Video Beautiful in QuickTime, but dark in FCP and Premiere Even.
I know this is widely known issue, yet I search and search and can't find an answer. Maybe there still isn't one, but I know that this problem has persisted for at least a year or so. When I import footage into Final Cut Pro (Currently using FCP 7, updated to it's most recent update), the video looks dark in the preview monitor and in the sequence and program monitor. However, when I view it in QuickTime player, it looks perfect. I'm importing from my Sony HDR-FX1 camera using HDV MiniDV tape by the way. Also, I tried importing the video files into Premiere and still had the same problem. I thought that Final Cut Pro used QuickTime for displaying video so why doesn't it look like it does in QuickTime? The best thread I've found so far was this one; http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1154749. However, that really didn't fix my problem. The best I got from that post (from Grayson, thank you very much) was to switch my Gamma Correction in FCP System Settings from Accurate to Approximate. That helped a little bit, but it didn't really fix my issue as you can see from the image. Do I really need to purchase some expensive color calibration software to eliminate this problem? I simply want my video in Final Cut Pro to look the same way it does in QuickTime. I understand that computer monitors are different from broadcast monitors and that ultimately I should be viewing it on a calibrated broadcast monitor. Great, but why can't my footage look like it does in Quicktime? I'm looking at it on my computer monitor in QuickTime and it is completely satisfactory. I've been editing video for 20 years, I started on tape, and a lot of the technical stuff is over my head. Doing my best to understand what the heck is going on here, but I just want to edit video, ya know? Thank you in advance to whoever holds the answer to this dilemma.
Here's a good explaination:
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def
I appreciate your response and I'm doing my best to understand, but I don't really understand. I will continue to sip my coffee and educate myself so that I will eventually get it. However, I need a solution right now. I really just want to be a user and not a tech! Apparently, I'll have to be a little techy to get this to work. Maybe it was explained in the post and I'm just not seeing it, but how is it that Quicktime can display the video perfectly and Final Cut Pro cannot? Do you personally edit on Final Cut Pro? And if so, do you only look at your external broadcast monitor and ignore the color and contrast problems present in your preview and program monitors on the computer screen? Currently, I'm using a 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i7 Quad iMac. Can you recommend a solution to me? Am I really going to have to invest in some expensive piece of hardware to fix this problem? I haven't done my research on the various hardware pieces mentioned in the post you linked and I will. Do these devices work with a 27" iMac or do I need a Tower? What do you recommend?
[Ben Ihloff] "I appreciate your response and I'm doing my best to understand, but I don't really understand. I will continue to sip my coffee and educate myself so that I will eventually get it. However, I need a solution right now. I really just want to be a user and not a tech!"
Bottom line, most NLEs were made to edit video that was aimed at being shown in the most common place people watch...TV, movies. They were designed with external monitoring in mind...the windows in the NLE were only to see what you are doing.
FCP-X is designed with internet video in mind. It will show you exactly what it will look like in QT on your monitor. So if that is your aim, then you should take a gander at FCP-X. There is a 30 day trial demo (free).
[Ben Ihloff] "Maybe it was explained in the post and I'm just not seeing it, but how is it that Quicktime can display the video perfectly and Final Cut Pro cannot?"
The windows are only references so you can see what you are doing. Proper video monitoring...for the ultimate destination of TV...required a video capture card and at least an HDTV...if not a broadcast monitor. Now that people show more and more video on the web, the designs need to change. FCX has done that...Avid won't, as it is still used for TV/film. Adobe might...and I hope they do.
[Ben Ihloff] "Do you personally edit on Final Cut Pro?"
Yes. I have for 8 years.
[Ben Ihloff] "And if so, do you only look at your external broadcast monitor and ignore the color and contrast problems present in your preview and program monitors on the computer screen?"
Yup. Because my broadcast monitor is calibrated to show the colors properly. I know that if I have it right there...it's right. Because I cannot control the settings of the TVs or computer displays that it will be shown on. Use this as an example. Walk into Best Buy, Target...anywhere you see a wall of TVs that show the same TV show or movie. Note that the image on all of them is slightly different. They are all calibrated differently, or not calibrated at all. Same for computer monitors...there are dozens of calibration settings to choose from. So, my job as an online editor is to make it look as good as it can on something properly calibrated, so that I know that it is what it should be...how people view it is out of my control.
FCX is designed to show you the same image as you'd see in QT. But, it might differ if encoded as flash, or MP4, or MPEG-2...all those compressions toss out information in order to have small file sizes.
[Ben Ihloff] "Currently, I'm using a 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i7 Quad iMac. Can you recommend a solution to me?"
What is your distribution goal? Computers...YouTube, Vimeo, other? Or TV...DVD, BluRay, broadcast? If computer...then look at FCX, and hope that Adobe addresses this issue. They might have with CS 6...I'll have to check. But also note, then the ProRes, or high resolution file, will have more color information than a compressed H.264 file that you deliver for the web. The same thing happens to me when I deliver a tape or full res file for TV...they compress it for air and it looks different, because it is compressed and some information is lost. My job is to give them the best possible image. What happens after that, out of your control.
Does your iMac have Thunderbolt? If so, and TV is your aim, then look at the AJA T-Tap or BMD Ultrastudio Mini MOnitor...and a good HDTV. IF your goal is the web...calibrate your monitor with something like a Spyder, or Eye2one device, and use an NLE that is designed to show you proper colors.
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def
I've been having the same problem but I would like to add a couple of specifics, in hopes of helping to solve it:
1) I shot my footage on the Canon 5D MKII and 7D, and converted it to Apple ProRes 422 like I always do, and once imported into FCP it looked WAY darker than it ever used to. So today I tried importing the raw .mov files into FCP and they looked great, just like they did in QuickTime
So, the problem is only affecting the converted ProRes files.
2) I've edited videos on several machines over the years, mostly MacBook Pro and Mac Pro, and never had this problem. The first and only time I experienced the problem was on the newest iMac (2013).
Not sure if either of these two factors have anything to do with it, but I thought I'd share with you just in case.