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Footage lighter than what I Captured...

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Johnny Sain
Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 5:31:26 pm

Hey - I have a slight problem. I actually use FCE - I just completed editing my movie - burned it, watched it on 3 different TV's. All of them display lighter footage than I actually captured. My movie is intentionally dark. I filmed it that way on my DVX100a & edited it on my IMac. It looked fabulous as I intended it. The finished copy is way too light. Is there a way to bring down the light a few notches with a broad sweep or do I have to lower the light on each individual clip which will take me two or three lifetimes? If I need to clarify anything let me know - I ramble senselessly sometimes :)


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walter biscardi
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 5:57:14 pm

When you are viewing your movie in FCE, how are you looking at it? On the computer screen or on an external properly calibrated TV?

In order to know exactly how your film will look after compression and delivery, you have to be viewing correctly on your edit system.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" Winner, Best Documentary, LA Reel Film Festival...

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Zane Barker
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 6:27:29 pm

Thats because TV's and computer screens are NOT the same.

The only way to judge the color of your video is to use a calibrated video monitor (NOT computer monitor) when editing. And I dont know that you can do that in FC Express.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Johnny Sain
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 6:38:38 pm

Okay guys - you've undoubtedly nailed my problem - I am only viewing on my computer monitor. The color I'm happy with - only I want the footage a little darker - do I have to apply a filter to all my clips in the timeline or is there a filter or another way to lower the overall darkness of the footage more easily? I copied and pasted the file into a new timeline & it made one long continuous clip from beginning of movie to end of movie but I couldn't apply a filter to darken. Thanks for your help. I did this on an embarrassing low budget & couldn't afford a calibrated monitor though one is definitely preferred - I just have to make the best with what I got so any suggestions at this point would be greatly appreciated. If worse comes to worse I will darken each clip.


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Zane Barker
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 6:43:50 pm

Brightness, contrast, etc is all part of judging color and can only be done reliably with a calibrated video monitor.

You will need to take your project to a system that has a calibrated video monitor and make the needed adjustments.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Jeremiah Rounds
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 7:24:17 pm

In a perfect world everyone would have calibrated monitors. This is not a perfect world and calibrated monitors are expensive. "Get a calibrated monitor," is not a very helpful response in my opinion.

Still, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Therefor you must spend time, since you don't have money. When exporting, select "Using Quicktime Conversion" and go into the options, there, you can apply filters -including Brightness/Contrast. Lower the brightness and consider bumping up the contrast slightly. How much? That's where trial, error, and lots of time (or not, if you are lucky) some into play :)

To reduce the time wasted, you could export a smaller segment (instead of rendering the entire clip) and watch that one on your tv. Once you have the settings you like, render out the entire clip.


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Zane Barker
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 7:28:27 pm

[Jeremiah Rounds] " "Get a calibrated monitor," is not a very helpful response in my opinion."

I NEVER said to get one I said

[Zane Barker] "take your project to a system that has a calibrated video monitor"

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Jeremiah Rounds
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 7:51:02 pm

My apologies, if you interpreted that as regarding something you said. I only meant it as a general blanket statement regarding the tendency on forums to recommend using equipment that is pretty obviously out of reach for the person requesting help.

[Zane Barker] "take your project to a system that has a calibrated video monitor"
-Perhaps it would have been a tad more helpful to recommend where the average Joe might find such a system?

Yes, if you have access to pro equipment use it. Nobody is disputing that.

If not though, ask around on forums and maybe someone can help you out with some practical advice.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 8:47:04 pm

[Jeremiah Rounds] "a general blanket statement regarding the tendency on forums to recommend using equipment that is pretty obviously out of reach for the person requesting help."

Almost any monitor can be calibrated to some degree. Just setting the luminance properly with the pluge bar using color bars offers for many a vast leap forward in quality control, because at least they will then know that they have a baseline referenced to a known source. This does not require a lot of money, but it does require some learning. Without it, there is no one on the planet who can even hope that their video is being viewed properly or even close to the way it was envisioned.

So, when people say calibrated monitor, they don't necessarily mean expensive monitor.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Jeremiah Rounds
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:17:13 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Almost any monitor can be calibrated to some degree. Just setting the luminance properly with the pluge bar using color bars offers for many a vast leap forward in quality control, because at least they will then know that they have a baseline referenced to a known source. This does not require a lot of money, but it does require some learning. Without it, there is no one on the planet who can even hope that their video is being viewed properly or even close to the way it was envisioned.

So, when people say calibrated monitor, they don't necessarily mean expensive monitor."


*steps up on soap box*

Regardless of cost, it is still out of reach if a tangible solution is not provided. Your post could be more helpful if you provided a little more detailed information on exactly how to calibrate a monitor. Or perhaps you could provide a link to a website that discusses how to best calibrate a monitor for use with video...

Otherwise (and please don't take offense at this, as I mean none), you are just saying, "It can be done, but I'm not going to help you learn how."

I guess the reason I feel so strongly about this is that I've been the guy asking questions so many times and I've been given a lot of unhelpful "Go buy more gear or ask someone else" types of responses. If you're going to spend the time to write a response at all, why not give some helpful info if you know it, or at least point me in the right direction if you don't have the time? Even a "google this phrase" type of response can be helpful.

*steps down from soap box*


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 8, 2010 at 4:59:24 am

[Jeremiah Rounds] "Your post could be more helpful if you provided a little more detailed information on exactly how to calibrate a monitor. Or perhaps you could provide a link to a website that discusses how to best calibrate a monitor for use with video..."

That was not the question you posed before Jeremiah. You came in for the first time ever, with guns blazing, berating everyone on this and on all forums for dishing out nothing but expensive solutions.

Rather than come in here blasting all of us who are here to help people, just say something like, "Is there a simple solution for quickly calibrating a monitor so I have some idea WTF is going on my present monitor, because I'm not buying anything else right now?"

THE ANSWER

Establishing proper "luminance values" (i.e. brightness) is one of the most basic of all adjustments you can do when calibrating a monitor, and it's pretty darned simple. It basically requires nothing more than looking at a single gray bar on a color chart and setting the brightness of your monitor so that single bar displays properly. And, when that bar displays properly, because it's a "known reference," you can then be certain whether your video is either too light, too dark or just right, because you know the luminance on your monitor is set properly.

So, on the most basic level, you simply display color bars on your monitor, crank the contrast up all the way, then set the brightness so that the gray bar on the lower right of the three there barely shows (this is called the "pluge bar," which stands for "picture lineup generating equipment"). The other two bars should remain black. Now adjust the contrast if necessary if the display is hurting your eyes.


Bingo, now you can determine if your video is too bright or too dark, because you know your monitor is essentially showing you a close representation of reality. Then, you can learn to color correct or grade video to make it display properly on your trusty calibrated monitor as you'll now be able to properly determine that it's necessary. And, then you'll know what it will look like on the vast majority of other people's monitors, because your video, if corrected to look good on your calibrated display, will have an average luminance that will display within bounds for most viewers on most monitors. Do you get it?

The science of calibration is of course much more complicated than I spelled out here, but this will get you started at least with the most basic and most helpful calibration setting so you'll really know if your video is actually lighter than what you captured.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Craig Alan
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 29, 2010 at 5:47:42 pm

I'm hoping you'll still read this. If not I'll re-post.


Hi. I calibrated my macbook pro screen using Apple’s built in calibration tool under system preferences. I used expert settings which still left what was being adjusted un-defined.

With contrast cranked all the way up using control-option-command “.” (repeatedly), all the black bars including the plunge bar appear black regardless of brightness level. Actually the plunge bar becomes black after only one or two clicks of contrast adjustment. When the contrast is put back to the calibrated level the plunge bar is slightly grey.

I don’t notice any difference at any setting by adjusting the brightness once the contrast is increased.

Using these same settings with a color bar giff (http://www.mivs.com/products/videoproducts/tsg/images/colorbars-s420t.gif) showing both -4 and +4, the +4 is slightly grey at the calibrated levels.

Do I need to try this using color bars generated by FCP or from an external source like a camcorder that can generate color bars?

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 29, 2010 at 5:57:31 pm

[Craig Alan] "Do I need to try this using color bars generated by FCP or from an external source like a camcorder that can generate color bars?
"


The ones in FCP are just fine.

[Craig Alan] "I calibrated my macbook pro screen using Apple’s built in calibration tool under system preferences. I used expert settings which still left what was being adjusted un-defined."

Yep, that's far from perfect. Seldom provides the proper settings. Laptops are also so freaking limited...

The best you can do is eyeball it until the pluge bar is just right, then make a DVD of color bars and test that on a TV or video monitor from a set top player. If the pluge bar is right on the TV, then you're on target and you can begin to trust what you're seeing seeing on the laptop.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Craig Alan
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 30, 2010 at 5:49:17 am

Thanks David,

I really need to get a proper MAC Pro. But for now,
this brings me back to trying to follow your how to adjust the plunge bar setting –

After calibrating using Apple’s expert mode, I opened FCP and generated a Bars and Tone (HD 1080i 60) in the viewer and inserted it into the timeline. I opened it in the canvas and made the canvas fill most of the lcd screen (I tried it both small and large). I opened universal access so as to see the contrast gauge. But no matter how much I decrease or increase the contrast the “gray bar” is black. At the lowest level of contrast (Apple calls it normal), I see the faintest of outlines. And it remains black regardless of brightness setting.

I really want to get this right because I can live with sub-par color correction on a lot of the DVDs we burn except for the basic exposure levels. Under or overexposed is almost as distracting as poor sound.

Should I just leave all at the current setting and burn a DVD of the bars and see if the results are the same on an HD TV. I have a Panasonic Plasma. I assume I need to calibrate it as well.

On another note, I really need the brightness level of my macbook pro all the way up to see what I’m doing. I can, however, set it lower if need be while adjusting color in FC.

Thanks again.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Johnny Sain
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 7:31:44 pm

Thank you Jeremiah!!!! That was the response I needed to hear since on 'an embarrassing low budget' I can't afford a calibrated monitor nor can I hire someone who does - however on a film of this budget your suggestion is absolutely appreciated. It might not turn out the best in the world but for the budget I shot with - it will be adequate - my many thanks.


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Jason Livingston
Re: Footage lighter than what I Captured...
on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:38:04 pm

Free monitor calibration on any Mac:

Let your monitor warm up for at least 10 minutes before starting.

Go to System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate...

Check "Expert Mode" box on the first page. Read and follow all the instructions very carefully. It helps to stand back a few feet and squint your eyes while adjusting the sliders.

When you get to the "Select target gamma" page, make sure gamma is set to 2.2 (Standard), do NOT check "Use native gamma."

When you get to "Select target white point", you can try D65 but depending on your monitor and room lighting, it may be better to stick with "Use native white point" checked.

Continue through the final steps and save your calibration. It will not be 100% accurate, but it will get you pretty close. Can't beat it for the price.

Jason Livingston
CPC Closed Captioning


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