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having trouble preserving saturation when exporting


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#1 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:12 PM

Shot on RED, Colored in Apple Color.

I'm trying a whole bunch of different codecs through compressor and all of them come out less saturated then my project file. I expected this, but not as much. I haven't found a solution yet...

Any ideas?

I've tried having my sequence codec setting at 10bit uncompressed, proress 422 (hq), and a few others; redcode does not work.

Posted Image
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:30 PM

Shot on RED, Colored in Apple Color.

I'm trying a whole bunch of different codecs through compressor and all of them come out less saturated then my project file. I expected this, but not as much. I haven't found a solution yet...


I have had the same problem on FCP, usually when exporting to the web. Are you exporting directly from Color? My workaround is from FCP on the export settings I bump up the contrast and eventually get there by trial and error. It does have to export all the way, but a short clip usually helps. Not the best way, but it eventually gets me there. Maybe trying something similar could help you? ;)

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 09 April 2009 - 05:31 PM.

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#3 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:26 PM

I have had the same problem on FCP, usually when exporting to the web. Are you exporting directly from Color? My workaround is from FCP on the export settings I bump up the contrast and eventually get there by trial and error. It does have to export all the way, but a short clip usually helps. Not the best way, but it eventually gets me there. Maybe trying something similar could help you? ;)


Hey Saul,

Thanks for the response. I have been told that by a few people before, and I was really hoping that it can't be true. I understand that my color space is changing when I compress, but is this the only road to do trial and error?
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:40 PM

Hey Saul,

Thanks for the response. I have been told that by a few people before, and I was really hoping that it can't be true. I understand that my color space is changing when I compress, but is this the only road to do trial and error?



Also, an option to specificy your codec and quality and the MB/GB size you would like to stay UNDER would be great. Mpegstreamclip doesn't seem to have that option.
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:40 PM

Also, an option to specificy your codec and quality and the MB/GB size you would like to stay UNDER would be great. Mpegstreamclip doesn't seem to have that option.


As far as codec and file size, it depends what I am going for. If it is for Vimeo, usually H.264 at under 5 Mbs. For editing on FCP, I go with Pro Res 422 HQ (variable data-rate), or 720 24p (100 Mbs) for quick HD previews, viewing / editing on slower computers.

I had also only heard the "trail and error" way and never thought it was the way of choice. But here I am. I hope there is a better way, and if anyone knows it, I would love to read and try it.

In the old days of only domestic SD NTSC video playback system were a tad easier, because benchmark settings were readily available and there was a standard playback format _ and mostly trained video techs would handle the conversions. But now that millions of worldwide computer users generate a smorgasbord of video files for multitude of ever changing codecs, playback settings, delivery methods, etc. - from film out to youtube- one really needs an master engineering degree to even begin to sort things out. So for my own personal and low budget projects, I usually aim for the best results I can generate based on what I can see on my monitors, and keep it "broadcast safe" within FCP. For higher budgets I usually let established post shop pros handle it _and even they sometimes botch it something fierce as well. ;)

It is a jungle out there!

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 09 April 2009 - 07:42 PM.

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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:21 AM

Hey, that's Shelter Cove! My friend lives in the 2nd house on the left...

What's the original file format you're sending to Compressor and what is the destination format? What does it look like in the Preview window before starting the compression? I've only noticed obvious gamma and color sat. changes when making mpeg 2 files for DVD.

Are you getting the exact same results with the different destination formats?

What about when you export via Quicktime Conversion instead of Compressor?
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 04:15 AM

Hey, that's Shelter Cove! My friend lives in the 2nd house on the left...

What's the original file format you're sending to Compressor and what is the destination format? What does it look like in the Preview window before starting the compression? I've only noticed obvious gamma and color sat. changes when making mpeg 2 files for DVD.

Are you getting the exact same results with the different destination formats?

What about when you export via Quicktime Conversion instead of Compressor?


I shot this in pacifica, the last exit before you hit the curvy part of the 1. Linda mar. That's cool if your friend lives down there. Looks like such a cool place. I haven't been down there yet, but I like going to check out the view.

As for the exporting. I've tried almost every codec; really just to see quality wise, but in compressor it shows the new codec with the same looking saturation as the origional in the split screen.

I just tried boosting the saturation from 100 to 150 and I got this:
Posted Image

I wouldn't call it better, but it does have more saturation. I don't like adjusting such a critical part of my image, by blindly guessing.

Any idea sats?
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#8 Juha Leminen

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 05:34 AM

sorry to jump into the middle.

If it the export purpose was for editing purpose proxy and uncompressed files could be considered,
the two files in low format and un-degraded. There is work in this to set things up but if set up
correctly then edit could be done on data format of which data rate can specific computer handle.
Then final export of uncompressed.

For streming web video though its allways a dificult choise, what ever format you choose something is lost
while something is gained.

going skateboarding, I will be back sooner or later if I break any bones... I should consider myself too old.

Edited by Juha Leminen, 10 April 2009 - 05:36 AM.

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#9 Juha Leminen

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:46 AM

hey the preview of the output is not rendered so color adjustment doesnt show, or am i way off,
I hope its that simple. Broke my deck on skating, on kickflip, I hope something goes right today.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:40 AM

I shot this in pacifica, the last exit before you hit the curvy part of the 1. Linda mar.

Yeah, that's the place. It's only accessible by a narrow dirt path on the edge of a cliff, no lights at night. I shot her short down there and we had to carry the doorway dolly and all our other gear down by hand (and haul it back up in pitch dark). It was interesting, to say the least. For anything bigger that can't be carried by two people, you'd have to bring it in my boat. :ph34r:

As for the exporting. Any idea sats?

Well, it seems from the before/after pics that the export is undoing all the corrections you've made. Not just color sat. but also gamma curves. So I wonder if there's some setting that needs to be enabled that would allow the grade to appear. What do color bars look like when you export them with the same settings at the head of video clip? Since you didn't color correct them, if they appear desaturated and low-con then it must be a setting in Compressor applying a global correction. If they appear normal, then it must be some setting in FCP before sending to Compressor. I don't know why you would see the proper color in the preview window if that were the case, but it's a place to start.
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#11 Karel Bata

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 04:59 AM

Same problem here. Exporting from Premiere in Quicktime using the animation codec yields

Posted Image

while h264 gives...

Posted Image

Wow! Now it looks really washed out here. Any ideas anyone...?

p.s.Notice the Obama t-shirt in the BG? :D

Edited by Karel Bata, 11 April 2009 - 05:02 AM.

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#12 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:15 PM

Yeah, that's the place. It's only accessible by a narrow dirt path on the edge of a cliff, no lights at night. I shot her short down there and we had to carry the doorway dolly and all our other gear down by hand (and haul it back up in pitch dark). It was interesting, to say the least. For anything bigger that can't be carried by two people, you'd have to bring it in my boat. :ph34r:


Well, it seems from the before/after pics that the export is undoing all the corrections you've made. Not just color sat. but also gamma curves. So I wonder if there's some setting that needs to be enabled that would allow the grade to appear. What do color bars look like when you export them with the same settings at the head of video clip? Since you didn't color correct them, if they appear desaturated and low-con then it must be a setting in Compressor applying a global correction. If they appear normal, then it must be some setting in FCP before sending to Compressor. I don't know why you would see the proper color in the preview window if that were the case, but it's a place to start.


Definitely seems like the gamma curve has been effected as well. This is why I can't beleive that "trial by error" is a reasonable solution. The adjustments you make in Compressor/FCP when you save as a quicktime movie show you an unrendered image that is 50x50 pixels, and there is no calibration....it's frustrating.

I'm still working on this.
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#13 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:23 PM

Compressor will have a filter option called gamma correction. I can't remember but i think the proper compensation is 1.2. I've found that the gamma in turn effects the sat, so let me know if it works.
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#14 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:30 PM

Compressor will have a filter option called gamma correction. I can't remember but i think the proper compensation is 1.2. I've found that the gamma in turn effects the sat, so let me know if it works.



Just tested it. 1.2 is a bit high (but actually looks better for the clip i was testing), start coming down and you'll find the perfect setting.
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#15 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:22 PM

Just tested it. 1.2 is a bit high (but actually looks better for the clip i was testing), start coming down and you'll find the perfect setting.



I have tried 1.8, 1.2, 2.2... no luck.
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#16 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:36 PM

I have tried 1.8, 1.2, 2.2... no luck.


What file type are you compressing from? Pro Rez, Uncompressed, DPX?
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#17 Karel Bata

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:24 AM

I've found solutions to my prob at AE Portal News and Brightness Issues with H.264 QuickTime Movies. From what I glean of this, the codec you use may be changing the display properties, but the original video is as was. You just need to get into the properties and tweak it. AFIK when a video is transcoded further (to YouTube for instance) this codec display info is stripped away and your video is returned to it's proper values. Therefore (for instance) increasing the chroma by 50% before you encode would finally be detrimental.

"Quicktime has a feature, mostly hidden from users, which is designed to adjust the display gamma of quicktime movies on different machines to compensate for display difference. Deep within the file, there is sometimes a little tag called 'gama' lurking which tells the Quicktime player what gamma correction the file was encoded with. While this is well-intentioned, motivated by the difference in display gamma between PCs and Macs, the Quicktime player offers no way to view this tag and change it." *

You're using different codecs, but I suspect this may also be relevant to you. If not it's still worth knowing. :D


*actually in QT Pro you can.
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#18 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:24 PM

*actually in QT Pro you can.

Hmm. In QT Pro 7.6, there's a checkbox in the General Preferences tab that reads:

"Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility"
When enabled, video is not displayed using ColorSync. Source colors are read with 2.2 gamma and are displayed in a color space with 1.8 gamma.

I'm assuming you're monitoring with 2.2 gamma to begin with, so if that's the case, then this could be your problem.

*Just tested it: with the box unchecked, video is brighter and more green so that sounds like the issue you were having.

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 15 April 2009 - 12:28 PM.

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#19 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 05:18 PM

Hmm. In QT Pro 7.6, there's a checkbox in the General Preferences tab that reads:

"Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility"
When enabled, video is not displayed using ColorSync. Source colors are read with 2.2 gamma and are displayed in a color space with 1.8 gamma.

I'm assuming you're monitoring with 2.2 gamma to begin with, so if that's the case, then this could be your problem.

*Just tested it: with the box unchecked, video is brighter and more green so that sounds like the issue you were having.


Alright, I have something that is "acceptable". Took about 8 times messing with Mpegstreamclip to get the settings where I need them to be. I had to boost the sat and contrast, and I exported an h.264.

The footage was 4k; I imported natively into FCP (as opposed to Pro Res). Made my edit, sent to color, colored, sent back to FCP and exported a Pro Res 422 HQ master copy that is 500+mb for a 1 minute video! I used this file to make my 98MB H.264 file for upload to the web.

I'll post a link to the video when it's up.

Thanks guys.

Posted Image

the main menu using mpegstreamclip:
Posted Image

And the Contrast and Saturation Adjustments:
Posted Image
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#20 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 05:21 PM

What file type are you compressing from? Pro Rez, Uncompressed, DPX?

Do you have a good workflow Chayse? I'm going FCP - Color - FCP export. I want to keep it simple. No need for edl's (yet)
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