Apple Final Cut Pro X Forum
FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Tangier Clarke on May 16, 2020 at 12:07:38 am

Folks, I cut a first pass of a project in FCP X 10.4.8. Then I rebuilt it in Premiere Pro (v 14.0.3). What caught my attention was that the footage looked very different. FCP X was brighter with less shadow. PPro's displaying of the video is significantly darker and more saturated in color.

As far as I can tell and checked:
-Sequence settings are the same,
-Color space is the same (Rec. 709)
-Playback settings are both at full quality
-I tried changing editing modes in PPro as a test, but that changed nothing.
-I am using the same monitor on the same macOS (Catalina)
-Toggled the Display Color Management in PPro which changed nothing
-There are no color or any other effects on the video clip.

I am curious if any of you have any insight on this. I don't know a lot about macOS color management if if that's having any impact on the differences.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Brad Hurley on May 16, 2020 at 9:11:19 am

My guess is that the two apps are using different gamma settings. Rec 709 is just a color space, but you have to consider gamma as well: Gamma 2.2 would be for viewing in brightly lit environments, like an office; it's the right gamma for viewing online for example. Gamma 2.4 is for televisions/broadcast, which are normally viewed in a more dim environment. I think cinema is gamma 2.6, which has the lowest brightness and contrast; it's meant for viewing in a completely dark, controlled environment.

I don't know if there's any way to adjust gamma settings in FCPX; it's easy to do in Resolve which gives you a lot more control in terms of the input color space and gamma, timeline color space and gamma, and your output/deliverable color space and gamma. I've never used Premiere so I don't know about its settings. But the differences you describe (one being lighter with less contrast and the other being darker with more saturation) really sound like gamma differences to me.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Tangier Clarke on May 17, 2020 at 11:21:36 pm

Thanks for this Brad. I hadn't considered this. I'll investigate more. I wasn't sure if perhaps there's a disparity between Apple created apps and other apps in the way they leverage (or don't leverage) macOS color color management.

I found this article which I seems informative if nothing else on macOS color management:

http://www.philiphodgetts.com/2011/09/fcp-x-color-management-secret/


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Brad Hurley on May 18, 2020 at 12:47:22 am

I just noticed this related thread: https://forums.creativecow.net/docs/forums/post.php?forumid=344&postid=45108&univpostid=45108&pview=t

I do think it's a gamma issue. What are you using to view the final rendered files? Whatever you do, don't use QuickTime, which has a well-documented gamma shift problem.

Another thing to check is whether you rendered both files (from FCPX and from Premiere) to the same deliverable target -- e.g., youtube or broadcast or cinema. If you rendered one for youtube and the other for broadcast, I assume they would have applied different gamma settings.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Tangier Clarke on May 18, 2020 at 4:47:10 pm

Brad, to clarify any confusion, I wasn't working with exported video when I posted this. I was looking at the same footage in FCP X and Premiere Pro (version 14) and noticed that the video content liked very different; same timeline settings and preferences (where I could) respectively. I then tried it in DaVinci Resolve and noticed that it's display of the same content was more similar to Premiere Pro. The difference was very subtle. The FCP X playback window was clearly brighter and had less shadow. It was a better image, but didn't have the saturation the others.

I am aware of the Quicktime issue with handling color.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Brad Hurley on May 18, 2020 at 4:58:45 pm

" I then tried it in DaVinci Resolve and noticed that it's display of the same content was more similar to Premiere Pro. The difference was very subtle. The FCP X playback window was clearly brighter and had less shadow."

If I had to guess, maybe FCPX is using Rec 709, Gamma 2.2 for its viewer (It sounds like you're not sending this out to a calibrated reference monitor, right?), whereas Premiere and Resolve might be using Rec 709, Gamma 2.4.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Tangier Clarke on May 18, 2020 at 4:59:54 pm

Correct, this is not going to a reference monitor.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Brad Hurley on May 18, 2020 at 5:07:51 pm

Okay. I'm 90% sure Resolve uses Gamma 2.4 in its timeline (and viewers) when you choose Rec 709 without specifying a gamma. I wouldn't be surprised if FCPX is using 2.2 since if you're using a computer's built-in monitor you're likely to be viewing in an office environment as opposed to a dimly lit color grading studio. Not sure about Premiere...


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Brad Hurley on May 18, 2020 at 5:48:12 pm

One test you could try: in Resolve, set the timeline color space (in project settings) to Rec 709 gamma 2.2 and see if the result in the viewers is closer to what you're seeing in Final Cut.


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Robert Olding on May 18, 2020 at 3:57:57 pm

Color Management while editing and grading video is a difficult thing to get a handle on. It takes me back 20-25 years to the days of attempting to match color in the print world. I believe it's still more art than science and compromise rules the day.

Yes, a user would think that all the applications using the same footage, on the same computer, viewing through the same monitors, should all look the same. Reasonably, I don't see why they shouldn't.

Here's some good reading to help. Just be warned, you're headed down a deep, deep, rabbit hole.

1. Taming Color Management

2. Colour Management for Video Editors

Robert Olding

Studio Eight | Director of Photography
https://www.studioeightmn.com
Minneapolis, MN


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Tangier Clarke on May 18, 2020 at 4:50:41 pm

Thanks for those suggestions Robert. Someone else also warned me about the rabbit hole of color management.

I typically work in FCP X and this all started when I had to use Premiere Pro for a project after having started the project in FCP X. Footage is from a Panasonic S1 and GH5. When it was time to get into some color work I noticed that the footage look different and started questioning how to color this content when they're not the same between these apps. Which one would be my reference?


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Robert Olding on May 18, 2020 at 5:39:57 pm

Most of the time, I edit using FCP X. Occasionally I need to use Premiere because the client wants me to. When the client dictates the NLE, that tells me they'll want all my files so they can change something later and not involve me. I rarely color in FCP X and never color using Premiere. I color using Resolve and it's the last thing I do in the workflow. If I'm using FCP X, I'll export an XML to Resolve. If I'm using Premiere I use a ProRes 4444 master file.

When a project gets passed off to another user, they'll be using a different computer and monitor configuration than me, so no matter what I do color wise, it's always going to look different.

Robert Olding

Studio Eight | Director of Photography
https://www.studioeightmn.com
Minneapolis, MN


Re: FCP X and PPro - Same footage, differing color.
by Oliver Peters on May 20, 2020 at 7:35:13 pm

A lot of this depends on the display. For example, I've found that iMac Pro displays all look wrong except in FCPX and maybe in Quicktime. The only reliable way to compare is with a video output through an AJA or BMD box to an external video display. Then the two outputs should appear the same regardless of how they look in the viewer.

Also, in theory, the same QT exported from each should look the same. Although even there you may find issues because of QT. So you might check an MP4 and view it in a tool like Switch.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com





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