11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2019 7:10 PM by R Neil Haugen

    Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem

    josho16037086 Level 1

      Hi all,


      I know others have long been experiencing this same problem, but all of the other forums on this topic that I've been able to find haven't resolved or acutely described the problem, and the discussion always devolves into lengthy discussions with solutions that ultimately don't fix the issue, so I hope this doesn't come off as a redundant post.


      The problem: Like many other posters, when I export from Premiere--even when I export lossless ProRes 422 HQ--I have major color shifting / desaturation / other color issues in my end product, and this is consistent across Mac/PCs, whether I have the latest version of Premiere or of my OS, etc.


      Yes, I know I can open my lossless file in VLC instead of Quicktime and my color will be accurate/preserved, but that's because VLC matches your source color on the back end. YouTube, Vimeo, & Facebook--where I'll actually be publishing my videos--don't do that, and the color is radically shifted/desaturated etc. when I upload there, which is what really matters here. By my lights, all of this means that something in the export itself is to blame.


      Does anyone know what this issue is and how to fix it? And I want to be clear here--I'm viewing the color in both the export and the Premiere project window from the same monitor, so I don't understand how it can be a monitor calibration issue.


      I'm by no means a color or technical expert--I just recently began motion graphics and editing--but this just seems like a consistent issue with Premiere / Media Encoder not exporting with remote fidelity to what you see in your editing window. This has been an incredibly frustrating problem for well over a year. I'm hopeful it's just a togglable setting that I have on/off, but I'm worried that's not the case. If this is an issue that Adobe knows about and can admit to, even THAT would be helpful. At least then I can stop trying to find the magic setting in Premiere or Media Encoder that fixes my issue and start working around what I know to be an immovable issue.


      I hope someone from Adobe can chime in, since I know tons of other post-producers who are much more tech-savvy than I am who complain about the exact same problem, and they use wild work-arounds that only approximate a real solution to get by. Any thoughts on what to do would be really appreciated.

        • 1. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
          Jim_Simon Level 9

          "Variants of this question have been covered to death on this and every other color grading forum. The answer is always the same.  The only way to get a [proper] image you can trust is to run SDI [or HDMI] out to an accurately calibrated reference monitor.  Grading by viewing the image in the GUI just doesn't work."  - Jamie LeJeune


          B&H Photo Video

          • 2. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
            josho16037086 Level 1

            I guess I just don't understand how this can be a monitor calibration issue. It isn't even about grading--raw, completely untouched footage will come out visibly more washed out on a lossless export.


            I'm telling you I can export video of a lossless prores with nothing but a solid color made in Premiere or AE as footage, and the resulting export color won't even come in the ballpark of the original hex code. I realize I could be misunderstanding something here but something definitely seems wrong.


            color test2.png

            (notice the brush scribbles within each rectangle)


            The rectangles here were my Premiere mattes and are supposed to match the hex codes listed. The brush strokes within those rectangles are made with the exact same hex codes, laid on top using PS CC. As you can see, the exported color visibly off.


            (NOTE: yes, these brush strokes were made on top of a screenshot from the export, which I then scribbled on top of with the correct color with a brush in PS. I realize screenshots won't capture exact color and so of course there will be contrast. So I did a test--I loaded up my hex codes on coolors.co, exported a PNG, screencapped that exported PNG, and then colored on top that palette with the correct color. Same exact process as before, only the color differentials weren't even distinguishable to the naked eye the way they are here.)


            Why is the same monitor displaying the same hex code so differently when I export from Premiere? I don't want to overcommit to being indignant here--I realize I'm not all that savvy about this stuff, but the idea that this is a monitor calibration issue still doesn't make any sense to me.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
              R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Yea, this is hard to wrap your head around. What you're expecting is that all apps/OS/hardware applies the same ... standard ... to showing video.


              This does NOT happen ... period.


              There aren't standards being equally applied across the apps & systems is the problem ... and there's no way to MAKE them outside of running a tight system where you set and control EVERYTHING to run by the same standards ... and then, it will only look that way on your system.


              And this situation is dealt with by every colorist out there ... period.


              PrPro runs internally according to the by-far most common pro standard, Rec.709, which is by requirement using the sRGB color space for the monitor and both the original camera transform function of the original Rec.709 standard and the updated monitor transform function added some years back in Bt.1886 ... all set within an assumed monitor gamma setting of 2.4.


              That's what it attempts to show within the monitors of PrPro on your monitor.


              This IS dependent on your monitor being set for video sRGB/gamma 2.4 with a puck/software calibration applied to the signal sent through the OS. For the new Macs with the P3 wide-gamut monitors, the added option of "enable display color management" is there to help PrPro try to outguess the OS and the monitor as far as showing the proper image within that monitor. Works fairly well on some systems, not so much on others.


              All exported material from PrPro will be created within the codec's specs ... which for the vast majority of codecs is video sRGB/gamma 2.4 and with the transforms applied. Any device and screen set to properly display video Rec.709 signals will handle it appropriately as long as the viewing apps also recognize the proper standards for video or the OS/video-card settings apply them to all apps.


              But on any system that is not set with a monitor displaying video sRGB/gamma 2.4 and calibrated to that, what is shown ... can be all over the place.


              There is no way ANY app can outguess and over-ride all hardware/OS/apps ... period.


              Colorists work on setups that involve expensive broadcast monitors as "confidence" program monitors that are then 'fed' from external boxes that have LUTs in them built specifically to calibrate that monitor to an amazingly tight standard to the Rec.709 standards ... and for those who work other 'spaces', say Rec.2020 or DolbyVision HDR, those also. The calibration of those monitors is done by gear costing more than your entire system and then some ... and most of them then hire someone with "real pro" gear to come in once/twice a year to set a new base calibration.


              Broadcast companies have QC "boxes" that all material is run through ... any saturation or brights excursions, too many super-blacks, it's rejected ... a very bad thing for a colorist's reputation.


              But even then ... as soon as material is broadcast "into the wild" ... there is no control on how it will be seen on any TV or computer screen out there, as there is normally no calibration, the screens are all set to "enhance the viewing experience" or lift shadows in dark sections ... and at times the screen is in bright lighting and other times a darkened room, which both drastically change how things look on that screen.


              So ... what do you do?


              Set up your system as close as possible to run by broadcast standards ... check your material on a full b-cast setup, either with a colorist you find/know or a local TV station, if you can talk them into running a short clip of yours through their QC machine and bringing it up on one of their systems.


              Then you know your material is as close to "pro" as you can make it.


              Then ... when you send it out into the wild, let it go ... and move on with life and work.


              Which is all the highest colorists can do, how can you do more? You have no control of the systems and apps people will use to view your stuff. As long as you produce pro-standard material, on any screen that it is viewed on, it will look like other pro-produced material on that screen.


              And ... it will never, ever, even in any parallel universe, look exactly like it does on your screen. Which is in reality a physical impossibility.



              • 4. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                Christian.Z Adobe Community Professional

                It is a monitor calibration issue. It happened to me before.
                I'll give my experience on my Mac and you can learn from it.


                My exports used to be extremely different from what i'm seeing in Premiere, aside from VLC.


                This simply is because Premiere's program monitors overrides any Display profile you set. try it for yourself, play around with display profiles, all colors will change except what you see in the program monitor in premiere.

                In other words, media players are affected by display profiles, and premiere's program monitor is not.

                The monitor color profile that worked best for me was Adobe RGB.

                • 5. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                  lukasc49621176 Level 1

                  Adobe Premier is an overpriced piece of sh** that can't even do the job correctly. I spend so much time on the phone with Adobe support team (not to mention that half of them don't even know what they doing) , on forums, etc.


                  Everyone is always saying, its the monitor, not Premiere, it Quick time use VLC, its this and that...!


                  Well, I have 4 different computers from MacBook pro 2017 (retina), iMac 2017 5K, 2013 iMac, Mac Pros with Eizo Screens. I calibrate my screens every month and I spend a lot of time and money to make sure everything is Calibrated properly.


                  As everyone id blaming Quick time for being a bad choice for viewing the footage, its actually not true as the VLC player is the layer. Just export a JPEG from you footage and open it in Photoshop or any software you want. You will see that the colour shift is done by Premiere and the colours are washed out, same as the Quick time player displays. 


                  All of this colour shift issues will appear in After Effect, Encoder......except Photoshop. Funny enough, if you export your videos in Photoshop, you ok! They will look exactly the same before and after export!


                  How come Colorista, Final Cut or Photoshop don't have any problems with the colours?  How come its just Adobe Video Programs?


                  Just to help some of you, when colour grading in Premiere Pro, change your monitor to sRGB. After export, change it back to RGB and the colours will look good.


                  Adobe should think about improving their software before increasing their prices as they do!

                  • 6. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                    Christian.Z Adobe Community Professional

                    I was hoping you carefully read the post just before yours.
                    Premiere's program monitor overrides any Color profile set by the OS. Period.
                    No Matter how many calibration you do, it will always be different.

                    You are so angry and breaking your head over nothing, because the moment your video is viewed on another device/monitor, all your hard work with calibration and nailing the colors right is washed down the drain. It's not your fault, it's not Adobe's fault, even if you color using DaVinci it will not matter because your colors are NEVER going to be seen the way you intend them to be seen. Unless you are editing a high-budget full feature that will be displayed in Theatres, than that's a different story.


                    That being said, go ahead and import the exported video to Premiere and compare it with the original. IF there is a CONSIDERABLE difference, than come back to us with full details of how you are exporting (Full system specs, storage configuration, PP version, Export settings, etc.) So we can trouble shoot and help you out.

                    • 7. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                      R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      I work with a number of colorists who do long-form work. So ... actually ... even for theatrical release, what they saw on their screen and what is seen in the theatre ... always varies, sometimes ... quite often ... markedly.


                      In multiplex theatres, room-to-room can be remarkably different.


                      The average Joe or Jonette doesn't see this, as our eyes are such marvelous relative instruments ... but the person that did the grade sees it.


                      Other than that, you're quite correct ... no matter the gear, no matter the calibration setup, you can't get two monitors in the same suite/viewing environment to perfectly match.


                      So ... one needs to set up to produce to standards, then let it go and get on with life. And this means knowing about what standards you need to produce to BEFORE you buy the gear, and knowing if it can be used to produce to standards ... if so, under what setup circumstances.


                      Anything else is just ... um ... dissing in your beer.



                      • 8. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                        Jim_Simon Level 9

                        In multiplex theatres, room-to-room can be remarkably different.


                        That's what THX is for.

                        • 9. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                          R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Yea ... um ... concept is great, implementation and up-keep of the rooms as bulbs change & whatnot maybe isn't perfect ... ahem.

                          • 10. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                            Jim_Simon Level 9

                            It does need upkeep.


                            Unfortunately, I haven't any such theaters in my area for eyes on review.

                            • 11. Re: Major color shift on export in Premiere, not a Quicktime problem
                              R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Most of the colorists I know look at theaters being 'calibrated' to THX or anything else as a marketing ploy ...  it's a great concept they'll admit, and really some theaters and/or chains take it something sort of seriously ... but most theaters ... hey, it looks ok, right? I mean, give your eyes a couple minutes, you'll adjust ...


                              I know our local, which is actually in general not too bad ... can still vary a bit room to room. Now I doubt that 10 other patrons going in there can tell ... because really, our eyes are such relative demons aren't they?