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Import files Apple ProRes RAW in Premiere and in Final Cut Pro X

Community Beginner ,
Sep 10, 2022 Sep 10, 2022

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Hi,

I work on a MacPro 5.1 ( mi-2010 ) and Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6.

I use Final Cut Pro 10.4.10 for some time and started with Premirer Pro 15.4.5.

I have a problem with Apple ProRes RAW file import.

When I import this type of file into FCP X the rush is absolutely identical to what I get when I open it in Quicktime and it matches my filming settings.

When I import the same file in Premiere I have a much clearer picture that is not usable.

It is in both cases the opening of a native image before any post-production.

They should be identical with both software.

 

Has anyone ever had this problem ?

Thank's for your answers and your help.

 

Cordialement.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 10, 2022 Sep 10, 2022

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This is probably due to being on a Mac.

 

The standard for "standard" video ... Rec.709 ... has been set for many years. And at first, it was only a camera or "scene referred" set of instructions. And was designed to work with the available display technology, back when all monitors were the big cathode ray tubes, which had it's own built-in specific response or gamma .... roughly equivalent to gamma 2.4.

 

Then digital monitors replaced the CRT monitors, and to match, rather than changing the CAMERA setting, it was easiest to simply append a DISPLAY setting/standard to the then-current Rec.709 standard. Almost 20 years ago now.

 

Hence the Rec.709 standard had the Bt.1886 display transform specs appended to it. That's been the in-use standard for nearly two decades.

 

However ... Apple for some odd reason, setup their ColorSync color management utility to only use the camera/scene-referred "original" Rec.709, and does not apply Bt.1886 display settings.

 

So the result is essentially a display gamma of 1.96, which is going to lift the shadows a lot more than the display gamma 2.4 that is specified for 'normal' pro SDR/Rec.709 workflows.

 

Premiere is designed to follow the actual standards. And expects a monitor set to gamma 2.4. Hence ... it's different than "color managed" apps on a Mac, "color managed" here meaing that the Mac OS ColorSync utility is allowed to handle CM settings. Premiere does not allow ColorSync to mess with the image.

 

I am a contributing author at MixingLight, a pro colorist's teaching website. My 'beat' is dealing with pro colorists coming out of Resolve when they can't work in that and have to color a project in Premiere. Those people are heavily towards the Mac side, as you would expect.

 

And they are furious with Apple for so stupidly setting up this mess. Because there isn't a 'fix'. You can't make a file that looks the same when displayed at gamma 1.96 and gamma 2.4.

 

And explaining this mess time after time to their clients is a HUGE pain also.

 

What to do? Good question. There's ... workarounds, none particularly satisfying. Do set the preferences option for "Display color management" to on, most definitely. Past that ...

 

Adobe came out with the 'gamma compensation LUT' that is to be applied in the Effects tab of the Export dialog/page. Which will darken the shadows so the file, when viewed at gamma 1.96, looks pretty much like the file without that LUT at gamma 2.4 within Premiere.

 

Unfortunately, that means the file viewed on any actual Rec.709 compliant pro broadcast/streaming system will be way too dark. Pick your poison ... look 'good' on a Mac, dark everywhere else.

 

BlackMagic came up with a different but similar trick ... the "Rec.709-A" export option. Which sets the NLC tags of the file to 1-2-1 rather than 1-1-1 for 'standard' Rec.709. That 2 is 'unspecified' in the NLC standards list, but interestingly when applied to a file, then displayed in any ColorSync managed app, gets a 2.4 gamma applied.

 

Sadly, though that then 'fixes' the file for viewing on a Mac, like the Adobe LUT, on most other gear that causes the file to be too dark.

 

Neither Adobe, BlackMagic, nor Avid can fix what Apple messed up with mis-applied standards. Sorry, but ... it's a mess.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 13, 2022 Sep 13, 2022

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Thank you Neil for this very long and informative answer.

 

But if I ask Premiere to export me an identical file to the source, with a perfect match, it must export me a file strictly identical to my Apple Pro REs RAW file.

And no matter of the gamma setting of the screen.
See the screen shot to see my export settings.

 

On the other screen shot showing the two images and a Black and White Chart, the one on the right is the export of Premiere. You can see that the Quicktime image on the left is the right one.

 

For now, when I work with Final Cut Pro, my settings are : Apple ProRes 422 HQ and BT 2020.

So, right now, I don’t know how to use Premiere.

 

Cordialement.

 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 13, 2022 Sep 13, 2022

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Does the exported file, when brought back into Premiere, match the way the sequence looks in Premiere's Program monitor? If so, the problem is that the display of that file outside Pr is different.

 

And as this is a RAW file, which takes special 'decoding' to create as a visual image, the particular design of that image creation may not be identical between apps.

 

As an example, I've used Photoshop, Capture One, and another app now discontinued to work on stills RAW images. ALL of them created a different initial image from the same RAW file. Which is to be expected.

 

Much as it can be frustrating.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 13, 2022 Sep 13, 2022

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I’m not sure I understand what you want me to do with my file exported by Premiere.

On the screen shot the file export with Premiere open in Premiere.

 

I disagree with you that if we work with different software, Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere, we will have different results.

If I film a subject, I must have the same result with any editing software, it is a basic principle.

 

The Apple ProRes RAW file created by my Nikon Z6 allows me to generate a final image in 8, 10 or 12bits. ( 4.0.2, 4.2.2 or 4.4.4) with a Rec 709 or Rec 2020, 2020 PQ or 2020 HLG.

Before any post-production.

It’s up to me to choose. But with  FCP X or AP,  the result must be the same.

 

Cordialement

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Community Expert ,
Sep 13, 2022 Sep 13, 2022

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I'm having to guess a bit, but is that exported clip, brought back into Premiere, showing the same as the sequence it was exported from? If so, Premiere is being consistent.

 

I work both in Premiere and Resolve. I'm on a PC and have a highly calibrated and profiled system, so I know exactly what my reference monitor is doing. Premiere and Resolve will show identical images of standard Rec.709 media. Visually and on the scopes.

 

I can export from one, and get an identical image in the other. Doesn't matter which way I go.

 

With log-encoded media, and with RAW media, those media formats will not track exactly. As every app will have a slightly different application of transforms and such while 'normalizing' log media, or doing the processing of RAW media.

 

My main RAW is BRAW from my BMPCC4K. I use the Autokroma plugin in Premiere as it is both far more stable than the BM plugin and has more options. The 'default' of course does not exactly match the BM plugin's default. I wouldn't expect it to. Similar, but not identical.

 

And processing the same clips in Resolve gets of course a different look than either the BM plugin or the Autokroma plugin in Premiere. But then, with all of them I've choices of which color science generation to apply and a ton of other things.

 

I am a contributing author over at MixingLight, a pro colorists teaching website. My 'beat' is teaching colorists based (mostly) in Resolve how to work color in Premiere when they have to. Some of the colorists are based in Baselight though, and that very high-end app will have a slightly different 'look' with log & RAW media than Resolve.

 

So the two most used grading apps will do slightly different 'normalization' of log-encoded media and processing to visuals for RAW clips. I know this doesn't fit with your basic assumption, but it is the reality of things.

 

Because the image in log-encoded media and RAW clips is NOT an exact 'thing' ... it's data that will look one way or another depending on the normalization used (log-encoded), and the processing steps used to create visual media (RAW clips). Every app I know with built-in tranforms/normalization for log media has several options ... to be used with the same media.

 

And of course, they all will change depending on the overall color management process chosen. In Resolve, you can do manual, "Davinci color managed", and ACES color managed. All will give a slightly different look. Making such choices a huge part of doing colorist work.

 

Within that one applicaction, a professional grading application, and all are high-end professional color management operations.

 

This doesn't even 'touch' the unfortunate issue that was caused when Apple chose to apply only the camera-transform section of the Rec.709 video standard and not apply the display transform also required as part of the Rec.709 standard.

 

So you have the Mac ColorSync color management system applying a gamma of 1.96 to Rec.709 media. The professional standard is actually 2.4, which Premiere follows. As does Resolve and Baselight ... unless you as the user override the default.

 

So a properly crafted file within Premiere on a Mac, with "display color management" enabled within Premiere, will look as it should 1) when re-imported into Premiere and 2) when displayed on a calibrated system with proper Rec.709 settings such as a colorist would have. And on my system, with the laborious, careful calibration and profiling I've done.

 

However, outside of Premiere on a Mac, that same file will be too light and appear low in saturation. This is caused by the Apple CM decision, not by Premiere. You can't show the same file in two different gammas and get the same view.

 

Color management is a massive rabbit hole. Very little actually works in the way it seems most people assume it does. And it's a right royal pain for colorists to explain why what people see is what they're getting. When they expect something else.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 15, 2022 Sep 15, 2022

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Thank you for your time in trying to answer me.

I will still look again.

I am convinced that the image imported in Premiere must be identical to that imported in final Cut Pro.

Maybe the problem is the version 15 of Premiere ?

I download Resolve but with Mac OS 10.14.6 this is version 17, and it cannot import Apple ProRes Raw.

 

So I keep looking.

 

Cordialement.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 15, 2022 Sep 15, 2022

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"I am convinced that the image imported in Premiere must be identical to that imported in final Cut Pro."

 

If they used the same color management, they would be close but not necessarily identical. 

 

Why? You simply cannot have two different applications decoding a RAW file identically. Each will have its own coding for that file. There isn't a "standard" decoding process. Period.

 

Resolve and Baselight are the two most used pro grading apps. Each has its own options for any RAW files, and they are never identical.

 

That's between high-end grading apps. And doesn't even talk about the mess with Apple color management internally and intentionally mis-displaying Rec.709 media due to their odd gamma choice.

 

Those aren't opinions, they're just Reality. I wish it wasn't so but neither I nor anyone else can change them.

 

Well, Apple could easily fix their gamma problems.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 24, 2022 Sep 24, 2022

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So I ended up finding the solution to have my Apple ProRes RAW file open and export from Premiere with an identical colorimetry to Quicktime and Final Cut Pro X.

 

Adobe says that a file from FCP X ( .fcpxml ) cannot be imported into Premiere, it should be converted to .xml file.

I tried to import in Premiere an export file from FCP X and it opens without any problem, without any conversion.

 

But the important thing is that the file opened in Premiere is strictly identical to my original Apple ProRes RAW file and to my export file from FCP X, Rec 2020, Apple ProRes 422 HQ.

Exporting this file from Premiere will give an identical file.

 

So, I was right: 

Premiere can open and export a file exactly the same way as Final Cut Pro X.

( see the screenshot )

 

But not from the native file, but from the Final Cut Pro X file.

 

Cordialement

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Community Expert ,
Sep 24, 2022 Sep 24, 2022

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As noted above, NO applications either stills or video use the identical "raw" converter as another application. Unless say both use the manufacturer's specified plugin.

 

For example, Capture One and Photoshop/Lightroom "raw" converters will produce a different file "look" at thei basic settings. From the exact same 'raw' camera file.

 

Shoot a Nikon camera in RAW mode, now ... load the file into Nikon's RAW processor, Adobe's "Camera RAW" processor used in Photoshop and Lightroom, and in Capture One.

 

You have three different images you're looking at.

 

Is that wrong? No, that's expected, normal behavior. As all three work through the process to deliver what they feel is the 'best' overall representation of the captured data possible.

 

The same thing happens in video 'RAW' file processing. Each software company makes what they feel is the best overall compromise defaults that will get the majority of images of a particular "raw" format looking 'usable' in their application.

 

And very specifically on point to your question: I've seen the same ProRes RAW file processed in FCP, Premiere Pro, and Baselight ... you can't do so in Resolve as ProRes RAW isn't usable in that app.

 

And FCP, Premiere Pro, and Baselight all had slightly different "takes" on the same ProRes RAW file.

 

This is normal and expected. As any RAW file is built to be worked with any way the user wants to do so. That's the whole point of working with a RAW file, that it doesn't have anything baked in!

 

Apple doesn't necessarily share all the internal processing bits of their stuff. And ProRes RAW is definitely, to Apple, their stuff. Note that BlackMagic's Resolve has no ProRes RAW capabilities whatever.

 

That's correct ... the main colorist/grading application in professional use cannot in any way, shape, or form work with ProRes RAW. Any colorist job in Resolve using ProRes RAW must have transcodes made from that media prior to importing into Resolve.

 

This is all part of the fun of the video post Life. So yes, Premiere can use the same settings as in the FCP XML file, but those are not the defaults chosen by the PrPro developers, as mimicking ProRes RAW in another app isn't their goal.

 

Trying to get the best default 'look' they can for the clips of that media as used in their own app is what the devs of any company work to do with raw formats.

 

 

Neil

 

 

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