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Footage looks terrible after simple import and export with no adjustments.

Community Beginner ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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I received a video which was shot by the subject.

 

I edited it and output it and it looks extremely posterized, with the subjects forehead being one flat color, for example.

 

Here is the original file in QT with the QT Inspector Window to show info about the original file:

Original MOV file.png

 

Here is the file Imported into Premeire, a sequence made from the imported MOV file, with the Sequence Settings displayed. No adjustments have been made, this is just a sequence made from the imported file above, and it looks quite different.:

In Premiere.png

 

Here is the export window for that same sequence. I just used the default output settings (H.264 Format):

Export Window.png

And here is the output of the above sequence to an MOV file. No adjustments made to the file. Just imported, a sequence created from it, and output to a file of the same resolution:

Direct QT output.png

You can see there has been a significant loss in image quality.

I don't think I'm doing anything in the export that would cause this.

 

What am I missing?

 

This is urgent as I have been given this to do a simple edit and turn around in a very tight timeframe for an event.

 

I did some editing of the file already, made some cuts, but my outputs of those rough edits is where I discovered the issue. To eliminate variables (like a bit of color correcting I did in the edit) I backtracked to just output the file as imported into Premiere.

 

Thank you for any help anyone can provide!

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Export , Formats , Import

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

That looks like a basic mis-color-management issue.

 

I'm guessing the clip was shot by an iPhone or other rig creating an HLG file, a form of HDR.

 

You simply imported the clip to an SDR/Rec.709 timeline, did your corrections, and exported to an SDR/Rec.709 export.

 

But the clip is actually HLG ... and got exported with HLG values. That's the problem.

 

  • So ... go to the clip/s in the Project panel.
  • Select one or more.
  • Right-click/Modify/Interpret Footage.
  • At the bottom, set the "Override-to"
...

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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That looks like a basic mis-color-management issue.

 

I'm guessing the clip was shot by an iPhone or other rig creating an HLG file, a form of HDR.

 

You simply imported the clip to an SDR/Rec.709 timeline, did your corrections, and exported to an SDR/Rec.709 export.

 

But the clip is actually HLG ... and got exported with HLG values. That's the problem.

 

  • So ... go to the clip/s in the Project panel.
  • Select one or more.
  • Right-click/Modify/Interpret Footage.
  • At the bottom, set the "Override-to" option to Rec.709.
  • Redo any color/tonal corrections on the timeline.
  • Export again with an SDR/Rec.709 export preset as before.

 

And you should be fine.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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Thank you for the help Neil. This worked great!

 

I do have a follow up question. Is there any reason NOT to just work in HLG/HDR?

 

In other words could I just leave the footage as HLG ("Rec 2100 HLG" is how it comes in), and work in an HLG timeline and export to an HLG format?

 

Am I losing anything (image quality/color clarity/color depth) by following the steps you provided and modifying to interpret the footage as SDR/Rec.709? Rather than leaving it in HLG and editing and exporting in that?

 

Does this all depend on the way this will be displayed/presented? In other words, if it is shown on a monitor that can't display/interpret HDR information, then there's no reason to work in HDR, right?

 

Thank you again for your help!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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HDR is still the Wild Wild West. I work with/for and teach pro colorists, some of whom were the earliest adopters of full DolbyVision, and in fact were hired by Dolby to do the in-house training videos on how to professionally create DV masters for streaming and broadcast.

 

They have reference monitors that cost between $20,000 and $32,000 depending on when they bought them.

 

Most of the other colorists I'm around have yet to deliver a single paid HDR program for b-cast/streaming. Although naturally, they're wanting to learn how to work with HDR.

 

The problem is that all monitors not in the $17,000 and up category for HDR Reference monitors and all HDR capable TVs have two things that are the devil for someone trying to create HDR content:

  • They have several processes to "enhance the viewing experience" ... juicing the image on you ... which you might be able to mostly turn off, but you may need the technician's remote control to do so.
  • The ABL ... auto-brightness-limiter ... systems cut brightness after a few seconds to protect the screen from pixel burn-in. But not just for bright images, they'll cut the brightness of any scene if the average brightness level stays the same for more than 30 seconds or so.

 

Between the two things, it's very difficult to know whether the screen brightness right now is because of what you've set it, or because of the screen changing things.

 

As to how this can go way off the rails ... one noted reviewer just went to the recent House of Dragons episode that was 'dark' ... and showed that this one scene that ran for about 10 minutes had a very low peak brightness. Around 5 nits max ... so a very, very dark scene. You would need to be in a totally dark room to be able to really see anything at all.

 

But that wasn't the main problem. Because ... that long scene of ten minutes, right? After the first 30 seconds, all TVs he tested started darkening the image more! By around a minute, minute & a half into the scene, the brightest image pixels were 2 nits!

 

He compared the image to a full-on Sony HDR grade-1 reference monitor, a $30,000+ monitor, and the image stayed the same 5 nits max throughout.

 

Past those issues, the majority of screens out there still don't handle HDR correctly, many not at all. How they smoosh HDR content into their SDR capablities varies widely.

 

So ... first, you can't really trust your monitor precisely for grading it unless you've spent enough to buy a car for it ... and second, maybe if you're really lucky, half you viewers will be able to see something sorta like you intended.

 

If that's fine, go for it! Make sure your sequence is set to HLG, and all clips are HLG, and you use a preset with HLG in the preset name. Also that your OS and monitor can handle HLG at least mostly sort of.

 

Otherwise, for now, stick to SDR output. That is a more reliable format still.

 

Neil

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2022 Oct 31, 2022

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Additional HDR advice ...

  • Make sure the scopes are set to the same color space as your sequence. If set to 'auto', they probably are, but look in the lower left corner of the Scopes screen and make sure it says HLG. If not, right-click in the Scopes panel, select Color space/HLG.
  • Use the 10 bit scale for the scopes, set in the lower right corner of the scopes panel. Try and keep your 'graphics white' ... the parts of the image that are the brightest you'll still want detail in ... to between 70-80 IRE looking at the left-side scales for Waveform or Parade. Definitely not over 800.
  • Use the area above 70-80 IRE for your hot speculars, but don't allow things over the 100 IRE top.
  • Reset the scope scale to HDR, and scrub through checking your highlights, make sure nothing really gets fully to the 1k line at this time.

 

This is about the best advice for setting visual values starting points for HLG at this time.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 01, 2022 Nov 01, 2022

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Neil, thank you again for a thorough and very helpful explanation!

 

I am going to stick to SDR output as it sounds very unlikely that the monitors being used for this presentation will be HDR capable. And I don't want to fuss with all the additional requirements for HDR, as this is a very quick turnaround.

 

Best,

Christopher

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Community Expert ,
Nov 01, 2022 Nov 01, 2022

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SDR is still vastly simpler ... and far more reliable that the viewers will see something at least mostly like what you intended.

 

Now, do I want to get into HDR? Well, Hades ding-dongs, yes! But jeepers ... it's wild out there.

 

Neil

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