Let me start by saying this is a QuickTime issue. I went to the COW to post this but amazingly enough they don't have a Apple QuickTime Forum. My thought was to then post it in COW's After Effects Forum but I figured I'd post it in THIS After Effects Forum since it's - in my opinion - more specialized.
On Windows Vista When I take an uncompressed movie rendered from After Effects and export it from QuickTime Player as an H264 movie the black, white and gamma levels are all messed up.
Here is a picture illustrating what I've done to test things.
- Uncompressed looks FINE
- H264 looks WASHED OUT.
- The H264 movie in After Effects looks - FINE!
- A single frame from exported from QuickTime Player from the washed out H264 movie looks - FINE!
I took a screen capture of the H264 movie in QuickTime Player into After Effects and was able to adjust it - by eye using Levels - until it looked like the Original Uncompressed movie again.
Output Black: -39
Before coming here I DID do some poking around, keywords "H264 washed out" and each post talked about Gamma and Tags but I 'think' my situation is different. One, I used tools that reportedly remove Gamma 'Tags' from QuickTime movies and each said, "No Tag Detected". Also, Gamma to me is what happens in BETWEEN black and white, not affecting the blacks or whites. Color sampling the darkest and lightest values of the screen capture suggested my blacks were now 24, 24, 24 and my whites were 234, 234, 234, almost (almost) as if they were 16-235 colors.
Anyone else experience this and possibly have a solution?
I just pulled my head out of the clouds and instead of COW I thought, let me find a QuickTime Forum ... on the APPLE site. So I posted it over there. Sorry to bug everyone here with a non-After Effects issue. If I hear anything from there I'll be sure to let you know what I find should others have this problem in the future.
Thanks for writing back and promising to post additional information.
We've been chasing QuickTime issues for a while now, and we think that we got them pretty much dealt with (for the current state of QuickTime, anyway) in After Effects CS5. What version of After Effects are you using?
There's information about QuickTime and gamma here.