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Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?

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Jenny Conway
Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 5:11:24 pm

Hi,

I was working in an AE project for HD broadcast with animation composited over footage brought in from an Avid. It worked correctly in the past but, after I upgraded to AE 13.7 the black levels of my render are crushed and too dark to match when brought back into Avid. My previous settings (that had worked before) were:

Project Settings: color depth=16 bit; working space: HDTV (Rec 709)
Interpret footage: none since I set the project color space
Render Output settings: Color Management: Working Space HD TV Rec 70; Output Module: Avid Codec/DNxHD 709

I've searched boards and found a workaround of setting the Project Settings/Color Depth to 32-bit (float) and then applying an Adjustment Layer with a Levels correction so that Output Black = .627 and Output White = .9255. This actually solves the problem but I was wondering if anyone else found this issue or knows why it changed? Is AE reading the DNxHD codec differently?

Many thanks,
Jenny


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 5:32:23 pm

mxf? mov?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 6:23:26 pm

Mov (QT mov as export and QT mov as render).

Also tried replacing the original Avid movie w an exported OP1a as a test, but the crushing of black levels was still there. I'm stumped and, since I haven't seen too many people posting about it, I'm just really curious as to what I'm missing.


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Chris Wright
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:03:01 pm

probably the 16-235 color levels not 0-255. you can burn that in with AE's utility - color profile converter if avid won't read the color management correctly.


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:21:08 pm

Thanks, Chris. Hmm, I did try the Color profile converter but still had crushed levels- so I possibly had the settings wrong then?

(I tried the Project Color Space=None and also as =HD 709 and tried the Color Profile settings as both Input=Project Working Space and Input=HDTV (Rec 709) but still not luck.)

The only thing I didn't try was the button for Linearize Input Profile- would that be something that would help? I'll try a test- thanks for the suggestion.

Jenny


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:36:18 pm

Ok, Linear Output bad choice- boosted the white levels. So far the 32-bit (float) w an Adjustment Layer (w a Levels correction) that I noted above is the best option.
Someone posted on a forum that "it's best to work in the 0-255 range and use the legal range for delivery." I still don't understand why (especially if the workflow was a perfect match before) so I'm all ears if anyone knows more. Thanks!


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:39:34 pm

PS sorry, never mentioned that the Avid files were exported Same As Source/709 each time.


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Chris Wright
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:44:19 pm

yes, there is actually a profile called (Rec. 709 16-235 ). That one is video compatible, the one simply Rec.709 ___ is actually 0-255. I think you need to change input and output as these two different ones so it will convert correctly. You will see an instant change on screen.


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 7:53:52 pm

Thanks you! I'll give that a try!


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Jun 27, 2016 at 8:27:43 pm

Thank you, Chris- that worked! I set the Input Range as HDTV (Rec 709) and the Output as HDTV (Rec 709 16-235). We did a test and this seems identical to the 32 bit/Level technique so both are good.

The takeaway I guess is that AE needs the Rec 709 full range 0-255 to work in but, if you don't limit it to 16-235 on render/export, you'll have level problems when it's imported into the Avid again. Many thanks to you and Dave for your patience & advice!


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piers helm
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Aug 24, 2016 at 12:20:24 pm

Hi
Im having the same problem here but Im not sure I follow the fix.

Im using the same project as a year ago on AE, currently upgraded to the latest version.

Clients wants the project delivered as AVID DNxHD RGB levels uncompressed 1080i 185 10bit .mov

using this preset from last year, the black levels are now very crushed.
Am correctly understanding some of the posts here that I need to add an adjustment layer changing the levels so that it looks too light in AE but exports correctly?

thanks


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Marcin Staszewski
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:53:42 am

Same here, I have a similar problem and I'm not sure what you're talking about setting input and output levels in AE. Could you please describe the fixing process step by step?
Also, Piers if you need a quick and dirty solution for this, send your export queue to Media Encoder, and there use your DNxHD mov setting. It seems to do the job just fine, which shows the bug is only affecting AE exports.


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piers helm
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 10:06:59 am

Hi Marcin,
Thanks for the Media Encoder solution, it works fine.

My previous solution in AE was for export. I placed an adjustment layer at the top of my comp with colour correction / Levels with Gamma brought up to around 1.5. This would compensate for the crushing that would happen with the DNx export.
However, I wasnt happy that this was a particularly good solution as I was adjusting by eye. Using Media Encoder seems much better.

After all this though my client now says he wants Prores for delivery.


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Marcin Staszewski
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 11:11:42 am

Same here, they asked for ProRes :)
However, I'm on Windows, so that's a no-go for me. What I dont get is Jenny&Chris' solution, I guess we will have to wait until they read this...


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Jenny Conway
Re: Black levels crushed using DNxHD codec w AE upgrade?
on Aug 30, 2016 at 2:06:20 pm

Hi Marcin & Piers,
Sorry for the delay. I had the Avid export as a SAS (same as source). Then I put an Adjustment layer at the top of my comp and applied Color Profile Converter. For the Input Profile, choose HDTV (Rec. 709) and for the Output Profile, choose HDTV (Rec 709) 16-235. This will make it look slightly grayer in AE but when Avid imports it, the blacks are fine and it matched perfectly with footage in the Avid, without color shifting. Hope that helps? I plan to try a test w Media Encoder to see if it's needed there but haven't done it yet. Hope that helps.
Jenny


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