9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 29, 2013 3:08 PM by gsn1138

    Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?

    S.A. Hudson

      I need to burn a short to Blu-ray for a screening coming up, but every time Premiere/Encoder/Encore finishes the disc, the black levels look nothing like what I saw in my project timeline OR in Encore's preview window. The blacks are soft, grey, with way too much detail in them. Research has led me to believe that my issue has something to do with the color values of my project going from 0-255, but that Adobe Media Encoder will automatically shift that to 16-235. Or something. I don't know, all of this is new to me in the last 12 hours.

       

      I did miss around with the Levels effect in Premiere just to test this hypothesis, and when I bumped the black output levels from 0 to 16 in the timeline, it did replicate the difference that I was seeing in finished blu's.

       

      I've scoured all the settings in Premiere and Encore for a way to control the black levels going into/coming out of Encoder, but cannot find anything. Someone please tell me what stupid thing I overlooked so I can make this movie look right.

       

      For reference, my source video is:

      DSLR .mov footage, 1920x1080, 23.976

       

      And I'm exporting to Blu-ray using the following settings:

      MPEG 2 (also tried H.264, same result)

      NTSC

      CBR (movie's only 22 minutes), but I've also tried VBR 2pass at 40mbps max, 35mbs target, and 25mbps minimum.

      Profile: 5.0

      Max render quality, maximum bit depth, max everything.

       

      Running Premiere Pro Cs5.5

        • 1. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          You need to be watching the video on a properly calibrated TV, both during editing and after burning.  Until you do that, you cannot be sure you're seeing the signal accurately, and so you cannot even know if there's a problem.

          • 2. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
            S.A. Hudson Level 1

            Jim, thanks for the quick response. And yeah, I know. My monitor that I've done all of my post and grading on is as accurately calibrated as it can be, but it's still not a professional monitor. Here's what I have seen, however:

             

            1. On the LCD that I've done my edit, color grade, and now exporting on, my black levels look consistent to what's in my Premiere timeline when I export as a video file of any format, including the H.264 and MPEG2 that were transcoded to make the blu-ray. But once on a disc, sourced from those same files, the blacks are wrong.

             

            2. On my plasma, blacks are consistent between timeline, export files, and discs. When I run the disc off my Sony blu-ray player on that set, they look accurate - from the same disc that looked wrong on my LCD.

             

            3. Here's the thing that really concerns me and spawned all this: at the theater where the movie is screening tomorrow, the black levels are wrong. They look the same (that +16 value) as what I see when I play a disc on my LCD. And that's a Sony blu-ray player running into a 4k projector. The projectionist and I talked about the possibility of there being an upconversion issue going on, but since I'm seeing the same difference in black levels on the very monitor that I graded everything on, I'm ruling that out in the interest of time.

            • 3. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
              Jim_Simon Level 8

              it's still not a professional monitor.

               

              It doesn't necessarily have to be a professional monitor, it just needs to be a TV, not a computer monitor.  And it needs to get the signal from hardware, not a software player.

               

              So what is hooked up to what, and how?

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                S.A. Hudson Level 1

                The LCD I'm working on that's calibrated IS a TV. It's a Samsung 1080p with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, getting signal via HDMI straight from my video card (NVIDIA GeForce GT450).

                • 5. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                  Rallymax-forum Level 3

                  S.A. Hudson wrote:

                   

                  ...Research has led me to believe that my issue has something to do with the color values of my project going from 0-255, but that Adobe Media Encoder will automatically shift that to 16-235. Or something. I don't know, all of this is new to me in the last 12 hours.

                   

                  I did miss around with the Levels effect in Premiere just to test this hypothesis, and when I bumped the black output levels from 0 to 16 in the timeline, it did replicate the difference that I was seeing in finished blu's.

                   

                  I've scoured all the settings in Premiere and Encore for a way to control the black levels going into/coming out of Encoder, but cannot find anything. Someone please tell me what stupid thing I overlooked so I can make this movie look right.

                   

                  For reference, my source video is:

                  DSLR .mov footage, 1920x1080, 23.976

                   

                  And I'm exporting to Blu-ray using the following settings:

                  MPEG 2 (also tried H.264, same result)

                  NTSC

                  CBR (movie's only 22 minutes), but I've also tried VBR 2pass at 40mbps max, 35mbs target, and 25mbps minimum.

                  Profile: 5.0

                  Max render quality, maximum bit depth, max everything.

                   

                  Running Premiere Pro Cs5.5

                   

                  You are correct. Depending on a host of technical factors (none of which are visible or controllable in the GUI) the raw footage that is sent from Premiere to AME for encode can be in the range 0-255 (PC) or 16-235 (TV). Rendering at Max Render Quality should have it come in as 16-235 always.

                   

                  If you encode for TV the encoder will scale the range down - making it less contrasty - ie what you're seeing) or simply clamp the values so that anything below 16 is clamped to 16 and above 235 is clamped to 235.

                   

                  You said that you have your TV connected to the PC via HDMI. Can you put the reference monitor on that display and confirm that the blacks are the same as the video seen inside PPro? If so your TV is configured correctly.

                   

                  Next use the 3 way color corrector (NOT "Levels" or "Brightness and Contrast" - they are clamped to the 16-235 range!!!!) to blow the image out from 16-235 to full range (check in the vectorscope or YCrCb waveform to confirm it's full range - ie WAY past the 100% squares in the vectorscope).

                  Check on the TV and it should not show the greater gammut. If it does it means that your TV is doing full-range.

                   

                  this is all a bit late for your showing but I hope it can help.

                   

                   

                  Anyhow off that tangent...

                  I would recommend you export a h.264 clip to a usb stick if your standard home-use blu-ray player has usb stick playback.

                  Put that stick in your blu-ray player or Samsung TV if it can do it too, and see if it'll play back with the right blacks.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                    straight from my video card (NVIDIA GeForce GT450).

                     

                    I don't have much experience with that kind of setup, but it could still be a problem.  It's possible the OS and graphics driver are still involved.  The goal is to get all parts of the 'computer' out of the chain, as those parts often can and do alter the signal.

                     

                    For example, when PP is not in use, do you see any part of the Desktop on the Samsung, or do you get nothing but black until you start up PP?

                    • 7. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                      Rallymax-forum Level 3

                      Jim Simon wrote:

                       

                      straight from my video card (NVIDIA GeForce GT450).

                       

                      I don't have much experience with that kind of setup, but it could still be a problem.  It's possible the OS and graphics driver are still involved.  The goal is to get all parts of the 'computer' out of the chain, as those parts often can and do alter the signal.

                       

                      For example, when PP is not in use, do you see any part of the Desktop on the Samsung, or do you get nothing but black until you start up PP?

                      yes I totally agree that direct PC to the Samsung is not the same as a bluray player to it.

                      I wouldn't be surprised if the PC is sending full-range and the TV autodetects that and shows it full range.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                        S.A. Hudson Level 1

                        You were right about that. The settings in the graphics card drive (which apparently I set manually) had the card using its own settings for desktop and most applications (like Premiere), but defaulting to a program's default settings for certain video players (namely only Power DVD). I'm now seeing contrast values consistently between PP and blu playback on the machine, although there is still a (much more subtle) issue of contrast and gamma when I burn to blu. Will try some of the above suggestions and post back. Thanks guys.

                        • 9. Re: Encoding to Blu-ray is destroying my black levels - what am I doing wrong?
                          gsn1138

                          I just experienced that myself.

                           

                          And I found out that it was my graphics card that was at fault, not Premiere.

                           

                          I found two solutions to the problem:

                           

                          In VLC (which I played the file from) I went to Tools | Preferences | Video  and disabled "Use hardware YUV->RGB conversion"

                           

                          Or I could go into the NVIDIA control panel, under "Adjust video color settings", "How do you make color adjustments", I chose "With NVIDIA settings", clicked the "Advanced" tab, and set the dynamic range to Full.

                          1 person found this helpful