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Exporting Super Whites? No?

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David Cherniack
Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 12, 2012 at 2:47:09 pm

No matter what export codecs or color space I select I can't seem to export anything with whites above 100IRE from CS6 (and earlier, it seems from searching this forum). Am I not doing something right? I can't believe that AE can't do it. Otherwise how could it possibly be used in digital cinema work.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 12, 2012 at 10:21:21 pm

Here's a discussion of super white which might be of help to you:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/397529

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 13, 2012 at 1:22:48 am

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the link but it really doesn't help in any practical way.

It states that you have to work in a higher bit depth than your export codec, compress your whites down, and have your NLE expand them.

Well, I'm working in a 32 bit depth project, and exporting to a 10 bit codec. If I import the exported file to Premiere or to After Effects, the whites are clipped. Even if I compress my whites down before exporting there's no way that I'm aware of to tell Premiere, or After Efeects to expand them without pushing the high end of a luminance curve. Unless I'm missing something fundamental, the process suggested is really just a workaround and even with the higher bit depth is going to potentially lose information. It seems to be a deficiency in After Effects that it can't export whites above 100 IRE or 235 on the 8 bit scale if we're going to talk digital.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 13, 2012 at 4:27:55 am

David -

Sorry that wasn't helpful. This was the first I'd heard of using super white. I've used super black for years in the analog tv production world, but haven't needed it since tape was abandoned.

I did come across mention of the Cineon file, which can handle values above 100, but must be worked with in 32-bit, or float:

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/cineon-files-what-they-are-and-how-...

And here's Adobe's take on the technical side of using Cineon:

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS43A23839-2D77-49a9-BF5D...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 13, 2012 at 1:42:24 pm

Joe,

Again thanks for the links but I'm kinda gnashing teeth here.

The suggestion is to use the Cineon converter for HDR film material. OK but my material is EX The whites go up to 110 IRE or 255 on an 8 bit scale. In After Effects @ 32 bits the super whites are above 1.0.
So even applying the Cineon converter to compress everything from linear to log at the default values, then exporting to a 10 bit Matrox Uncompressed codec, then importing the file into Premere CS6, applying the Cineon converter from log to linear at the same default settings the whites come in far below 100IRE on the scope. One would think I'd just have to crank up the white point, but nooooo. The converter clamps at 100 iRE. Furthermore it's not CUDA accelerated in Premiere so even if it didn't clamp it would still necessitate preview rendering.

So I don't know if there's any simple way to preserve super whites when exporting from After Effects but you'd think that there should be.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 13, 2012 at 3:34:49 pm

Here's a reasonable workaround:

Render the AE comp in Adobe Media Encoder to a codec that supports super whites. Most do except DNXHD.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 2:57:34 am

[David Cherniack] "No matter what export codecs or color space I select I can't seem to export anything with whites above 100IRE from CS6 (and earlier, it seems from searching this forum). Am I not doing something right? I can't believe that AE can't do it. Otherwise how could it possibly be used in digital cinema work."

Ae thinks in RGB only, and there is no such thing as superwhite in 8-bit or 16-bit RGB. You can preserve overbrights in RGB with floating point image sequences, but QuickTime support for these is nonexistent. The problem of preserving whites above 100 IRE only arises with YUV-RGB-YUV (sic) workflows, so I'd yhink it's a much more likely problem in broadcast than digital cinema.

Cool tip about rendering through AME! I guess AME has a YUV processing pathway (which makes sense, as I must accommodate both Ae and Pr).

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 12:31:23 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You can preserve overbrights in RGB with floating point image sequences, but QuickTime support for these is nonexistent."

Walter, the YUV material within AE was showing white levels above 1.0 and even using a 32 bit workflow and codecs that support 1.0+ levels rendering out of AE clipped at 1.0. This apparently is hard wired into the AE rendering engine that, in RGB terms, 1.0 is as white as you can go. A few questions then:

In a theoretical vein, why and how are comp levels allowed to be higher than 1.0 if 1.0 is the RGB maximum value?

In a practical vein, isn't this misleading if the render engine is going to clip at 1.0? Isn't this really a mapping design flaw of the engine when it renders to a YUV codec?


And in a completely different vein, what is it about rendering to Quicktime that clips levels above 1.0 even from PrPro?

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 3:13:25 pm

David, I am assuming you are familiar with floating point image processing, but if you are not, I'd be happy to go over the basics to help this make a bit more sense.


[David Cherniack] "Walter, the YUV material within AE was showing white levels above 1.0 and even using a 32 bit workflow and codecs that support 1.0+ levels rendering out of AE clipped at 1.0. This apparently is hard wired into the AE rendering engine that, in RGB terms, 1.0 is as white as you can go."

Not true -- Ae can export FP images with values greater than 1.0 -- but there are a couple things that can trip you up:
  • Applying any 8-bit or 16-bit effect will clamp levels to 1.0, even in a 32bpc project
  • You must adjust the depth of the output module separately from the depth of the project. The default output module stays at Millions of Colors and must be adjusted to Floating Point to preserve overbrights in supporting formats (like OpenEXR, TIFF, or PSD).


This sample image I've made entirely in Ae works from a 32bpc fp TIFF (with a maximum brightness over 30.0) as the source for all four quadrants, so you can see that overbrights are properly preserved:




[David Cherniack] "And in a completely different vein, what is it about rendering to Quicktime that clips levels above 1.0 even from PrPro?"

I am not as familiar with Pr's processing pipeline as I am with Ae's (though I do know it has split YUV and RGB processing), so I may not know all the specifics here -- but my guess is that they are both relying on either the Apple QuickTime APIs or the same Adobe MediaCore functionality.

Regardless, all RGB-processing applications share this superblack/overbright mapping challenge, where you are trying to express two upper and two lower boundaries within the same single scale. That's why the 8-bit 16-235 video range (64-940 for 10-bit) exists.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Rafael Amador
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 4:52:41 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You must adjust the depth of the output module separately from the depth of the project. The default output module stays at Millions of Colors and must be adjusted to Floating Point to preserve overbrights in supporting formats (like OpenEXR, TIFF, or PSD)."
Walter,
I agree with you on that is all about FLOATING POINT processing. The problem is that when exporting from AE to any QT flavor, FP is not an option so there is always clipping.
This do not happens in Apple Color or SHAKE which are able to export the original over-lights.

FC and FCPX can keep the over-lights.
If PPr can't do it, that's a very big shortcoming.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 14, 2012 at 5:34:52 pm

[Rafael Amador] "The problem is that when exporting from AE to any QT flavor, FP is not an option so there is always clipping. This do not happens in Apple Color or SHAKE which are able to export the original over-lights."

There are two separate issues here: YUV video superblack/superwhite (below 0 IRE and above 100 IRE, respectively) and underdarks/overbrights (FP values below 0.0 and above 1.0, respectively). Floating point could be used to solve the video superblack/superwhite issue, but it's not the only solution.

Superblack/superwhites are workable by using the standard video range (16-235 or 64-940) with RGB outputs, then scaling it in a YUV-processing application like FCP. This is what any non-floating point RGB-processing application, including Color and Shake, must do internally anyway.

FCP, Color, and Shake are all EOL. Serious question: is there any non-Apple application that is able to correctly handle superblacks and superwhites with YUV QuickTime output? Separate question: is it possible for any non-Apple application to correctly handle superblacks and superwhites with YUV QuickTime output?

I certainly agree that it would nice if other developers could handle YUV material more gracefully, but is there a future in this? Who still uses YUV as their primary internal pixel format? QuickTime is stagnating as Apple moves to AV Foundation, and with FCP/Color/Shake gone, FCPX now processes in RGB only.

All the other finishing apps I'm aware of are RGB-processing, and even Avid has manual range scaling support built into their native codec (DNxHD has processing options for 709 levels or RGB levels).

What's the utility in preserving superblacks and superwhites? When transformed to RGB, they look the same as black and white anyway, so the only possible utility is preserving superblack or superwhite data for subsequent processing -- which brings us right back to video range scaling. Scale to video range on input for processing, then scale back to full range for output as necessary.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 15, 2012 at 12:56:38 am

Thanks, Walter for your replies.

[Walter Soyka] "You must adjust the depth of the output module separately from the depth of the project. The default output module stays at Millions of Colors and must be adjusted to Floating Point to preserve overbrights in supporting formats (like OpenEXR, TIFF, or PSD)."

OK except the FP option does not exist for AVI codecs that function within YUV space in PrPro and normally will handle above 1.0 whites.

BTW for a discussion of PrPro's handling of YUV and RGB:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/825920

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 15, 2012 at 1:23:57 am

[David Cherniack] "OK except the FP option does not exist for AVI codecs that function within YUV space in PrPro and normally will handle above 1.0 whites."

Right -- sorry if it wasn't clear, but my discussion of floating point output from Ae was limited to RGB.

If you need to get back to YUV, you'll either need another YUV-processing application that can handle floating point RGB input, or you'll need to output 8-bit or 16-bit RGB, scaled to video range, that your YUV-processing application can expand.

Personally, I stay RGB after acquisition.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 15, 2012 at 1:39:38 am

[David Cherniack] "BTW for a discussion of PrPro's handling of YUV and RGB:
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/825920"


Thanks for the link, by the way.

What's your workflow now, and what's the specific problem you're running into? Maybe we can be more helpful without speaking in generalities?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Cherniack
Re: Exporting Super Whites? No?
on Aug 15, 2012 at 2:13:10 am

[Walter Soyka] "What's your workflow now, and what's the specific problem you're running into? Maybe we can be more helpful without speaking in generalities?"

I was experimenting with DLinking sequences of EX 1080/23.98 to AE and applying 32 bit color grading. It seems the best YUV way back to Premiere is what I suggested before: rendering the AE comp in AME and importing into Pr. Rendering the DL'd section in Premiere seems to use the AE rendering engine, though I haven't run any tests to verify because I've been having inconsistent timeline preview rendering problems in Pr that cause it to crash.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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