12 Replies Latest reply: Nov 13, 2013 6:24 PM by Shane Ross
texbrew Level 1 (0 points)

Can anyone tell me why I am getting a color shift in my reference movie?

Final Cut Pro 7
  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)

    Vagueness, thy name is Texbrew...  Not giving us much detail to go on here....but lemme guess.


    #49 - Quicktime movie lighter than what I see in FCP.


    Shane's Stock Answer #49 - Why is the Quicktime Movie I made much lighter than what I see in my timeline in FCP?


    Because it is designed to be bright enough to be seen on most monitors, some that might be too dark.  But, if you want to see the same image you see in your FCP timeline, just open Quicktime, and in the Quicktime Player's preferences window under the General tab you can choose to Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility.

  • texbrew Level 1 (0 points)

    Vague is my middle name...


    The video looks correct as I play the reference movie.  At one spot in the video, about 5 frames before an edit, the color brightened (not on the original footage in the Capture Scratch or my sequence). Then 7 seconds later, 20 frames before my next edit), the color darkens.  After watching further, the shift occurs about every 7 seconds.

  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)

    What is the codec of the footage you are editing? Can I guess again?  H.264/MP4?

  • texbrew Level 1 (0 points)

    Wonderful question...


    The footage/sequence is 1920x1080 | 29.97 fps | Apple ProRes 422.

    At this point, I was just exporting a reference video to later convert to H264.

  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)

    I'm 0-2.


    How about this.  Render out the entire sequence.  Export a Quicktime Movie, self contained.  Bring that into Compressor...convert to H.264.  How does that work?

  • texbrew Level 1 (0 points)



    The self-contained movie did not present with any of the color glitches.  Making the h264 version in Compressor now.

  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)

    Cool. A colleague had the same issue, exporting self contained vs ref movies seemed to solve that.

  • lobstr Level 1 (0 points)

    I just started noticing this same problem. It's on the self-contained exports as well.  What's strange is that if I bring that exported movie back into FCP, the color/brightness shifting doesn't happen.  I only see it when played in Quicktime -- and no, it isn't just a performance issue, b/c the shifting is visible on actual frames (I can "scrub" back and forth and it's the same frames).  Anyone else encounter this?

  • Studio X Level 7 (27,030 points)

    If you are using Quicktime X, try using QT7.



  • ursus13 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey Shane,


    I downloaded a movie trailer from AppleTrailers (The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, etc.) If I play the trailer in QuickTime and in MPEG Streamclip at the same time, and do a side-by-side comparison, I can clearly see the gamma/brightness difference between the two.


    What's going on here? Does QT have some inherent quality that causes it to play back more brightly? And, most importantly: if one is creating content destined for internet and computer playback, how can one best deal with this inconsistentcy?






    PS - I assume you're the same Shane that's so helpful on Creative Cow...?

  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)

    I highly doubt that the VIEWER in MPEG STREAMCLIP is designed to be color accurate. It's just there to show you what you are doing, find the parts of the video you want. Remember, it's freeware.


    >most importantly: if one is creating content destined for internet and computer playback, how can one best deal with this inconsistentcy?


    We deal with this in TV all the time. How can I make sure that what I color correct and grade will look good on everyone's TVs?  Because there are many things outside of my control. 


    1) Compression. I output the show to tape, or to a digital file. That is then converted to a broadcast MPEG file, where some quality is lost. Then it is pushed out of a satellite (compressed again) and picked up by various cable and satellite TV companies, who then deliver that to your home (compression again).


    2) When it gets there...it's playing back on someone's TV. WHO KNOWS how well that TV has been calibrated or set up. I even snicker when I say "Calibrated" because 99% of the people who buy TVs use them straight out of the box, zero settings adjusted.  And then the model of TV they have will also determine what the show will look like.  To see this in action, walk into BEST BUY or TARGET or other store that sells TVs. They will have them all playing the same show so you can tell which one you like best.  Notice that NOT ONE of those TVs is showing the same quality image....it's all different. 


    Now let's transition this to computers.  You have people watching your content on various brands of computer displays, playing back on YouTube or Vimeo (two different styles of compression) in any number of playback qualities...depending on their connection.  The same video, played on YouTube at 360p will not have the same colors as the 720p version, or what you see on Vimeo at 480p.  MANY MANY variables.


    All you can do is make sure that your equipment is properly calibrated, and it looks good there. That is the only equipment you have control over.  WHen it comes to me delivering TV shows, I have an IO card that sends the signal to a calibrated broadcast monitor...I use that to color my shows.  I have no control over how it is compressed, transmitted, and viewed after that. You can bet your bottom dollar it looks NOTHING like it did on that monitor in my bay. 


    If you saw that Dark Knight Rises or Skyfall trailer on the system used to color correct it, and compared it to the QT you downloaded from Apple...you'd see a big difference. The colors would look different, and be washed out.  The best you can do is make it look good on your end.  And note, the FCP VIEWER and CANVAS are not color accurate either. 


    Yes, I am the same Shane from the Cow. I am everywhere.

  • Shane Ross Level 8 (42,795 points)