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On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem

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Faith GrangerOn a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 15, 2015 at 12:44:22 pm

New at AE (been using it for only 10 days). I am on a PC. I am importing clips into AE to convert their frame rates. I have noticed that once they open up they look like their contrast has been slightly pushed. Compared to my original clips, they are not identical.

I have tried for many days now to resolve this problem, to no avail. I am running out of time with my deadline :( ... When I render out, I get the same result. I compare the shots (original and AE rendered) side by side and can see a noticeable increase in brightness and the blacks are more crushed.

You can see screengrabs here:

http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com/tech_related.htm

How can I tell adobe to not alter the color and contrast of my original clips neither when importing nor when rendering them back out.

USEFUL NOTES:

1. TURNING "COLOR MANAGEMENT" OFF DID NOT CHANGE OUTCOME (I thought it would... but no such luck)
2. As an experiment I Rendered out the clips in AE without doing anything to them (no effects added yet)and the results were the same (so I know it is not the Andrew Kramer frame rate conversion preset adding contrast)
3. I have tried to render both as avi and quicktime, (both lossless and JPG2000) - same results
4. I have tried to render as RGB and as RGB + Alpha - same results
5. I have tried to pre-render the clip to a different format and then import it into AE, to see if it is the native format of the clips that AE has difficulty reading accurately, but same results.

(scratching my head) - PLEASE HELP????

Because some of the candid behind the scenes shots (filmed by my actors during the making of my film DEUCE OF SPADES) are overexposed to begin with, adding more contrast is causing a problem I cannot properly reverse with color correction after the fact.

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 11:21:21 am

What format are your originals? How did you transcode in note 5?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:22:13 pm

QUESTION 1 - 5 different consumer camcorders were used by casts / friends. Most are spitting out MPG-2:

Type: MPEG-2 Transport Stream
Streams
Video: 00:00:07.508, 29.970 fps interlaced, 1440x1080x12, AVC

file extentions varies from AVCHD Video (.MTS)(Sony camcorder) to Video Clip (.avi) (captured from mini tapes of older footage) to a few .mov files, usually those come from other weird formats I had to pre-render a few years back because they were making my NLE crash.


QUESTION 2 - When I pre-render in Vegas I chose SONY mxf, which produces very small files, renders super fast but does not show much quality loss, it is a good compromise, that was suggested by the Sony Vegas team.

This morning I will test one of the avi files see if I have the same problem. i think so far I have only converted EPISODE 4, which is all made of .MTS clips, so I;ll try importing a few avi fies and rendering them out see if it does the same thing and post result here.


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John CuevasRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:06:19 pm

Ahh, the joys of color space, RGB and video. Along with Walter's questions, what are your project settings(File Project Settings). Also, right click the footage in the project panel and click "Interpret Footage". Check the color management and see if it has the correct color profile.

AE for some codecs(Avid DNxHD) chooses the wrong profile. Since I work with DNxHD all the time, I've modified the interpretation document so that it does this correctly(though now it does other wrong, but I don't work with those codecs enough to worry about it---I correct them in AE on a case by case basis)

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
ThinkCK

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:28:21 pm
Last Edited By Faith Granger on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:32:15 pm

Currently I have color management OFF. I tried color settings depth at both 16bit and now 32bit to see if it helped, but same outcome.
Previously the color management was ON (whatever AE defaults to, but I now don't remember what the default setting was LOL) and since I was having the contrast issue I turned it off. As my initial post revealed, turning it ON or OFF did nothing to solve my predicament :/

Glad to hear I am not the only one who noticed AE difficulty in dealing accurately with color space.

Have you seen the screengrabs I uploaded on that page I made (see link in post 1), and can you suggest a project setting / color space and settings to correct the problem?

NOTE: you said " right click the footage in the project panel and click "Interpret Footage". Check the color management and see if it has the correct color profile." but the problem is I don't know what the "correct color profile" should be. I need guidance. As I said, it's my first time using AE and I've only used it for about 10 days now, mostly dealing with creating my title animation (that went well :) ) and now frame rate conversion...


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 4:58:34 pm

Imported and rendered back out one of the avi clips, with color management OFF, and SAME PROBLEM. So we can rule out that the clip native formats are to blame, since both avi and MPG-2 are doing the same thing.


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 5:52:02 pm

How did you render the AVIs?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 6:21:44 pm

Ae is of course capable of perfectly color-accurate work. Can you walk through your entire workflow? What's the next step after Ae? How are you evaluating the output? Where are these frame grabs/screen shots coming from?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 16, 2015 at 10:48:50 pm
Last Edited By Faith Granger on Nov 16, 2015 at 10:50:08 pm

Well currently, for the purpose of testing the problem, the workflow is incredibly simple lOL:

I drag a avi or a .MTS (MPG-2) clip into AE, with color management OFF then send it to the render queue.

I then render it as lossless quicktime (but have tried many other render formats - see my first post) or as Quicktime with video codec JPG 2000 at 95% quality.

SO BASICALLY i AM NOT DOING ANYTHING TO THE CLIP EXCEPT RENDERING IT BACK OUT.

I then bring both the original clip and the AE rendered version into my NLE on seperate tracks but loned up so they start at the same place. And compare frame by frame by muting and unmuting top track.

And I can SEE the difference, loud and clear.

The screengrabs posted came from my NLE timeline.

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 12:00:50 am

My last test: you can see the two clips in one frame, I put the AE one on top of the original one, allowing some of the original clip to be seen on the sides. You can clearly see the sky color and brightness difference, etc...




FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 2:04:51 am

Let's try ruling out a variable.

If you export from your NLE (Vegas?) into one of these formats (codec and container) that you've used with Ae per above, then immediately re-import into your NLE, do you see the shift?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 5:28:08 am
Last Edited By Faith Granger on Nov 17, 2015 at 5:28:56 am

Ok I just did a test, to find out the answer to your last question. I rendered the clip from vegas timeline to both avi and quicktime uncompressed, and the rendered clips are virtually identical to the original.

THE PROBLEM ONLY HAPPENS WHEN USING AE.

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 1:54:17 pm

[Faith Granger] "Ok I just did a test, to find out the answer to your last question. I rendered the clip from vegas timeline to both avi and quicktime uncompressed, and the rendered clips are virtually identical to the original. THE PROBLEM ONLY HAPPENS WHEN USING AE."

Uncompressed is not the same compressor as None, which Ae uses for its Lossless output module.

Uncompressed uses a YUV color model, but None uses an RGB color model. My theory is that your NLE is doing a different YUV/RGB conversion than Ae is, or is interpreting RGB sources (like you've been making from Ae) with different gamma and/or levels than YUV sources like your camera originals.

Can you retest, using the None compressor instead of the Uncompressed compressor?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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John CuevasRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 2:51:15 pm

Without breaking down her workflow, it sounds like her NLE and clips are RGB but where the final file is going it's being converted to 709. IE, 0 becomes 16, 255 clipped to 235.

My problem is usually the opposite.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
ThinkCK

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 6:01:23 pm

Huhhhhhh... was that English??? LOLOL....

I just posted some new info that may be helpful, see my previous post I did some new tests... :)

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 5:59:19 pm

walter, I am partially confused by your reply. You want me to re-render the clips in vegas using a different render method?

I checked the Vegas QUICKTIME "uncompressed" settings and under "video format" it is set to "None", so it seems that when I did my previous test i already had a "none" setting? Am I correct? Please confirm.

I have also conducted new tests that revealed something new (and hopefully helpful):

I took the .jpg screengrab of original clip, (screengrab was captured with vegas and is exactly what vegas "sees"), imported it into Photoshop...Photoshop saw my .jpg screengrab exactly the same as vegas. And rendered it IDENTICAL to the vegas render, identical contrast as my original video clip. Yes I did mean to type "Photoshop", that was phase ONE of test, Please read on....


So now I took it one step further. I imported the same Vegas generated screengrab of original clip into AE and rendered it out as a 5 second clip, using my identical render settings (quicktime jpg2000) used to initilly test the problem. The resulting clip is identical to the vegas screengrab and identical also to the original clip.



So AE and photoshop both are able to interpret the color of a still image the same way Vegas does, but AE is not able to do the same with video clips.

maybe this new info helps?

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 17, 2015 at 6:18:20 pm

[Faith Granger] "I checked the Vegas QUICKTIME "uncompressed" settings and under "video format" it is set to "None", so it seems that when I did my previous test i already had a "none" setting? Am I correct? Please confirm. "

Ok. Quicktime also has a compressor named "Uncompressed" -- which is different than "None" -- so I wanted to clarify. I do not use Vegas, so this is somewhat of a challenge.

This is certainly a vexing problem, and I understand your frustration. At the same time, I use Ae every day without suffering color shifts, so let's see if we can figure this out.

If you render from Ae to a JPEG, then import the JPEG into Vegas, do you see this shift?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 21, 2015 at 2:03:32 pm

2 weeks into this frame rate ordeal and I am still STUCK. Sigh... Walter I am going to do your suggested jpg test in a minute and let you know outcome, but I wanted to post this in the meantime, it might be important:


IMPORTANT NOTE: I just realized that AE is giving me an error message when i first fire it up, and I should mention it here because I don't know what it means, and could it affect the way the clips are imported (thus creating more contrast).



ERROR MESSAGE = "the following plug ins have failed to load: mediaCore\cineform\CFHD_AVI_importer.prm (and also it lists) mediaCore\cineform\CFHD_MOV_importer.prm"



I have consistently pressed OK and ignored it, and have been able to drag both avi or mov clips into my project without apparent problems, but now I am wondering whether I should not ignore it LOL. Could it be causing the contrast problem?



It is asking me to reinstall the plugins, how do I do that? Reinstall the entire CS5.5 Production Suite? Or??

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 21, 2015 at 2:04:46 pm

Also:
I did a new experiment: I opened the same original clip in Premiere, and it displayed the clip differently than AE did. The Premiere preview showed less contrast than AE, but it did show more contrast than Vegas. It somewhat split the difference, sort of. Since Premiere and AE are both adobe products, we can rule out vegas as being the sole culprit of the discrepancy of what i am seeing on my timeline in vegas, between the original clip and rendered AE version. Obviously, not even Premiere agrees with AE ... (And yes, I am viewing everything on the same PC and same monitor with same settings.)

Not sure any of above helps, but I thought it was worth mentioning ;)

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 22, 2015 at 5:08:35 am

OK, Walter, I imported the original clip in AE and rendered it out as a JPG image sequence (I believe that is what You meant when you said to render it as a JPG?).

YES I still see the same contrast shift.

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Faith GrangerRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 23, 2015 at 2:51:10 am

About the error messages:

ERROR MESSAGE = "the following plug ins have failed to load: mediaCore\cineform\CFHD_AVI_importer.prm (and also it lists) mediaCore\cineform\CFHD_MOV_importer.prm"

I resolve this issue after intensively googling. Allas, although the error message is now gone, my contrast issue IS NOT. So that error message had nothing to do with it.

Sigh.

So kids, are you all giving up on me now????

FAITH GRANGER
Multi Award winning filmmaker
-----------------------------
http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com
http://www.facebook.com/deuceofspades


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Kalle KannistoRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 23, 2015 at 10:40:50 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Nov 23, 2015 at 10:41:50 am

Based on John's theory you might be able to counteract the contrast effect by adding a Brightness/Contrast Effect with the settings -8,6 contrast, -1 brightness, Use Legacy Mode box checked. While not an answer as to why the shift is happening, maybe some such workaround will allow you to get through the current job and then research the matter further when not under a deadline.


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Walter SoykaRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 25, 2015 at 10:54:49 am

[Faith Granger] "So kids, are you all giving up on me now????"

Never! But I try not to work on the weekends.

As John mentioned last week, the problem here seems to be an issue of video levels versus data levels [link]. With color management on, interpreting the original as HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235 makes it an exact match for the Ae render interpreted as HDTV (Rec. 709).

Apparently, levels in Vegas is a common source of confusion [link].

Try this in Vegas:






Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jim ArcoRe: On a deadline and stuck! AE color interpretation problem
by on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:47:05 pm
Last Edited By Jim Arco on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:57:40 pm

Walter (and Faith,)

It is my understanding that the contrast problem shows up upon import, suggesting that something related to import is interpreting the file incorrectly. It sounds a bit like the "setup / no setup" problem from a few years ago, but I thought that was related to quicktime and had been resolved.

Photoshop has that snakepit of "profiles" but I don't remember anything similar in AE. Other than a codec or color management settings, what else could change the interpretation of a file?


Jim
Colorburst Video


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