9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 4, 2012 4:18 PM by josephs51576386

    how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...

    ronfya Level 1

      Hello there,

       

      Sorry for this already too much discussed question but after reading tons of material, I still haven't found a satisfying answer.

       

      How do you guys export a h.264 video from Premiere such that it displays in a consistent way from a tonal point of view in the Premiere Canvas and all players (VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...) and on Youtube and Vimeo ??

       

      Is it even possible ?

       

      You know I am talking about : the washed out look you have when viewing videos in Quicktime as opposed to VLC.

      The crushed blacks you can observe when you upload on the web or if you play the out of cam video directly in VLC for example.

      And even weirder : the different look of the same video between QTX & QT7 on some occasions !!!

       

      I don't know if this is because of a gamma issue or an issue from the difference between full range levels (0-255) and limited ragne levels (16-235). But still, I have plenty of tonal inconsistencies.

       

      My footage come from Canon DSLRs :

      • 7D, 5D2 (which are Rec. 601 color space if I am not mistaken)
      • 5D3 (which is Rec. 709 color space if I am not mistaken)

       

      I import them directly (no transcoding) into Premiere CS5.5 on a Mac with Snow Leopard (gamma 2.2).

       

      I then export through Adobe Media Encoder using the supplied h.264 preset, I also tried to export using x264 codec in a mov container, but nothing is consistent (I am specifically adressing  QT here)

       

      I am lost in a tonal maze. Does anybody have a simple receipe to fix this ? ... and optionally an explanation ? ... if there is one.

       

      THANK YOU SO MUCH.

        • 1. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
          Jim_Simon Level 8
          Is it even possible ?

           

          I don't believe it's any more possible than getting your DVD to display the same on every TV.  That's why you need an external reference monitor that displays the signal as accurately as possible.

          • 2. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
            ronfya Level 1

            Hi Jim,

             

            I totally agree that when producing video to look good on various pieces of hardware, one needs an external reference monitor in that case.

             

            But since my computer screen is calibrated with a Spyder3 tool, should it not display the same stuff as an external reference monitor ? Or should it not at least be a workable solution ?

             

            Furthermore, I am not adressing the question of different hardware.

            I am adressing the question where the same video is played on the same computer (and I am talking only about computers) and looks completely different or look the same when played on 2 players from the same company : QT7 and QTX.

             

            In QT7 there is a preference you can check or not which is called "enable Final Cut color compatibility".

             

            When "enable Final Cut color compatibility" is checked in QT7

            Premiere, VLC, QT7 and others players look the same but QTX is washed out

             

            When "enable Final Cut color compatibility" is not checked in QT7 (which is the default for QT7)

            Premiere, VLC and others players look the same but QT7 & QTX are washed out and look the same

             

            How the hell is that ?

             

            So let me rephrase my question from your point of view.

             

            When grading footage using a reference external monitor and then exporting your media, does that exact same media look the same from a tonal point of view in Premiere, QT7 & QTX & VLC (with enable Final Cut color compatibility NOT checked in QT7) ?? QTX is not washed out compared to Premiere ??

             

            Thank you so much and please excuse me for my possible harsh tone but this is pissing me off

            • 3. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              Not all players are the same. QuiRcktime has this well deserved name because of the gamma shift it applies. If your export is correct, only use good players, like VLC or MPC, and bypass QT and WMP. The latter two are just no good.

               

              A car is a car, but some are plain better than others. A BMW is a much better car than a Trabant, even though both are cars. The same with players. QT and WMP are comparable to a Trabant, VLC and MPC are comparable to a Beamer.

              • 4. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                ronfya Level 1

                QuiRcktime 

                Good one Harm.

                 

                The thing I am concerned about of course is that when I finish a movie and give a copy to my clients, they sometimes go back to me and ask : "Hey, what did you do wrong with the video ? It looks different on my player (Quicktime) than on the web (Youtube)"

                 

                So how do you address this ? I mean it is easier for them to believe I am the one screwing up, not Apple, since Hollywood DVDs look good on their computer and on Youtube trailers.

                 

                Thx

                • 5. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                  Your clients ought to know that even Hollywood DVD's use - frequently intentionally - different color grading to create the special effect they want to achieve, just look at CSI Miami versus Schindler's List versus House or 24. Even if they have used calibration software like Spyder3, and very few do actually calibrate their monitors, they get a picture as it was intended by the producer, often not what the true colors are. It is part of the game.

                   

                  For the rest, maybe you can use my analogy with the cars to explain them the quality differences between players.

                  • 6. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                    Jim_Simon Level 8
                    But since my computer screen is calibrated with a Spyder3 tool, should it not display the same stuff as an external reference monitor ? Or should it not at least be a workable solution ?

                     

                    Nope, because the software, display driver and even the operating system can and do affect the video signal.  That's why computer monitors and media players are not reliable for this type of thing.

                    • 7. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                      ronfya Level 1

                      Jim Simon wrote:

                       

                      But since my computer screen is calibrated with a Spyder3 tool, should it not display the same stuff as an external reference monitor ? Or should it not at least be a workable solution ?

                       

                      Nope, because the software and even the operating system can and do affect the video signal.  That's why computer monitors and media players are not reliable for this type of thing.

                      OK but then ... does that mean that when grading footage using a reference external monitor and then exporting your media, that exact same media look the same from a tonal point of view in Premiere, QT7 & QTX & VLC (with enable Final Cut color compatibility NOT checked in QT7) ??

                       

                      QTX is not washed out compared to Premiere ??

                       

                      Or is it more that the video still looks brighter in QTX but still acceptable ??

                      • 8. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                        Jim_Simon Level 8

                        There really is no standard for software players.  They may well look different and there's not much you can do about it.

                        • 9. Re: how to achieve consistent tonality for a h.264 video across Premiere, VLC, QT7, QTX, WMP, ...
                          josephs51576386 Level 3

                          You simply can't address it (fully).

                          Quicktime has tons of Gamma issues and if a pc's video card is set to 16-235 instead of full range then VLC will washout video as well.

                           

                          What I "THINK" Jim is trying to say is that when you use a broadcast grade monitor to check color or a YC-waveform/VectorScope or any scopes for that matter you can make sure that everything is accurate (meaning within correct range color wise). Which means that when people expose your video to other factors such as ... Quicktime which messes up the Gamma of the video often times, and VLC which in some cases with people who don't set their PC's/Mac's video cards up correctly or someone using WMP. Or simply someone watching it on a TV set which is not anywhere close to being calibrated it will still come out looking good anyways in MOST scenarios. IF you check everything on scopes/professional broadcast monitors.

                           

                          So for instance I work in a TV station and everything I do has to be broadcast legal.So we use scopes and a pro monitor at our edit bay so that we can see how stuff actually looks. Then when someone watches it OTA or on Cable or w/e and they have their TV setup with a ton of extra chroma (color) then in this case for example since I setup my color correctly to begin with it won't look over saturated. Also if someone has a bunch of brightness on their set it won't look bad either. (Unless the TV set is just totally screwed up in which case you can't fix it or plan for that anyways)

                           

                          But to attempt to answer your question directly. No it won't make it look the same on every player it will simply be much more likely to make it look much more acceptable.

                          (you can't control everything variable wise)

                           

                          http://wiki.videolan.org/VSG:Video:Color_nVidia

                           

                          http://community.avid.com/forums/p/101346/583706.aspx

                           

                           

                          Obviously though I can't speak for Jim I'm just assuming that's what he meant when he spoke about why you need a pro monitor etc... If I'm incorrect I apologize Jim