Footage appears darker after imported into Premiere Pro

Participant ,
Feb 26, 2019 Feb 26, 2019

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Pictured below are two screenshots of the exact same clip. On the left is how the footage looks straight out of camera. On the right is the clip imported into and then exported out of Premiere Pro (with no effects applied). Why does the right one look so much darker?

Footage was shot on Canon EOS R in 1080P (All-I) format

This is Premiere version 13.0.3 on Mac OS Mojave.

Interestingly, in the little preview in the project window, it looks like normal colors, but after I drag it into the timeline, it gets darker.

Darker.jpg

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Employee , Apr 30, 2019 Apr 30, 2019

NGermanbenjaminstookedominiques39593537

A document has been compiled with all the information on this issue! Check it out here:

"Why does my footage look darker in Premiere?" Color Q&A

Some of the screenshots and data provided by this thread has made it into the doc! Hope it's helpful.

-Caroline

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New Here ,
Aug 20, 2021 Aug 20, 2021

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Preferens > General > Display color managment – On.

Make an Adjustment layer. Lumetri Color, see picture.

OR

Set your Canon camera to Adobe RGB.

 

Skärmavbild 2021-08-20 kl. 10.42.18.png

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New Here ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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Found a simpler solution: Effects > Image Control > Gamma Correction – Set to 8.

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Guide ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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I know this is an old thread but how do you know what the video looks like straight out of the Camera? No camera was designed for playback on an iMac using Quicktime or a Dell laptop using OBS. Digital Cameras have HDMI ports to output to broadcast compliant hardware (your TV).  Things must be setup 100% correct with any NLE. The video below might be helpful. As Neil stated the color space issues seem to be more problematic with iMacs. 

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New Here ,
Sep 09, 2021 Sep 09, 2021

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I just had the same problem with footage from different cameras. I then tried different computers with the same footage and the problem was gone: footage looked the same as the original after export from premiere. Then I was shure my computer was the problem (working on an iMac Pro). I deinstalled premiere (and all settings), made the latest update (Big Sur 11.5.2), reinstalled premiere and now the problem is also gone on my computer.

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Explorer ,
Nov 02, 2021 Nov 02, 2021

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GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS! I'm literally jumping for joy because I FINALLY got this fixed!!

 

Ok check this out -- so the most condemning piece of evidence to me was shared by Cosmin Nicoara who said,  
"The only place in Premiere where the footage does not look with its shadows crushed, saturation applied is in the large thumbnail view inside the project folder. But once I hover my mouse over the footage - it suddenly changes and has contrast added. "

 

Wow, what a find. Go ahead and try that and see for yourself. This is my before and after hover pics:

BEFORE HOVER.pngAFTER HOVER.png

 

Left photo is before I mouse hover over it. The right photo is after I hover over it. Just look at how the top of grey squares in the bg get crushed out after the hover.

 

The crushed photo on the right is what shows up in the source window and the timeline. This hover difference tells you that Premiere imported it properly, but then is doing something weird after the fact.

 

NOTE: Some ppl have rightly suggested that unchecking "Display Color Management" can help.  Yes, it will a bit, and I did that. But, in my case it only got my footage to the "After Hover" pic above, and that's NOT how I shot it.

 

Don't let anyone tell you that this particular issue is a monitor or a Quicktime color thing. It's not. I know that Apple has it's quirky color protocal wars going on, etc etc. But in this case, just no. 

 

The other editor that I work with -- let's make this explicitly clear -- has the same exact version of Premiere Pro and the same exact monitor as me -- and he does NOT have this darkening problem. We were lucky to be able to compare apples to apples there and rule out the monitor and color issue. So I knew it must be something weird going on in just my Premiere.

 

I figured it could be 3 possibilites:

  1.  He was running Big Sur, and I was running Catalina. Maybe the OS would make a difference?
  2.  He has a 2020 Macbook Pro, and I have a 2019 Mac Pro. Maybe Premiere would act differently with the different hardware?
  3.  Maybe there is some tiny setting that is different in out PP prefs that I overlooked.

 

What I did. (Drumroll pls guys 😂, this is breakthrough and I hope it helps you!! :party_popper:)

 

With high hopes I installed Monterey and it did... absolutely nothing. And not going to lie, I was tempted to just be dejected. But then I mustered some tenacity and started poring through every. single. setting. in Premiere Pro preferences pane.

 

And that's when I saw it.

 

FIX FIX FIX FIX FIX!!!.png

 

I knew this had potential, because it affects how the media is interpreted. The "Enable hardware accelerated decoding" box was checked, which meant there was a possibility that Adobe was "decoding" my footage via my hardware. So I UNchecked it. Restarted Premiere.

 

Voila'!!! Instantly Fixed.

 

FINAL.png

 

You can see all of the grey squares everywhere.

 

The irony? My other editor with the MBP has it checked.

My theory? I think the way Premiere Pro handles the hardware accelerated decoding in my MP is different than in his MBP.

Do I know for sure? Nope. But at least my footage looks like I shot it. 

And boy I hope and literally pray that this post helps at least some of you stuck in this dark morass -- because this one was a beast of a problem! Gl and Godspeed.

 

Cheers!

 

 

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Explorer ,
Nov 02, 2021 Nov 02, 2021

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Interesting - at first I thought you didn't read the first post under your initial post lol.

But there is the same checkbox in both GENERAL and MEDIA?!

Curios, did you happen to uncheck the one in GENERAL as well?


Crazy - glad you figured it out and you've surely helped me and the rest of the Premiere community!

I'm trying to figure out a similar issue with After Effects...

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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@creggor -- Happy New Year, and sorry for just getting back to you!

Yes, I unchecked both Display Color Management in General and Enable Hardware Accelerated Decoding in Media.

 

They are different boxes, the first uses the GPU and the second uses the CPU (as I understand it as of now).

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New Here ,
Jan 07, 2022 Jan 07, 2022

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Hi everyone, 

 

I don't know if anyone is still having this issue, but I did and I managed to correct it by taking footage from another setting (i.e. not filmed on the same device) and putting that footage in my timeline first. It corrected the color on my new footage immediately. Hope it'll work for you too!

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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I just don't get it... From one day to the next, out of the blue. Premiere for me all imported images - be it videos, or pictures etc. incredibly changes. I don't know if it's the same problem but this is what's happening.
All the stuff imported into PP is now with giant contrast and low gamma... So the image is dark as f*, almost unreadable, and downright repulsive. I've tried everything I've found in this thread and nothing has helped. Not even reinstalling PP, resetting the settings, updating the graphics drivers...nothing. This problem is now in any project I open, old or new, everything is dark and unusable. The funny thing then is that while everything looks absolutely horrible in PP, it doesn't in anything else. If I subsequently export even such a scary image, it looks again as it did before "something happened" in PP (I'm talking about exporting older projects that I can compare). So I suspect that there is simply a bug somewhere in the way PP shows the images/videos but I have no idea where... Can anyone think of anything? Thanks for help! 

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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Hi vojtěchp,

Sorry. We need more info on your system and media. If not, that makes it difficult to troubleshoot. It sounds like you may have HDR footage in some projects and when you updated. Which camera is the footage from? That may help us understand what happened. 

 

Thanks,
Kevin

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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This will be an important clue -- go into the project panel and make the thumbnails large.

 

Now, look at a thumbnail of one of your video clips.

 

Does it look horribly dark or normal? Now, hover the mouse arrow over it and then off of it. Does the thumbnail change contrast?

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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@vojtěchp26149955 -- and then see my Nov 02, 2021 post. I hope it helps you as much as it did me. Because Premiere had become unusable as it was.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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The Matt Johnson solution is not the answer here.

 

He lost me at “colour grade and edit your footage as normal”.

 

The issue is that we can’t do that, it’s oversaturated and has too much contrast on the time line! 

 

It doesn’t just appear over saturated and too contrasty at export.

 

As much as I applaud he effort, Matt didn’t really understand the problem.

 

Using a corrective LUT at export??

 

Sorry to be a moaner, but this is incredibly lame, unsure how it got approved as the correct answer.

 

The footage needs to be much closer to how it looks in camera and in every other application 

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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Agreed. Did you see my post on Nov 02, 2021 above? I tried EVERYTHING and finally found a solution that actually worked.

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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Attention Adobe employees. Please UNmark that "correct answer". It is not the correct answer.

 

This is a bug that will essentially render Premiere useless until fixed.

 

By keeping that as the correct answer you are doing a disservice to all Premiere users, and especially for pros who are counting on it in their workflow. 

 

This is no joke. I literally had to search for weeks for solutions, because my footage in the timeline was so dark it was useless.

 

See my Nov 02, 2021 post please.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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You are posting three years later about an entirely different issue, and demanding an old answer is removed?

 

Bizarre.

 

Yes, I've seen your post from November about unchecking 'use hardware acceleration' ... and what that switch does is simply look to see if your CPU has H.264 hardware encoding bits in it. Some do, many don't. If so, and you turn that "on", the CPU does the encoding/decoding. NOT Premiere!

 

So your guess there was completely backwards. It wasn't that Premiere was doing something wrong with the clip, it was that the CPU's H.264 hardware encoder was doing something wrong. The proof? Turn off the hardware encoding, and the software encoding is done by ... Premiere. Totally.

 

The hardware encoding process is a very frustrating thing, truthfully.

 

IF your computer has a CPU with that capability it can probably encode/decode faster. However, quite frequently, the result is not as fine as software encoding. When there's say four times difference in the time of the encoding, and you can't really see a difference, then hardware is fine.

 

But if it's not giving you good quality results, then you need to stay with software. Not because Premiere is not working properly, but because the particular encoding done by your CPU isn't ... pretty.

 

 

Neil

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Explorer ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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Neil,


Nothing is bizarre about trying to help people who still are running into the same crucial problem years later. 


Maybe you're right. Maybe checking 'use hardware acceleration' means the blame could be layed at the feet of the CPU. But many don't care why it happens, they need a solution so they can complete their work and feed their families.

 

They need to be pointed to the right solution, thus my request for Adobe to correct their error.

 

Adobe propping up the solution "to add a LUT" after export is just plain wrong. 

You promoted the solution was color science and monitors. I read all of your posts. Thoroughly. Devoured them actually.

 

You waxed eloquent on went on and on about calibrating monitors and such.

 

I know you are a super smart person, that is clear. I respect your depth of knowledge. I am not trying to start a flame war.

 

But I am here to say that you were wrong, Adobe's solution was wrong, and I'm trying to set the record straight.

 

It's not about color science, it's not about calibrating monitors, and it's not about adding LUTs.


I have a 2019 Mac Pro that is maxed out. The only thing bizarre would be to explain why that CPU couldn't handle that box being checked.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022

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The point here is that there are completely different issues, and you are conflating them. The necessary part of all troubleshooting is to identify specific things and then the specific things that cause them. Including sussing out which similar things have different causes. That's what this forum is for, really.

 

But your image problem has nothing whatever to do with the causes that led to this thread. Nothing. Simply because they both may involve a darker image doesn't tie them together.

 

And the solution for the problem you're having, has nothing to do with what alleviates the problems that this thread dealt with.

 

Last, your suggestion that somehow Adobe's software should be able to go in and rebuild a physical construct inside your CPU is ... well, I can't even understand it. That 'hardware encoding' is done by a PHYSICAL device built into the CPU. I can't even understand thinking that somehow Adobe ... or anyone's ... software, can rebuild a CPU's built-in hardware.

 

Adobe can't correct 'their error' because they didn't design nor build that CPU of yours. Which is where the error lies, unfortunately. And a ton of editors have realized for some time that on most systems, hardware H.264 encodes can be fast, but aren't that pretty. If they need a high-quality H.264 encode, they always go to software.

 

Or for many, export from Premiere in maybe ProRes422, then take that file  into HandBrake, ShutterEncoder, or ffmpeg, to get a more nuanced but still software controlled H.264 file.

 

That's reality. Hardware encoding via the CPU is rarely as good a quality as a well setup software H.264 encoding. And that's not an Adobe thing, I work in Resolve daily. Same thing there.

 

Neil

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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Hey there JPerk,
I think I see the issue. You have a Mac Pro with Xeon CPUs that do not support hardware encoding or decoding since there is no quick sync support. Intel-based Macs do have this support. So that is the underlying reason why your experience might be different from other Mac users. Could that be the case?

 

Thanks,
Kevin

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Explorer ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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@Kevin-Monahan, that sounds amazingly plausible. Thank you for sharing that.

 

It is strange that ir started happening over 12 months after I started using my 2019 Mac Pro, but maybe I switched it on unknowingly at some point along the way.


Another possibility is I upgraded to a newer version of Premiere which had the hardware encoding as a new setting. Did that setting start in Premiere Pro 2020 or 2021 by chance.


My suggestions would be for the devs to put something in parentheses next to that setting to eliminate confusion.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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Hey man, to be honest, I've just fired up my new 2021 M1 Macbook Pro and, to be honest, for the first time in a long time, the issue is not there. Great.

 

So therefore also, in the large icon, there is not difference in the image, pen hover or not.

 

That said, I generally work on a 2017 Imac and I'm sure it still occurs there.

 

This little Macbook is smashing the Imac  performance wise, in every other way, so this is not surprising!

 

I'll do another test and come back

 

My best option, prior, had been to shoot on an A7S3, on a flat SLog profile. So the image wasn't TOO bad in Premier, then reduce contrast on the time line, knowing that the huge files the a7s3 would let me do that without ruining the image, as they're 10bit or whatever.

 

However, with other lesser Sony mirrorless cameras, I could not do this.

 

Thanks for posting a practical solution and not just trying to dazzle everyone with information, which sometimes happens here.

 

Dave

 

 

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Explorer ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Dave, I'm so glad for you -- sounds like the M1 is working out great!

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