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Apple Prores Footage looks too dark in FCP

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Matt Bacon
Apple Prores Footage looks too dark in FCP
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:16:40 pm


I am editing a reel together from a mixed sources. Most of my footage is Apple Prores HQ, I am working with Apple Prores HQ in my timeline, and my final output will be a QuickTime movie using the Apple Prores HQ codec. The source footage consists of finished, graded work, my objective is to produce a reel with no colour or gamma shifts in the picture.

I am working in FCP 7. I am working on 3 different work stations. On 2 of the work stations the colour and gamma of the source files looks correct (note: the files not only appear correct to my eye, but the files match on the monitor when viewed in QuickTime Pro and in FCP).

The last work station is the problem station: the Prores source files look VERY dark inside FCP, and when I view the files in QT on the same workstation, the QT picture looks much brighter (and correct). Please see attached image as an example of the problem.

I've turned on "Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility" in the QuickTime preferences and although it makes the image in QT very slightly darker, it does not bring the two pictures in to alignment.

All the source footage was created using Compressor and gamma correction "none" was selected in the Apple Prores codec settings. In FCP the "Imported Still/RGB Video Gamma" Gamma Level setting is set to "source".

All three workstations appear to have the same version of the Apple Prores codec installed, the same version of FCP, and I am working with the same source files (off an external hard drive).

Why am I only seeing this problem on one workstation? And how can I correct it? My concern is not even about mastering out my final product, the picture in FCP is so dark that I find it hard to work effectively!

Please note, I've read several other posts about similar problems, including one on Creativecow ( The problem is not that my system is not "colour calibrated" and respectfully I'm not interested in suggestions like "get a new monitor" or "colour calibrate your screen". The problem is the difference between the picture in QT and FCP on the same work station. The problem workstation is my primary workstation, and I am looking to correct the issue by identifying the problem (presumably a software config issue), not installing new hardware.

Thank you very much for any suggestions or insight. I'm also interested to hear if anyone is having a similar problem.



FCP 7.0, MacBook Pro, OS X 10.5.8, 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512 MB

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Steve Eisen
Re: Apple Prores Footage looks too dark in FCP
on Nov 15, 2011 at 5:38:56 pm

You can never, never, never judge the color on a computer monitor. No 2 are alike. I can suggest a capture i/o such as the Matrox MXO2 or AJA i/o express for monitoring.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group

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Ivan Jahzeel
Re: Apple Prores Footage looks too dark in FCP
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:16:17 am

Hello Matt.

I've got no similar, but exactly the same problem.

Blackmagic card, profesional calibrated monitor and everything set and working good for a few years now until this started to happen.

I'm obiously aware that we can never judge the color on a computer monitor, but if that was the case both Quicktime and FCP would display the same inaccurate picture.

Such and abrupt gamma difference between images makes it imposible to work with . Definitely a software configuration issue.

Messed with FCP and Quicktime settings as well. Nothing seems to solve it in 2 MacPros and 2 Macbooks with OSX 10.6.8 also.

The only thing relevant before this happened is that my calibration software went from creating ICCv2 profiles version to ICCv4 profiles due to a software update.

Aparently, the problem gets solved if you use ICCv2 profiles, because the OS doesn't get well with ICCv4 profiles. More in here:

So going back to ICCv2 profiles seems to fix it. Don't know if it will work on FCP 7 too, but I'm still getting there.

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