8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 21, 2012 10:07 AM by Dave LaRonde

    Black levels and exporting



      Hey there-


      When I export anything through render cue using Lossless, Lossless with alpha or Custom Quicktime the black levels of the rendered file are 5-10 units high regardless of the program that I use to open it. I'm exporting to a local hard drive and not a server.   I'm using After Effects CS6 and Final Cut Pro 7.0.3 on a Mac.  The export settings in After Effects are the same as others in my office and no one else seems to have this problem.


      Thanks for your time.

        • 1. Re: Black levels and exporting
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          What exactly does "5-10" units high mean? How do you actually verify? How are the gain/ pedestal/ Gamma set in your apps and how is your monitor calibrated. Sounds like you eitehr have miscalibrated your monitor or are using "broadcast safe levels" somewhere...



          • 2. Re: Black levels and exporting
            Todd_Kopriva Level 8

            What codec are you exporting to?


            Are you using color management?

            • 3. Re: Black levels and exporting
              @WitsEnd Level 1


              By “units” I mean pedestal units on a wave form monitor.  Final Cut has a wave form/vector scope feature. The apps that I use do not have features to adjust gamma, video levels or pedestal.  I'm not using color management.  I've tried importing raw video (uncompressed Sony XPCAM) and Quicktime files from different sources, adding them to the timeline and exporting them without applying anything at all.  The codecs that the files are being exported to are animation and timecode.  As far as monitor calibration, everything with the exception of exported After Effects files looks normal in Final Cut Pro. (blacks have definition but are not washed out, whites and colors look normal).   Could it possibly have something to do with how the files are being imported?

              • 4. Re: Black levels and exporting
                Dave LaRonde Level 6

                I bet you're on Final Cut Pro, right?  There's a setting in FCP that tells the app to use a certain gamma setting.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that yours isn't set properly, and when it is, things will be just fine.


                You could also run a test: render out a short quicktime in the codec of your choice, but don't use any footage: just a black solid with rgb of 0-0-0.  See what you get.

                • 5. Re: Black levels and exporting
                  @WitsEnd Level 1

                  I did as you said...the result is a file that is the same as the black on a Final Cut Pro timeline.

                  • 6. Re: Black levels and exporting
                    Dave LaRonde Level 6

                    FCP has something of a built-in Proc Amp that fixes video levels that are too high or too low.  I bet if you made a test movie in AE where black is 16-16-16 (8-bit color), the resulting file is still black in FCP. 


                    16-16-16 black is the same as 7.5 IRE units, which is where black hits on a waveform monitor.  White hits at 234-234-234.

                    • 7. Re: Black levels and exporting
                      @WitsEnd Level 1

                      O.K...that makes sense.  As I said in one of the earlier posts, my machine is the only one out of 4 in my office with this occurance. Do you know how I can access the Pro Amp  and how to reset the gamma properly? 

                      • 8. Re: Black levels and exporting
                        Dave LaRonde Level 6

                        That's a question for the Creative COW's Final Cut Pro forum.  You could name your post something like, "How do I change FCP's Gamma Settings?"