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Rendered MP4 files appear different in every media player

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Patrick D'ArcyRendered MP4 files appear different in every media player
by on Apr 13, 2015 at 5:30:36 pm


I'm trying to finish colour grading a promotional video, and I'm rendering some previews just to get an idea of what the final version will look like. However, no matter what media player I play the files on, it always looks different to how it looks on premiere pro, which is irritating.

Furthermore, all the media players look different to each other. VLC player is slightly too red, Quicktime is washed out, Windows Media Player is just pretty much entirely different. In fact, the only one that comes close is the Xbox video on the windows 8.1

Is this normal? Is there a particular program you prefer to watch rendered videos with? Or does anyone have any idea how I can fix this?

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Ht DavisRe: Rendered MP4 files appear different in every media player
by on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:55:20 am

every player has it's own initial balance, but you'll need to grade your own color if you want them to show up similar on all the different players.

What are you rendering from? Are you starting with an MP4 or an H264 variant or compressed video? Straight front the camera?

With the white balance set to auto, most cameras will start with one setting and stick close to it. Some don't. When putting into premiere, you want to have one color set. Use an intermediate and you'll get that. Basically, transcode your video to AVCintra or ProRes, or another decompressed format. This will tag a color schema to it. Use a proxy, and you'll get the same color set, but the motion and sharpness quality will be dropped a bit. Grade the color with speed grade and you'll tag a full color set into your edit. Then replace with your full format by relinking, and output the file. It should look the same.

Also, try checking your visual settings in your players. Set all values to middle zero and then compare. Check the preferences in VLC, as it has some advanced options that affect playback and color. Also, check the profile of your monitor. You may need to profile your monitor with special equipment. Also, I grade with the SRGB color set, which is the internet standard, and will look similar perceptually when played back in most RGB playback.

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Patrick D'ArcyRe: Rendered MP4 files appear different in every media player
by on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:25:27 pm
Last Edited By Patrick D'Arcy on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:49:02 pm

Okay, I'll try and answer all the questions.

I render from premiere pro, the files I'm using are Pro-res 4:2:2 files from my Atomos Ninja Star (although for other projects I may use .H264 straight from the camera).

I try not to use auto white balance, though for this project I did use it. How would using an intermediate codec change the colour? I thought that was just to speed up workflow, and wasn't as necessary with modern NLEs?

I already grade the footage in speedgrade, which applies a lumetri look to each clip, but I have no idea what you mean by replacing with a full format.

I will check the settings in my players for sure. I profile my monitor using Spyder4Pro. I have no idea how to ensure I'm grading with the SRGB color set, for now I've just been using default settings on speedgrade and premiere pro as I have no idea what to do in terms of colour space within those programs.

When you say "perceptually similar", does that mean I'll never have perfect reproduction across media players? Is the video being ever so slightly different between premiere pro and VLC normal? Is there a media player that does not do this?

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Ht DavisRe: Rendered MP4 files appear different in every media player
by on Jul 15, 2015 at 1:21:02 am

A full format is an uncompressed file (in comparison with other formats; Compression "Loses" or drops data and causes drop in quality in the image detail and color). Basically, it means that more of the image and color data are retained, which usually results in better quality, higher bit-rate. If color is your problem, there are some possibilities:

1. Conversion of Colorspace: When you go from compressed formats from your camera or a video app to a conversion in another program you can lose or shift the color around based on how the two programs differ in how they handle the data.
2. File to Monitor: Make sure you have a profiled monitor. It needs to be calibrated correctly. There will be a definitive difference in the playback in video editors and players due to separate methods of handling the color and data. Different players will play it back slightly differently, especially if the colorspace is too wide (48 bit is wide gamut and some monitors and players don't fully support it or need to be adjusted for it using an effects panel in the player). Check your color gamut. Try using 24bit colorspace. Most players will be very close with that selection. Wide gamuts require more handling, and those methods are different in every player. Try 24bit. If you are in 24bit already, then try checking for a whitepaper on the player you are using and find out what gamut it uses, and if it has a video filter you can use to adjust the brightness and contrast. You'll find that different players zero out at different GAMMA values to comply with different standards of playback.

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