For the past year I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure out this apparently age old dilemma: when I import into Premiere, my footage gets a boost in color/saturation/depth, and when I export from Premiere, my beautifully color graded film is stripped of this in-app boost and reverts back to being washed out. Blacks aren't as black, whites are blown out, and overall color is just generally desaturated and lacking depth. I seem to lose quality in export, as the washed-out-ness makes my once sharp film look super muddy or fuzzy. I try to overcompensate with colors and shadows within Premiere so that when I export the colors might turn out semi-normal, but it makes me nervous to do that as I don't know how each varying device will interpret my overly color graded film. I refer to this issue I experience within Premiere as the dreaded "Premiere Boost" that I never asked for but can't make go away.
I've done days and days of research on why this happens over the months. This is what I know and what I experience.
- When I import my flat footage into Premiere, Premiere automatically seems to add a boost of color and sharpness before I even make any edits to it. When I export the color graded film from Premiere, it loses that extra punch and goes back to a desaturated, super sad, super ugly film, and I subsequently cry. If I were to reimport that newly exported film back into Premiere, it would automatically boost color and brighten up again. I understand that the issue is not with my footage or with the player, but rather Premiere offering a wider color range than all other platforms.
- I completely understand that if I were to watch the finished exported film in VLC, the colors would display properly because Premiere and VLC use the same color range. HOWEVER, about 99.9% of my clients are going to open this file up in Quicktime, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or Instagram, not VLC, and ALL of those players and platforms play the film super washed out. Opening the film in VLC instead of QuickTime doesn't solve the problem, it just applies the "mask" that Premiere seems to add within the editing software.
- I've tried using Creative Cow's "Fix My YouTube" LUT, and unfortunately it doesn't solve my problem in the least. I so, so wish it did.
- I have a SpyderPro Color Calibrator and recalibrate my 2017 iMac every month. I understand that every device will interpret footage/color a little bit different, HOWEVER the loss in color and depth in my films is extremely radical no matter which device/platform/player I run the color graded film on. These differences are not minute, they are massive, and it's evident on every device/platform/player though, yes, I will agree that every device seems to have its own take on color interpretation. (Example: My films look more orange when played on my Motorola Moto E4, but more green on an iPhone. This is not the color issue I am concerned with; I'm concerned with a severe loss in color, depth, saturation that happens between Premiere and all other platforms. Refer to the screenshots!) I also understand that the only way to experience the "true color" of a graded film is to evaluate it externally on fancy equipment that I forget the name of through a fancy monitor/tv that I forget the name of with a fancy cord that I forget the name of. However, again, my clients will never be viewing their films from me on a professional TV/monitor or with the appropriate equipment. They're watching this on their phones, iPads, laptops, etc. I not concerned with being able to see the "professional trueness" of color as my clients won't have the resources to view that; I am concerned with eliminating/controlling the boost in color/saturation/depth that automatically applies itself when you import a video into Premiere.
- I edit in Premiere Pro over Apple-native Final Cut because I initially learned the Adobe Suite as a graphic design major in college, and I simply knew the layout and lingo best. I've tried attempting Final Cut and it's like a whole new language to me. Should Apple users ONLY be using Final Cut? If I want to use Premiere, should I build a PC?
- I have tried adjusting my iMac's Display Profile Color setting (the original iMac setting, Apple RGB, Rec 709, etc) and they never effect the color within Premiere, only the colors surrounding it (i.e. my desktop, my QuickTime videos, etc. Somehow the colors within Premiere still remain the same.)
- It was my understanding that Premiere 2019 was going to allow for more color management in the update. I have checked the "Enable Display Color Management" box checked in "Preferences > General", but this only seems to further darken and add depth to my Premiere image, making the washed out export even more drastic of a difference. I'm not sure whether or not I should be using this feature, but other Premiere experts seems to believe this would help with in-app Color Management. Should I be doing this? How can I know if my computer handles GPU Acceleration?
- I've noticed if I overcompensate with color grading, it washes out in export, but if I've overcompensated with the colors enough it will still look relatively okay for the internet. If I burn a DVD with the same file, the DVD actually takes on the in-Premiere color interpretation and will show all of my over compensation, as for whatever reason the DVD interprets the colors the same as Premiere does. Now I find myself making a "Premiere happy" version to burn DVDs, and an overly saturated version for the internet so that after the "Premiere boost" is stripped in export it still looks relatively colorful and deep.
- I've read other forums that say people in the professional film industry experience this. How in the world do they work around it? Surely they are not blindly color editing and waiting to see what comes out in the export. I feel so helpless and like I have no control over my own film
- Is this an issue of a poor graphics card? I know non-Mac users seem to mostly have Nvidia graphics card, and I have Radeon Pro as that's Apples default.
- No other videographers I have talked to have experienced this issue themselves. I see lots of people discussing it on the internet, but in my day to day life all the videographers I am in contact with are completely baffled when I share this issue as none of them have ever experienced it before. I am so confused as to why I'm the only one who wrestles with this (minus all you fine folks who share about it on the internet).
My question is, for those of you who experience this drastic shift in color with Premiere and wrestle with it, what is your work around? Is there a way to adjust the color management within Premiere so that my footage doesn't get a color boost when I import it, and therefore a mandatory desaturation when I export it? Is it a fluke combination of Adobe Premiere + 2017 Apple + Sony that creates this drastic color shift within Premiere? I have other friends who shoot Sony and edit in Premiere on a Mac and don't experience this issue, but their Mac's aren't as new as mine. I know Sony is notorious for having some color issues in post. Would it make a difference if I shot Canon or Panasonic? Surely not because the color shift happens only within Premiere. I just want to know how to be able to "turn this color shift off" in Premiere so that I can see the true colors I am editing and not be blindly overcompensating and then completely surprised during export.
I appreciate any and all help. I know that some of my post came off a little sassy or frustrated; I've been experiencing this issue since September of 2017 and have not been able to come to any kind of compromise or solution. It makes me dread color grading because I know it's all for naught and my film will look yucky when I export it. Please, for those who have wrestled with this and found a valid solution, offer any advice you may have. I'm at my wit's end.
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I edit on a 2017 iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch.
4.2 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor
64 GB RAM, 2400 MHz DDR4
Radeon Pro 580 8192 MB Graphics Card
I edit in Premiere Pro CC 2019 v 13.0 (Build 225)
I edit in Premiere Pro over Apple-native Final Cut because I initially learned the Adobe Suite as a graphic design major in college, and I simply knew the layout and lingo best. I've tried attempting Final Cut and it's like a whole new language to me. Should Apple users ONLY be using Final Cut? If I want to use Premiere, should I build a PC?
I shoot Sony, both the A6300 and the A7siii.
I typically shoot on a flat profile (Matt Johnson's "Flat Matt"): PP8 , Black Level 0, Gamma Cine4, Color Mode S-Gamut3.Cine, Saturation 0, Detail -7.
This isn't my proudest footage as I was shooting a lot of 120fps on a Sony Four-Thirds A6300 with an f/4 lens, which I realize is a recipe for quality disaster. Forgive the fact that the footage is lacking top-notch image clarity and more grainy than I would like
^ When the "Premiere Boost" is removed in export, I lose all detail in the grass and experience great color loss. Shadows are lightened and the exported product essentially looks unedited. ^
^ When the "Premiere Boost" is removed in export, I've lost the depth in the shadows and skin tones. If I try and overcompensate with Premiere for a satisfying final product in Quicktime, I usually end up yucking up the colors and making the film look super amateur. ^
^ Flatness and loss of deep shadows in the cross and the groom's suit. Saturation has taken a dive in the women's orange shirt. ^
^ I'm just so weary. Whyyyyyyy does Premiere do this? ^
This differences may seem minute within the screenshots, but when this loss in color and depth is effecting the ENTIRETY of the film you really notice. Thoughts?