I have a video shot in 4K 30fps YUV in H264 format that I have color graded in After Effects. I need the output to be in H264 and Adobe Media Encoder kinda sucks for H264 as it introduces artifacts even when bitrates are in excess of 16mbps (according to many professionals and my own personal tests). Therefore, I intend to use Handbrake for final output. The trouble is that I am getting slightly washed out colors (blacks reduced a bit i guess) when going to lossless intermediate codecs. I tried the following just to eliminate any limitation of the codecs:
Colors preserved in following scenarios:
Adobe AE Project > Cineform YUV 10-bit
Adobe AE Project > H264 (AME)
Adobe AE Project > Lagarth RGB
Adobe AE Project > Huffyuv RGB
Adobe AE Project > Uncompressed 24 bit
Faded colors in following scenarios:
Adobe AE Project > Lagarth YUV2
Adobe AE Project > Lagarth RGB > H264 (Handbrake)
Adobe AE Project > Huffyuv RGB > H264 (Handbrake)
Adobe AE Project > Uncompressed 24 bit > H264 (Handbrake)
As you can see that despite the source being in YUV, lossless output to Lagarth YUV is screwing colors. Huffyuv will simply not let me force a YUV output and will stick to RGB. The only lossless way to keep the colors intact is Cineform YUV or Lagarth RGB or Huffyuv RGB (doesn't makes any sense since one of them is infact YUV!!!). An RGB to YUV output via handbrake also washes the color out. The only way that works for now to get H264 directly via AME but I can't understand any logic as to why the lossless codecs won't retain color in YUV when Cineform and H264 (via AME) are both YUV!?
Sorry, I can't be of much help because I use the AME for all of my rendering. It fits my workflow and I've never had a single complaint from a client about quality and I've never seen disturbing artifacts in my work. My color management always follows client requirements or my own standard workflow.
Maybe there are handbrake users out there that can help. Maybe you should try forums or support for that product.