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After Effects Raw has fluctuating exposure

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Jakob Jones
After Effects Raw has fluctuating exposure
on Sep 1, 2018 at 12:33:51 am


I'm a student working on a high school film and I'm running into some issues with color correction / grading in my clips.

The files I have were shot with a Sony FS-700R and an Odyssey 7q+, and the shots I'm having trouble with were recorded as raw .DNG files through the Odyssey.

In order to maximize the power of the RAW data, I've been importing the raw sequences into After Effects and gradign them with Camera Raw.

However, upon a render and playback, my RAW scenes are rapidly changing exposure and color. At first I thought this had to do with one of my settings left on Auto when I filmed, but this wasn't the case.

I threw on some temp grades and exported the Raw clip, the Sony's internal recorded clip which was H.264, and the Sony internal recorded clip again but with a quick grade on it to quickly try and match the raw clip.

Here is the raw clip: (might be a little loud and harsh audio, on camera mic for now)

The exposure (especially in the shadows) fluctuates a lot as the two actors move. This can especially be seen on the right actor's shirt. My guess is that After Effects camera raw is interpreting every frame independently and determining the exposure/contrast/saturation based on everything in the scene. Therefore, when the background changes, the exposure changes.

Here is the SLOG-2 file shot by the Sony-FS700's internal recorder:

The exposure on the actor's right shirt is staying pretty much the same, so I'm confident this isn't the light changing from the environment but yet something to do with After Effects or Camera Raw.

Here is the Sony internal record with a quick grade:

Still no exposure fluctuations.

I have no idea why it is acting this way. Here is a quick explanation of my current RAW workflow:

1. Import the Sony internal record clip into Premiere Pro.

2. Import the DNG sequence into After Effects and make any changes necessary.

3. If I need to change the color later on, I go back and reveal in Adobe Bridge, find the moment I'll be using and adjust the color. I then copy the settings from that frame and apply it to the very first frame DNG in the folder. I do this because After Effects only uses the settings from the first clip to adjust every other frame in the sequence.

4. I then link the composition into Premiere Pro via dynamic link.

So once again, my idea is that Camera Raw has some kind of setting where it automatically adjusts each frame individually. However, I can't find any other documentation about this, and no preference in either After Effects or Camera Raw to turn it off/on.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Quick edit:

These are my Camera Raw Preferences I pulled up in Adobe Bridge. Auto tone and color adjustments are off.

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Andrew Somers
Re: After Effects Raw has fluctuating exposure
on Sep 2, 2018 at 12:22:22 am

Hi Jacob,

First of all, check "Ignore Sidecar XMP files". If you are making changes to a frame somewhere in the sequence and it creates a sidecar of that change, and it WILL affect the frame it is related to! No, AE does NOT just take the grade from the first frame in the sequence - it will take the the grade form every XMP file in finds, and every time you make adjustments in camera RAW, you create another XMP file for that frame.

Remove all the XMP files from the frame sequence folder except the one for the first frame of the sequence.

Second, you might also try unchecking "Use Graphics Processor" to eliminate that as a possible issue.

Also, never set anything like white balance to "as shot" and nothing to "auto" in ACR when working with a sequence. If you are using a preset, make sure the preset does not have "auto" checked. (presets are the second from the right button in ACR).

Finally, what is your project color space and bit depth? Ideally you'll want to be working in scene linear (linearized gamma 1.0) and 32 bit. Pick a working profile with the same chromacities (white point and primaries) of your destination, i.e. Rec709 or DCI/P3 etc.

I don't know anything about the Odyssey recorder, and there could easily be issues in settings there. I'd suggest the cinematography forum for your question.

Have you profiled the camera using an XRITE color checker chart? Using a camera profile that was made with your actual camera in RAW, and in the lighting conditions of the scene, is the best way to ensure consistency. Far better than using the build in generic Adobe camera profiles.

NEVERTHELESS, based on how you described your workflow, I am going to guess that you have extra XMP files affecting your color.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor

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