APPLE FINAL CUT PRO: Apple Final Cut Pro X FCPX Debates FCP Legacy FCP Tutorials

Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.

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James Duke
Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 1:22:17 am

In Apple’s “Final Cut Pro X: Wide-gamut HDR tips and tricks” document, the first bullet states: “When you color correct HDR images, the highlight details in the wider color gamut or above 100 nits are clipped in the viewer on a Mac display.”
Do I understand correctly that, even though iMac display is above 300nits, the brightness above 100nits is clipped nevertheless?
This same bullet states that:”To play back the wider range of colors in an HDR project accurately, it’s recommended that you use an external reference HDR video monitor.”  Does that mean that just because one uses a setting in Preferences indicating a diff attached A/V monitor, the brightness is not clipped?
The other Apple document “Final Cut Pro X: View playback on an external monitor or display” says that: “A/V Output requires compatible third-party video interface hardware and software.”

My question is, can one just use Thunderbolt to HTMI connector to monitor on an HDR monitor, or one needs a special device, like those manufactured by Blackmagic design, to connect to external monitor?

James Duke
jduke@lifestorypictures.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 11:48:28 am

The bottom line is that you cannot properly monitor HDR using Apple displays. A high nits display does not mean it is an HDR display. You need the correct AJA or BMD i/o hardware, plus an HDR-enabled calibrated display.

Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 1:31:10 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jun 21, 2018 at 1:36:11 pm

https://www.aja.com/solutions/hdr
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/ultrastudio
http://www.flandersscientific.com/hdr/
http://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-32UD99-W-4k-uhd-led-monitor
- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 8:19:02 pm

Oliver,

Thank you very much for you note. I would like to understand how does the software handle the interfaces. For example, I do have a HDR monitor I can afford - LG OLED 65B7A TV. What I would like to understand is what exactly "correct AJA or BMD i/o hardware" does to shape or provide handshake between iMac Thunderbolt and LG TV? I.e, what does it introduce beyond Thunderbolt-HTMI cable which is not already in the data provided by FCPX?

Thanks.

James.
http://www.lifestorypictures.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 9:52:45 pm

[James Duke] " What I would like to understand is what exactly "correct AJA or BMD i/o hardware" does to shape or provide handshake between iMac Thunderbolt and LG TV"

Since I don't work with these devices, I don't have an exact, specific answer. However, in order to turn on HDR in the set, metadata has to be passed to it telling the display that the signal is HDR. I believe the newer HDMI specs support that. Therefore, you have to have the correct, AJA or BMD unit (higher end 4K models) that will pass this metadata. The Mac by itself does not. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong on that, but to my knowledge, that's the current state of things.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 10:29:29 pm

Oliver,
This is my understanding exactly. So, I bought the newest Thunderbolt to HTMI cable to connect iMac to LG TV as an external monitor in FCPX.
I do see HDR video on LG TV, however I do not know if FCPX clips the brightness or not. Next, I will try to use HDR test charts to see if it works. I just wish someone would know what exactly is the function of an interface box.

Thanks.

James.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 11:07:57 pm

[James Duke] "So, I bought the newest Thunderbolt to HTMI cable to connect iMac to LG TV as an external monitor in FCPX."

I would be very surprised if that worked. But maybe.

[James Duke] "I do see HDR video on LG TV, however I do not know if FCPX clips the brightness or not"

Which HDR standard are you using and what is the maximum brightness?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 21, 2018 at 11:11:54 pm

This is from Apple's white paper (page 11):

https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/docs/Working_with_Wide_Color_Gamut_and_...

"Because the viewer shows only the SDR luminance range, it’s essential to use an external HDR reference display for monitoring and grading your HDR footage. Connect this display to your Mac using a Thunderbolt video output device.
Using the video output device manufacturer’s control panel, configure the device to match the settings of your project and reference display. For example, if you’re grading for Rec. 2020 PQ, configure the display and the control panel accordingly."

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 22, 2018 at 1:25:23 am

Oliver,

I am not 100% sure (who is about anything), but I just tested using test video and it seems that A/V output is passing color info Ok, but clips the brightness at 100 nits (same is for the viewer). So, it is entirely possible that the HDR range is passed only through "interface" device. I am waiting to hear from Blackmagic about it. Years ago it was very easy, one could just call Blackmagic tech support and get all the imfo one needs. Today they do not know much and one needs to send an e-mail to the "developer." I hope I find out soon.

Thanks.

James.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 22, 2018 at 12:05:37 pm

[James Duke] " but clips the brightness at 100 nits (same is for the viewer). So, it is entirely possible that the HDR range is passed only through "interface" device"

Right. That's exactly the issue. The Mac's standard A/V color management isn't meant for HDR (yet).

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 22, 2018 at 1:36:05 am

I forgot to mention, the video brightness is up to 1K nits. LG TV can handle it as a peak. I compress into HDR10, H.265.

James.


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Bill Davis
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 23, 2018 at 8:20:00 pm

James,

Not sure if you're interested in just "General HDR" or the new HDR ProRes RAW workflow that Apple just launched at NAB 2018.

But, I attended most of the NAB sessions on the new ProResRAW HDR grading implementations that resulted from the partnership from Atomos and Apple.

Basically, Atomos were the co-development partners with Apple on the new ProRes RAW HDR implementation.

To my understanding, nobody else has both the software and hardware necessary for this "turnkey" practical implementation just yet.

Atomos CEO Jeromy Young was extremely careful to indicate that their "exclusive" on this stuff is for a limited time only - and that he expects that the FCP X grading pipeline technology currently thus restricted - will "go wide" at some point in the not too distant future.

So, if you want to truly be an "early adopter" - you apparently need the following: (A) one of the cameras that will deliver ProRes RAW to an (B) HDR capable Atomos capture device - and then to (C) FCP X running on a Mac to enable the workflow. Monitoring, as you are finding out - is another critical piece of the puzzle. Monitors (D) that are capable of reliably displaying beyond the current luminance dynamic range in NITS are still pretty expensive and relatively rare.

If you don't have ALL of those (A-D) stages, you're basically not going to play in ProRes RAW for the moment.

If you just want to do some type of general "HDR" workflow NOT based on ProResRAW, there may be more generic tools available but I don't know anyone currently having success with that, and this is apparently the first practical HDR workflow likely to reach the market as an easy to adopt "turnkey" system.

That's what I basically the message I heard in the dozen sessions I attended at NAB.

Hope that helps. Good luck in your search.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 23, 2018 at 8:48:33 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jun 24, 2018 at 1:39:56 am

[Bill Davis] "new HDR ProRes RAW workflow that Apple just launched at NAB 2018."

Huh? With all due respect Bill, there is no such thing as a "new HDR ProRes RAW" workflow. There is ProResRAW and there is HDR (introduced in X before ProResRAW). ProResRAW works in both SDR and HDR workflows - just like all other log and raw formats, including standard ProRes/HQ/4444/etc, REDCODE raw, Sony A7s - you name it. There is nothing inherent about ProResRAW specific to HDR, other than that it preserves a larger dynamic range.

When you say no one else offers this sort of "turnkey" workflow - what about RED camera's raw media direct into FCPX? That's been available for years. In fact, it's easier to deal with as a complete system than camera+Atomos add-on. The improvement Apple showed at NAB is the multi-stream performance optimization with FCPX that ProResRAW offers. Completely independent of - and unrelated to - HDR.

[Bill Davis] "one of the cameras that will deliver ProRes RAW"

Nope. You need a camera that will output a RAW signal over SDI to the Atomos. The Atomos recorder does the rewrap/conversion from the camera's raw into ProResRAW.

[Bill Davis] "(B) HDR capable Atomos capture device"

Or certain DJI models natively (no Atomos required).

[Bill Davis] "Monitors (D) that are capable of reliably displaying beyond the current luminance dynamic range in NITS are still pretty expensive and relatively rare."

As we discussed upstream in this thread, it's not just the monitors, but the right i/o hardware that has to pass the HDR metadata. A high-NITS display is simply a brighter monitor.

[Bill Davis] "but I don't know anyone currently having success with that, and this is apparently the first practical HDR workflow likely to reach the market as an easy to adopt "turnkey" system."

Huh? Nearly every feature film and many high-end TV series are being graded for HDR deliverables. The workflow is pretty well established, but the standards are still in flux. Resolve and the right monitoring and you are good to go. Both Resolve and Premiere also offer HDR tools. So the FCPX method - ProResRAW or not - is hardly turnkey. Especially considering that you cannot correctly monitor HDR on any Apple display system yet. Working with HDR and FCPX on a laptop or iMac by itself isn't going to cut it.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 24, 2018 at 5:51:58 pm

[Oliver Peters] "With all due respect Bill, there is no such thing as a "new HDR ProRes RAW" workflow."

Well, if you define "workflow" as the steps you take to create content - then what Apple showed at NAB pretty much DEFINES the term. ProRes RAW didn't exist before that. Jeromy Young SHOWED the workflow for using it to create content. I'd call that "new HDR ProResRAW workflow" exactly as I used the phrase.

[Oliver Peters] "There is nothing inherent about ProResRAW specific to HDR, other than that it preserves a larger dynamic range.
"


Uh, isn't that kinda the "definition" of HDR?

[Oliver Peters] "The workflow is pretty well established, but the standards are still in flux."

Isn't that kind of a HUGE oxymoron? Can it be "established" yet also lack agreed to standards? It's like saying we know what a "pie" is - but since there's no recipe on the table to discuss - there's really no consistent way to create pies for the market. Everyone has to make up their own.

Apple has at least now published a set of bespoke standards for what they see as "pie." You decide the ingredients for the pies you want to produce, but at least you can now get started knowing that there's at least one agreed to standard for the shape, size, crust thickness, and weight. That alone allows you to design the packaging, figure out how many fit in a case, tell the market what to expect as to needed shelf space, and start to figure out pricing.

They've created a consistent system for handling one type of HDR footage from camera to screen. When BlackMagic or Adobe or Google publishes their similar arrangement of format, hardware, software, monitoring and delivery modalities - we can talk about them, I guess. But right now, the HDR world appears to be woefully unfocused and unclear. (For many good reasons)

This should help.

The Apple solution might not be the best, nor the ideal, nor might it address the needs of ALL classes of users perfectly - but at least it HAS moved from the theoretical to the practical realm.

I look forward to other companies following a similar path over time.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 24, 2018 at 8:06:17 pm

[Bill Davis] "ProRes RAW didn't exist before that. Jeromy Young SHOWED the workflow for using it to create content. I'd call that "new HDR ProResRAW workflow" exactly as I used the phrase."

No, because you are creating the assumption that ProResRAW is somehow tied to HDR. My point was that it can be used to generate HDR masters, but it also can be used for SDR. In fact, right now it's better for that, because all the camera LUTs are designed for Rec709 and useless in HDR. So ProRes RAW is no different in that sense than a log-encoded file, ARRIRAW, REDCODE RAW, etc. It's a carrier that compresses wider dynamic range into a smaller bucket with which you can then do in post what you will. Apple hasn't really change the equation. Pretty much any mid-to-high-end camera manufactured in the last decade generates a signal that can be turned into HDR.

[Bill Davis] "Uh, isn't that kinda the "definition" of HDR?"

Sure in a general sense, but that isn't unique to ProRes RAW.

[Bill Davis] "Isn't that kind of a HUGE oxymoron? Can it be "established" yet also lack agreed to standards?"

Yes, it can. HDR means a lot of different thing with different standards. In any case, the steps to follow are the same, as it pertains to video. It really a question of levels and having specific hardware.

[Bill Davis] "Apple has at least now published a set of bespoke standards for what they see as "pie." You decide the ingredients for the pies you want to produce, but at least you can now get started knowing that there's at least one agreed to standard for the shape, size, crust thickness, and weight."

No, they haven't set up any standard at all. They've adjusted their software to meet the needs of several of the possible standards, but with a LOT of holes in the methods. But so have Adobe in Premiere and BMD in Resolve and both earlier than in FCPX. Regardless of what Apple does, it's a moving target. And considering that Apple can't even supply hardware that provides correct HDR monitoring, it seems kind of a moot point.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 24, 2018 at 9:29:12 pm

Bill,

Out of curiosity, have you actually played around with the ProRes RAW (or any other) clips in one of the FCPX HDR modes? It's actually quite impossible to get any levels that look right in the viewer to your eye. When you set prefs to view "at raw values" you end up with an overall image that is relatively dark. What looks right to the eye after grading reads several thousands nits on the scopes. That would be insanely bright on any available consumer display. Ultimately that's what this thread is about, not whether or not ProRes RAW makes an HDR pipeline easier.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Jun 25, 2018 at 1:18:41 am

Gentlemen,

It was interesting to read your posts. Oliver is right, ProRes Raw is just another video format unrelated to HDR, even though, of course, any RAW would carry wide dynamic range info. So does the Log.
Just a note on LUTs. It is true that most of Log LUTs out there are 709. However, Apple, I think intentionally, does not call those LUTs "709" in FCPX, just "Camera LUT."
There are three possibilities here:
1. They are actually different LUTs for each of the project settings (formats) provided to Apple by the manufacturers. I highly doubt it.
2. Apple converts on the fly the 709 LUT into the project settings (possible). In fact, in my conversations with Apple support (they are not as knowledgeable as they were when there was a special Pro group support for a fee), I was told FCPX does the conversion to make the timeline correspond to the project settings.
3. They all (LUTs) are 709 LUTs and Apple just leaves them as they are (disturbing, if they do it). But if that would be so, I would not see, what is obviously wider color gamut than 709 when sharing ProRes out.
I hope, it is number 2.
I have knowledge of one of the camera manufacturers - Panasonic. There, most prosumer (GH5, DVX200) cameras' manuals state that they adhere to 709. But, talking with their some of their employees, I was told that it is "straight out" of the sensor processing and is not "restricted." I don't know what it actually mean in term VLog-L out of the camera.

James
jduke@lifestorypictures.com


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James Duke
Re: Monitoring an HDR Rec. 2020 PQ project.
on Sep 16, 2018 at 8:16:53 pm

Gentlemen,

With regard to the thread in June, I have recently published an article on Larry Jordan's blog that may shed some light on HDR discussion.

https://larryjordan.com/articles/working-with-hdr-media-in-apple-final-cut-...

Please let me know what you think.

James


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