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Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor

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Nick Rood
Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor
on Nov 12, 2013 at 7:00:08 pm

Hey folks,

So I've been having this issue for awhile now and just can't seem to find the source. I have a pretty basic setup - running a MacBook Pro Retina (Late 2012), OS X 10.9 Mavericks, FCP7, dual 27" ViewSonic monitors. Now I work for a few online companies, so by no means am I even attempting to produce anything to broadcast standards.

Recently, however I've been seeing some strange differences between the original footage, the canvas window, my external monitor, and my final exports. I'm noticing that anything I put into my timeline (and what is seen in the viewer, for that matter) is slightly darker than the actual footage. If I "preview" (spacebar) any of the footage straight out of Finder, it looks fine. Even if I just drop in a white color matte, the white is actually a slight grey. When I export, however, it is fully white. Oddly enough, if I toggle the "Show Excess Luma" in my canvas, the canvas window drops down to almost all black while the external monitor perks up and looks fine! But then if I press play to preview my timeline, everything reverts back to the slightly grey/dim appearance.

In the past I've messed around with the accurate vs. approximate gamma choice in my preferences, but that doesn't seem to be related this time. As I said before, I'm not looking for anything *too* specific in my coloring work, but at this point I have to do minor adjustments, then export a bit to see how it will really look, then go back and make more adjustments, re-export, etc etc... It's a huge pain and is eating up a lot of my time.

Any thoughts on why this might be occurring? Part of me feels its related to my recent upgrade to Mavericks, but I believe some variation of this was happening even in Mountain Lion.

Thanks so much for the help guys! I've attached an image of the difference I'm seeing...

Nick



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Rob Lambert
Re: Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor
on Nov 12, 2013 at 7:55:49 pm

Hi Nick,

We must be synced up somewhere because I've been dealing with the same problem all weekend up to today. What I've found is that most people will tell you to calibrate your monitor…which has nothing to do with the problem at hand.

Several reliable sources that I trust have told me its the FCP6/7 gamma bug which will never give you a straight export. Others say its a crossover from earlier Mac Pro to iMac gamma change (apparently FCP 6/7 adjusts the gamma thinking you're in a 1.8 gamma space rather than 2.2 - or something to that effect). In either case I don't think you'll get a straight VIEWER/CANVAS = EXPORT

Plenty of people have said to finally make the move to X, premiere or Avid and be done with 6/7. Maybe that's the right move - does seem to be hard to get support for these legacy FCP's.

Let me know if you find anything that denounces everything I wrote here - I'd love to find a solution too.

Rob Lambert


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Nick Rood
Re: Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor
on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:03:35 pm

Thanks for the response Rob. I agree it's definitely not a monitor calibration issue. Sure, my monitor isn't designed for color correction, but when my whites appear grey in FCP, but on the *same* monitor the export appears white - the issue resides elsewhere.

And I've certainly heard that the canvas will vary from my export, which is what it is, but from my last 5 years of experience with FCP I haven't encountered a drastic enough difference to even bother mentioning (in fact, to my untrained eye, it's always looked basically the same).

I may have an opportunity to switch to Avid very soon, in which case my FCP 7 problems will be history. In the mean time, i've got some tight deadlines to reach and this problem continues to persist. :-/

Nick


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John Fishback
Re: Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor
on Nov 13, 2013 at 3:21:42 pm

Try opening the Mac's System Prefs > Display > Color. There you may see (I don't know how your monitors work with the OS) a bunch of profiles. One may get you closer to what you want to see. There's also a Calibrate button. I know that works with Mac displays, but it may work with yours. Good luck.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.8.4, QT10.1, Kona 3, Dual Cinema 23, ATI Radeon HD 5870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)
FCP-X 10.0.9, Motion 5.0.7, Compressor 4.0.7

Pro Tools HD 10 w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec DSP Monitors, Prima CDQ120 ISDN


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Nick Rood
Re: Lightness Seems to Vary in Canvas and External Monitor
on Nov 13, 2013 at 6:00:45 pm

You know what, I think that 90% fixed it! I had messed around with those color settings quite a bit when I bought my second monitor (I edit on two identical monitors, so I was surprised in general that I had to fuss with the second one so much). I hadn't considered that a color profile that umbrella'd the entire monitor would change what I see in my canvas window versus my export so drastically.

But low and behold my whites look white again! There's still a slight discrepancy between my canvas and export, but not as dramatic as before, and that may just be the normal variation I'm already aware exists.

Thanks John!


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