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Color management for video


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#1 Mei Lewis

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

Posted Image


I'm using a PC laptop with a calibrated screen and I've noticed that the same video can look quite different between different player applications.
The difference is most obvious when looking at footage shot on a 5Dii with the cinestyle picture profile. I think the very flat image is really showing up how the different players handle video.


Windows media player looks the best and most contrasty straight away, but it's a very false view of how the footage was shot. I guess WMP is doing some kind of automatic contrast/exposure 'enhancement' that can't be turned off.
VLC has less contrast and I think it's closest to what the footage looks like on the camera,
Quicktime Player seems overly flat.

WMP, VLC and Quicktime all seem pretty close on color rendering despite the difference in contrast.


Premiere is close to VLC in terms of contrast but renders color quite differently to VLC,WMP and Quicktime, most obvious on the reds of the hat and dress which are visibly less orange.

Does anyone have any idea of what's going on? Which is closest to the 'correct' look?
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#2 Mei Lewis

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

I've noticed the same sort of color and contrast differences for video podcasts and other downloaded videos, not just my own footage.
Still not sure what to do.
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:27 AM

The Quicktime image looks closer to what I'd expect from a 5D cinestyle profile. It's meant to be "flat" so you have more data to work with. While the WMP image looks more pleasing, as you said, it's a false representation.

Quicktime's history is filled with major attention to color accuracy tied to Colorsync on the Mac. Not sure how it translates on the PC however.
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#4 Mei Lewis

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:03 AM

Thanks Will.

I've just looked at the same video on my hackinitosh Dell Mini 10 running OSX. It's hard to compare to my PC laptop because the screen is very different. I have Quicktime player and VLC on there and the video once again looks different in them. Neither has the super washed out flat look of windows quicktime, they both have the middling washed out look I expect, but the colors are slighty different, again most noticeably in the redds, and the VLC image is slightly warmer.
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#5 Manny Frutos

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:50 PM

In my experience this has more to do with the codec used more than anything. Though Quicktime is often used due to its popularity and ease of use it can look very different from computer to computer or even mac to computer. The image you posted really highlights the gamma shift problem that is prevalent with the Quicktime format. Usually with videos compressed using the mp4 or h.264 codec.

What type of video file (avi, mp4, mts etc.) are these images from? What codec?
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#6 Mei Lewis

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:34 PM

Thanks Manny. I think you're correct that it may be the codec that's the problem.

The shot posted is from a Canon 5d2 .mov file which I think is h.264, but I also have it on files I export from Premiere - again using h.264.


Googling 'quicktime gamma bug' brings up a lot of results including this claimed fix from video copilot:
http://www.videocopi...me-gamma-shift/

After rendering into a QuickTime/h.264 file, open it up in QuickTime and select “Show Movie Properties.” Highlight the video track then click on the “Visual Settings” tab. Towards the bottom left you should see “Transparency” with a drop-down box next to it. Select “Blend” from the menu then move the “Transparency Level” slider to 100%. Choose “Straight Alpha” from the same drop-down and close the properties window and finally “Save.”


I tried that and checked the results. The 'fixed' file looks no different to the original in VLC or Windows Media player, but the gamma and colors are changed in quicktime player:

Posted Image
So it's better but still not the same as VLC or Premiere.

I think the solution is to save in another format, what would you recommend?
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#7 Tom Brady

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 03:19 PM

I think the solution is to save in another format, what would you recommend?


See my post here:
http://www.cinematog...ndpost&p=372768
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