As a new Premiere CS6 user I'm a bit confused about the way it handles video levels when compared to Sony Vegas.
In Sony Vegas I'm used to 16 RGB being video black (0 IRE) and 235 RGB being video white (100 IRE). This is what I understand as studio levels which is the range most professional video cameras like my EX1 record in when properly exposed. During editing if I design a graphic either in Photoshop or Sony Vegas I input 16 RGB for pure black and 235 RGB for pure white. This graphic will display between 0-100IRE on the waveform monitor. I keep my entire color correction workflow within this range (16-235 RGB / 0-100 IRE) and the resulting videos look proper on youtube (since the youtube player stretches the video out to full RGB levels during playback) and DVDs since the player seems to also expect studio levels (16-235 RGB).
In Premiere however certain things appear to work differently. Video seems to be handled in the same way as in Sony Vegas. I came to this conclusion by comparing the same EX1 clip in both programs and it displayed identical on the waveform monitors. However when I create a graphic in Photoshop or using the Premiere titler or solid color I find that I must use 0 RGB to get 0 IRE and 255 RGB to get 100 IRE on the Premiere waveform monitor.
So my question is should I create a white graphic as 235,235,235 or 255,255,255? Is Premiere actually converting my graphics to legal video levels automatically or is it just showing up falsely in the waveform monitor? Are there any pitfalls I need to be aware during exporting to stay in the legal video range of 16-235 RGB?
Also will there be video level differences on output when using native YUV effects vs. RGB effects like Colorista and Looks?
Many thanks, Marc
Ok, I think I figured it out. When I bring a full range (0-255) RGB photo or graphic into Premiere it maps the image to studio levels (16-235) automatically. In Sony Vegas it does not so you end up with superwhites and superblacks and have to do it manually. In Sony Vegas even the default video background (if you fade to black) is superblack so you have to put a solid color and set it to 16,16,16 RGB in order to stay within the studio Levels legal range. You have to be really careful about levels or they will be illegal and cause problems downstream.
When I make a graphic in Premiere I no longer need to worry about the graphic being 16-235 (studio levels) as I do in Sony Vegas. Premiere considers black as 0 RGB and white as 255 RGB. On output everything will be studio levels. I tested an upload of a H264 file exported from Premiere which had a white background of 235,235,235 and it was not full white on youtube. If I do the same from Sony Vegas it would be fully white.
Hopefully this will help someone in the future who migrates over to Premiere from Vegas or vice versa. I prefer the way Premiere handles things.