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Color management workflow AE - VLC with H264

New Here ,
Jan 09, 2024 Jan 09, 2024

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Hello guys!

I am writing here because I have a doubt about how to set up a proper workflow in ae, to export a h264.

I enable the working color space as Rec709 gamma 2.4 because my final output will be an h264 1920x1080 which will be played on computer monitors. 

Is it correct? I mean for a file that is hd and will be played on computer monitors is rec709 2.4 a good choice? I am asking this because so far I know that h264 does not support embedded profiles, so no matter what I put in output color space it will always be rec 709 gamma 2.4 (right?)

Than I import my footages, mostly jpgs srgb-2.1, and do all my work and then render queue time: now if I render straight an mp4 with output color space the same as the working color space (Rec709 2.4) I've got correspondence, once I reimport in AE the mp4, between my comp and the mp4 but got slightly different result if the mp4 is played in vlc (brighter, perhaps gamma issue?).

I came to a workaround by rendering an mp4 from render queue but setting the output color space as srgb-2.1. Now I have correspondence between the viewport of my comp in AE and the file played in VLC. To have the same correspondence, once imported the mp4 in AE, I need to interpret the footage from rec709 2.4 to srgb-2.1 which to me make sense but I'd like to know your opinion.

All these stuff because I'd like to have an mp4 played on vlc that is 1:1 to what I see from my AE viewport. I know that if the mp4 is given to the client then what he sees is out of my control but I wanted to be sure that on my pc the things are consistent.

 

Whad do you think of this workflow?

 

Thank you very much for your time!

Mario

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LEGEND ,
Jan 10, 2024 Jan 10, 2024

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VLC is not color manged, so whatever you do doesn't really matter. You can only ever get it to look "correct" based on your own monitor profile, which VLC honors, but that's where it ends. Everything else would be a pointless academic discussion about color management and only matters if you hand off files to professional workflows with consistent CM. Do whatever works best for you.

 

Mylenium

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New Here ,
Jan 10, 2024 Jan 10, 2024

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Thank you mylenium!

So what should I set as working color space in AE if my goal is to deliver a mp4? rec709 gamma 2.4? than other professionals suggest to not render mp4 directly from AE but first export a prores and then put it in media encoder to get the final mp4. Is it a good workflow to get, at least on my machine, consistency in colors? does this question make sense?

thank you!

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LEGEND ,
Jan 10, 2024 Jan 10, 2024

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Community Expert ,
Jan 10, 2024 Jan 10, 2024

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If you are rendering Production Masters, they should always be 10-bit or better and frame-based. Pro-Rez is a very good choice for that. Using an 8-bit video as a production master render is asking for problems when you render h.264.  

 

When my delivery is going to be only h.264, and I'm delivering out of After Effects instead of editing the movie in Premiere Pro, I always send the comp directly to the Media Encoder and pick the H.264 preset that matches the delivery option, like YouTube 4K. The only exception is when the comp takes longer than a couple of seconds a frame to render., When render times are long, and there is any chance the render may fail, I find it is simpler to use the Render Queue. I have edited the Output Module presets for High Quality (default) and Hight Quality with Alpha (default for the Composition/Pre-render menu) to use ProRez - 10 bit and ProRez - 10 Bit, Straight Alpha because those are the industry standards for most production companies.

 

Hope this helps.

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2024 Jan 11, 2024

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Thank you Rick!it is helpful.. I think I solved my problem by changing vlc to mpc hc which does have color management. So now my output files from ae or me when watched in mpc hc match the viewport in ae.

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2024 Jan 11, 2024

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Thank you mylenium! I'll have another look! 

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