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Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output

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Andy BissonnetteMajor Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 6, 2010 at 4:49:02 pm

Hey everyone,
So I have a bunch of Raw stills that I am combining together to create video. I do all the grading and coloring in Camera Raw and then import them into AECS4 as Raw Sequences. They look fine - colors gamma etc in the AE window, but after the render queue they look terrible; they loose a lot of saturation, gamma shifts, etc. It's almost not too bad because after editing them in fcp, they look like they will have a lot of range to color correct in Apple Color, I know this is not right though.

I have the comps set up as 16 bit. I am exporting to Apple ProRes HQ 1920x1080 24fps. I have tried all kinds of variations of settings in the output module: Preserve RGB checked unchecked, Colorspace: ProPhotoRGB, millions/trillions of colors; render in 8, 16 and 32 bit, etc. All of these variations end up looking the same: Dark, low contrast, gamma switch, and desaturated dull colors. Can anyone help me?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 6, 2010 at 5:39:16 pm

[Andy Bissonnette] "I am exporting to Apple ProRes HQ 1920x1080 24fps."

Unless you plan on repeated re-renders of this file --five or more, at least-- ProRes HQ is overkill. The image quality is no better than than ProRes 422's quality. None whatsoever. 'Nuff said.

ProRes 422 is the codec for you... and you might want to read up on this:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2009/03/prores-422-colors-in-after-eff.h...

Finally: unless you know FOR A FACT that you should be working at 24fps, you'll want to change the frame rate of your AE comp to 23.976, or suffer frame rate problems later in FCP.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Andy BissonnetteRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 6, 2010 at 11:31:09 pm

I chose ProRes HQ considering the fact that each frame (or raw image) is around 9 or 10mbs, that's 240 mb/s. My bad, by 24 I meant 23.98 or .976. Interesting read, I will try it out. I do not know how much of a difference it will make though since the input footage is not ProRes, only the output.


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Walter SoykaRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 7, 2010 at 2:19:48 am

I nearly always use Rec 709 for HD delivery.

Where are you seeing the gamma shift? Quicktime Player and FCP? Do you have Final Cut Studio compatibility enabled in Quicktime Player's preferences? Can you resolve the gamma shift by manually setting the gamma of the ProRes clip in FCP?

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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Andy BissonnetteRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:19:00 pm

I think I figured out the problem (well, Walter kind of did). The color shifting was happening both when I had "preserve RGB" in the output module settings checked, and also when it was unchecked (with the output profile set to "ProPhoto RGB"). I switched the output profile to Rec 709 and the colors now look fine.

I kind of understand why this fixed it, I know that Rec 709 is the profile for HD; but ProPhoto is what the photos were originally colored in and their native profile (I think). Why the colors change so drastically when the ProPhoto profile is applied to video is what I don't understand. I'm sure there is a logical explanation.

By outputting to Rec 709, have I lost any color information? It doesn't really matter to me at this point, but I am curious...

Thanks for the help!


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Walter SoykaRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:31:35 pm

[Andy Bissonnette] "I kind of understand why this fixed it, I know that Rec 709 is the profile for HD; but ProPhoto is what the photos were originally colored in and their native profile (I think). Why the colors change so drastically when the ProPhoto profile is applied to video is what I don't understand. I'm sure there is a logical explanation. By outputting to Rec 709, have I lost any color information? It doesn't really matter to me at this point, but I am curious..."

Color management is built to worry about the differences in color profiles behind the scenes, so you don't have to. One set of RGB values may represent different colors in different color profiles; it's color management's job to convert the colors, keeping their appearance (not their RGB values) consistent across multiple profiles.

Ticking Preserve RGB bypasses this color value conversion; it's good for seeing how a non-native, unmanaged device will interpret your color-managed files.

If you have color management on with a working space of Rec 709 (which will be the display space for your HD content anyway, and which is what FCP expects when it sees ProRes), and all your media has the correct profile assigned to it (with interpret footage, though AE almost always guesses correctly), then your color will be converted as seamlessly as possible.

When going from a profile with a larger gamut to a smaller one, some color will be lost in translation (just like RGB/CMYK), but just as print designers can't get CMYK monitors and must work on-screen in RGB with close approximation, so are you limited by your delivery space.

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 SoykaRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 7, 2010 at 6:38:49 pm

[Andy Bissonnette] "Why the colors change so drastically when the ProPhoto profile is applied to video is what I don't understand. I'm sure there is a logical explanation."

To answer this more specifically, when you output ProRes with the ProPhoto profile, you are using ProPhoto's sets of RGB values to represent the colors.

Quicktime and AE expect ProRes to be Rec709; when you read the file back, the RGB values are interpreted in the Rec709 profile, NOT the ProPhoto profile. Again, different profiles may use different RGB values to represent the same color, and may use the same RGB values to represent different colors.

In AE, you could interpret the ProRes/ProPhoto footage with the ProPhoto profile (overriding Rec709) and your colors should appear again as you intended. I'm not sure offhand how to work around this in FCP.

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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Dave LaRondeRe: Major Color Shifting CamRaw Sequence to ProRes Output
by on Oct 7, 2010 at 3:44:39 pm

[Andy Bissonnette] "I chose ProRes HQ considering the fact that each frame (or raw image) is around 9 or 10mbs, that's 240 mb/s. "

However, you should also keep your NEXT step in the production process in mind. If you're going to an application what can't cope with the additional information, you need to plan for it.

For most work done in AE, FCP is usually the next-to-last stop. From FCP, you might use Compressor to make a file for Blu-Ray or DVD, you might go to tape, you might make a video for the web, you might do a film-out, but that's generally it.

And at the moment, FCP is a 10-bit application at best.

Gary Adcock, a highly-respected member of the COW, has posted a blog on bit depth and the implications of various bit depths in the production process. You might find it useful:
http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640/colorspaces

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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