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ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source

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Dustin Parsons
ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:56:42 am

I can't seem to export my ProRes 422 video from FCP7 without getting a color/gamma shift. Here's the difference:



The footage was originally H.264 from a Canon D5. I took the raw H.264 QuickTimes and converted them to Apple ProRes 422 using the preset in Compressor. I then took the ProRes clips into FCP7, dropped it in the timeline and set it to Same as Source, then exported a QuickTime movie using the Current Settings dialogue box (no QT conversion).

Things to note:
• In FCP I have my render codec set as Same as Sequence Codec and Always Render in Best Quality

What I've tried so far:
• In FCP I've tried exporting with the Gamma Correction set to Automatic and None (found in the Sequence Settings > Quicktime Video Settings > Advanced)
• In FCP I've tried exporting with the Video Processing set to Render 10-bit material in high-precision YUV and RGB
• In QuickTime I have tried toggling Final Cut Studio Color Compatibility and the shift still happens – it's worse when I have it unchecked.

Any suggestions for what I've done wrong or what I should try next? Thanks!


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Matt Lyon
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 8, 2012 at 7:47:40 am

Hi Dustin,

Have you tried bringing the exported clip back into FCP and A/B'ing it on a timeline with the original footage? That would probably be a more accurate way of checking the footage then comparing the quicktime window with the FCP viewer.

That being said, I recall one situation recently where I had a similar issue and I had to check the "recompress all frames" options. Don't know if that will apply to your situation, but worth a quick test.

hth,

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Chris Tompkins
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:17:32 pm

It's just a setting in QT:
There is a preference setting in QT/General tab/Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility



Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Dustin Parsons
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:00:07 pm

No, the shift happens even when I have Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility checked in QT – the shift is even worse when it's unchecked.


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Dustin Parsons
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:35:17 pm

[Matt Lyon] Have you tried bringing the exported clip back into FCP and A/B'ing it on a timeline with the original footage? That would probably be a more accurate way of checking the footage then comparing the quicktime window with the FCP viewer.

Just tired that, and they look the same in Final Cut!

Here's a few more things I've tried:
• Transcoding the ProRes clip into an H.264 (still got the color shift) and then uploaded that to YouTube where the colors looked correct
• Opened the clip in MPEG Streamclip and the colors looked correct
• Opened the clip in VLC Player and the colors looked correct
• Opened the clip in QuickTime Player X and the colors had shifted just as they had in QuickTime 7

So the problem is definitely with QuickTime because it's appearing correct everywhere else. Has anyone run into this issue before? Even though the video appears to have the correct colorspace in other players, it's still very important to me that it works in QuickTime because I'm pretty sure that's what my clients use to view the cuts. Also, there just shouldn't be a discrepancy like that.

[Matt Lyon] I recall one situation recently where I had a similar issue and I had to check the "recompress all frames" options. Don't know if that will apply to your situation, but worth a quick test.

I just tried turning that on and exporting a new clip – it gave the same results as if I left it unchecked.

Thanks for the comment! Any more troubleshooting ideas?


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Matt Lyon
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 9, 2012 at 1:48:30 am

[Dustin Parsons] "So the problem is definitely with QuickTime because it's appearing correct everywhere else."

The evidence is pretty damning, Dustin! I think your findings are pretty consistent with common complaints about the quicktime player that are routinely posted to this site.

At least you know that FCP isn't modifying the colors, and it's just a QT Player display thing. I have read other posts about changing the "visual settings" in the video track options in the movie properties window in quicktime player 7. I haven't played with it much myself, but you can search the forum and find more info.

Can you ask your clients to view the clip in VLC? Maybe send a link to the installer download to make it easier for them? Or upload a file to Vimeo or YouTube for them to review? Honestly though, there are so many other display variables that might be happening on their machines that I don't know how much it's worth killing yourself over.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Dustin Parsons
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:05:55 am

I had run into this issue a few years ago when round tripping DVCPRO HD footage to AE but I thought it had been resolved... I guess it hasn't been.

I think you're right – as long as the final product that the audience sees looks correct (which it will because it'll be online), then I'm not going to kill myself over the QT color shift.

Thanks for your help Matt!


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Matt Lyon
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:41:49 am

Np Dustin. I just remembered when I had to use the "recompress all frames" options: it was when I had used a freeze frame in a pro res timeline. There was a shift from the original clip to the freeze frame when I exported a self contained movie. This was in fcp 6, so I'm not sure it still applies.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Nick Dietrich
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:37:04 pm

Just in case this helps -

http://www.videocopilot.net/blog/2008/06/fix-quicktime-gamma-shift/

"SOLUTION: After rendering into a QuickTime/h.264 file, open it up in QuickTime and select “Show Movie Properties.” Highlight the video track then click on the “Visual Settings” tab. Towards the bottom left you should see “Transparency” with a drop-down box next to it. Select “Blend” from the menu then move the “Transparency Level” slider to 100%. Choose “Straight Alpha” from the same drop-down and close the properties window and finally “Save.” "

Just make sure you highlight the video track under show movie properties in order to see the "visual settings" tab. It should work.


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Dan Marlow
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:01:55 pm

Hi. Is there a PC involved at any point in the workflow?


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Brittany DeLillo
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Feb 13, 2012 at 8:40:56 pm

Not sure if this will help but it worked for a project I'm currently editing.

If your sequence codec is set to ProRes, click on the "Advanced" button underneath it. There should be an option called "Gamma Correction". Click on the drop down and change it from "Automatic" to "None".

The difference was night and day for me.


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Kenn Bell
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Mar 1, 2012 at 6:45:32 pm

I'm getting the same thing. When I output to ProRes from FCP7 I get a darker, colder image. When I bring the ProRes back into FCP7 for an A/B test, it stays changed. If I output to H264 it doesn't shift.



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Kenn Bell
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Mar 1, 2012 at 6:56:00 pm

So I just outputted to ProRes and Animation Codec. They both look dark and colder. I brought both in to FCP7 for an A/B Test and ProRes still looks dark but Animation looks good, no shift in it while in FCP7.



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Alessio Santoni
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on May 22, 2013 at 12:56:08 pm

Hi, after many attempts, a lot of research online and the last test, I solved the problem.
The only way to export a normal or Apple Pro Res 422 HQ version, is to export the project using Compressor. You will get the same quality of color, the same depth and the same contrast of the project.
In this case you can scream (quietly): BINGO!
Best cuts, Rafano


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Tristan Summers
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Jul 31, 2013 at 6:28:05 pm

My two cents, based on what I do for after effects.

If you are rendering for intermediate use, set gamma correction to none.
It will look right in After effects, it is right, BUT it is wrong in Quicktime, with or without the FinalCut Compatibility check box.
If you want to make Pro Res for viewing purposes only, set gamma correction to automatic. Quicktime will now display it properly, however the file itself will be wrong.

If only you could manually set gamma tags in all quicktime files.
If only Quicktime would stop trying to "help" and just display the file exactly as is.

In a year or so it will hopefully have died the death it deserves anyway.
Unless someone else can come up with a movie container that lets you set all the metadata properly.


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Sebastian Leitner
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:00:33 am

hey there! just a quick remark. it's not really a bug, it comes down to some simple things:

if you convert h264 to PRORES you are also converting a) color space and b) bitdepth. let me clarify: a DSLR usually records h264 in 8bits (4:2:0) and rec709 color space whereas PRORES is a sRGB (full range colorspace) format with 10bits (4:2:2 color sub sampling). the difference is basically gamma, meaning you introduce a gamma shift of approx. 0.2 when converting from one format to the other. depending on the direction it gets brighter or darker.

this also applies when converting PRORES (or any other sRGB 10bit format) to let's say BluRay h264 rec709 8bits format.

final cut pro 7 is the only software i know that can distinguish between those details. if you open it up in final cut pro X it won't show. there h264 and PRORES mostly looks the same. it might even be off (too dark often) because values are converted to fit the standards.

the problem is further problematic when generating a DCP for the cinema. you need to know what exactly was the color space of the source clip and which it was graded in. DCP is 12bits XYZ color space (so yet another conversion in dynamic range - which will be visable in gamma - color and luma wise). but that's another story.

so bottom line: always try to level everything to sRGB 10bit if you can. or intriduce the right adjustment layer (0.2 gamma value change - basically midtones - plus or minus depending on oyur conversion direction)


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Tristan Summers
Re: ProRes 422 Color/Gamma Shift on Export - Same as Source
on Nov 25, 2014 at 8:43:47 am

I too once shared your sweet naive belief that quicktime displayed files properly. but in fact it displays nothing properly. pro res files on a pc look so washed out but they are fine on a mac. yet everyone is happy to use it.

The above is entirely incorrect however. IF you use x264 and set a correct 2.2 gamma tag, the h264 file will look exactly the same, which is why it is used by vimep, youtube, , in quicktime, everywhere. well, not in the FCP7 viewer that is still thinking all content is 2.2 and all macs are 1.8.

the big problem is Apple do not let you set the gamma tag correctly, and quicktime performs incorrect conversions based on filetype interpretations.


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