Computer Monitors are Inaccurate and that's that. I have the fortunate luxury of being able to view everything on a Flanders CM-250 from either my Avid BOB or a Decklink Card and so Avid, Premiere, Resolve and FCP outputs all look pretty much identical.

I'm not being an ass, I'm just stating the realities and facts of what the bottom line issue is.

"MY MEDIA/PROJECT MOTTO: If you think three copies of your Media or Projects are enough. Take a moment to place a value on them and then maybe add two more.
Hard Drives are now stupidly cheap. A RE-SHOOT AND YOUR TIME AREN'T."


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Adam Harper
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Feb 8, 2018 at 8:17:18 am

I'm aware that my Mac monitor would display things different to say, what the monitor showed when it was being graded. I guess my logic was that what I saw on my Avid window should be similar to what I'm seeing through Quicktime, though I wasn't aware that Quicktime changed how it can look. Nor that it was so variable across different programs.

It's just a bit of a shame that it feels like it's going to be a lottery as to whether it will be visible or not depending on what it's screened on. If it becomes a major issue I guess revisiting the grade might be the option.

Thank you anyway, it's good to know that I'm not making a major error during the export.


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Shane Ross
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Feb 8, 2018 at 5:42:43 pm

[Adam Harper] "I guess my logic was that what I saw on my Avid window should be similar to what I'm seeing through Quicktime"

It's not only that...the Avid interface isn't designed to be color accurate. The PREVIEW and PROGRAM monitors lighten the images, so that you can see what you are doing if you happen to have dark footage.

[Adam Harper] "though I wasn't aware that Quicktime changed how it can look"

Yeah, that is a total pain. VLC is better

[Adam Harper] "It's just a bit of a shame that it feels like it's going to be a lottery as to whether it will be visible or not depending on what it's screened on. "

That's what we have to deal with all the time in the broadcast world. We have no control over what TVs people buy, or how they are set up. Go to Best Buy and look at all the TVs and see how different the images look on them. Also, how Cox communications encodes for it's delivery is different than Spectrum is different than DirecTV is different than Comcast. What someone in NY sees will be different than what I see in LA.

So all you can do is make sure that you grade the image on an external calibrated broadcast monitor or HDTV. This way YOU know that what you did is solid. Because what happens after that is out of your hands. Sucks, I know. I've had producers call me to complain how it looks on their TV...and say "But it looked so good on your system, what happened." Cox...Cox happened.

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


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Job ter Burg
Re: ProRes exports are really dark.
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:27:56 pm

It's because the ProRes QT codec has a built-in flag that tells QT player that the source is Rec709 legal, and then expands luminance levels when you play it back on the computer screen. Try and play it back in VLC player, which will ignore that flag, and it should look as you expect it to.
Essentially, it means that RGB/709 toggle switch in MC's export does not really work when dealing with ProRes.


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