The years old H264 gamma shift problem

New Here ,
Feb 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017

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On a mac, as many of us have seen, when you export an mp4 for vimeo or youtube using the H264 codec, the results are awful. The files look flat and desaturated. All that time spent doing color correction only to have a pretty terrible result.

We have been doing a lot of testing regarding this. Our exports look flat and lifeless. Did we need to use a LUT while exporting to compensate for this? What if we were then compensating for something that didn't look that way on other platforms?

Turns out, its definitely an adobe media encoder problem.

If you open your exported mp4 in a player like VLC. It looks fine. Same file in the quicktime player - awful. Well, anyone on a mac that is looking at youtube or vimeo sees the file like quicktime does - flat and lifeless from the gamma shift.

I'm not sure exactly how its happening but the files that media encoder creates, either send information to quicktime causing it to gamma shift or, more likely, doesn't have information that other H264 files created by other encoders have which tell quicktime the correct gamma.

It renders media encoder useless for rendering H264. We export ProRes and then use MPEG Streamclip to encode with H264.

Its a big waste of time to have to do this work around and its just crazy to me that this problem has existed for years and has never been addressed by Adobe. Maybe they want to point the finger at Apple and call it a quicktime problem but that's not helpful and its also obviously not the case when other encoders don't have the same issue.

Adobe, please finally fix this issue!

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