Courageous community member Matt Johnson made a video based on this document. Watch here for a visualization of the solution, and read on to understand why the color shift is happening in the first place.
1. What's the issue?
a. "My exports look washed out when I view them in QuickTime player"
b. "When I post my video on YouTube it looks less saturated and the blacks are raised"
When importing footage into Premiere Pro, the display of the video looks more saturated than when it is played back on other apps such as VLC, QuickTime, After Effects, or a number of web browsers like Safari or Google Chrome. When played back on YouTube through those web browsers, the video also appears less saturated than it does in Premiere. As far as we know, this is a Mac-only issue. If you're experiencing this behavior and you're on a Windows machine, please send me a private message!
Side by side, you can see that video in Premiere (left) is displayed with more saturation than the video displayed in QuickTime (right).
(Screenshots provided from this forum post)
Quicktime on top, Premiere on bottom
(Screenshots from Boots Riley's "Sorry to Bother You")
2. Why is it happening?
a. Premiere displays video based on the assumption that your monitor is set to Rec709 color space and that your footage was recorded in reference to gamma 2.4, because that's the gamma standard for broadcast television. Gamma 2.4 displays with higher contrast — blacker blacks and whiter whites. It was chosen for broadcast television because the people who were deciding playback standards figured that people were watching TV in their dark living rooms, and they thought increased contrast levels looks prettier in that setting.
i. Premiere has a feature called "Display Color Management" that will coordinate with your monitor's display settings in order to correctly display in a Rec709, gamma 2.4 profile.
Premiere Pro > Preferences > General > "Enable Display Color Management (requires GPU acceleration)"
It's the last box on the list and it should always be enabled! For more detailed instructions, go here.
b. Monitors have become fairly standardized over the years, but apps haven't. Other apps like QuickTime, Final Cut Pro, and web browsers like Chrome and Safari display video in a scene-referred gamma 1.96 profile despite what your monitor is set to. Gamma 1.96 profiles play video back in a way that looks closer to what you see in real life — lighter blacks and softer whites.
c. This gamma shift is completely dependent on what app you play your video back in, as most users have figured out on their own. FCP 10, QuickTime, and certain web browsers all play video back in the same way, so people assume that they're displaying the video "correctly" when in reality, it's just that they're displaying the video under similar standards. Your video files are fine! The actual color codes within the pixels of your video are not changing in between apps. The miscommunication is happening between the apps and the monitor they're being displayed on.
TL;DR Premiere uses the same display standards as broadcast television does. Other video playback apps like QuickTime have begun to adhere to different video playback standards. This is what causes videos to display differently in between each app.
The graph above is a visual representation of the gamma display standards of Premiere Pro (orange), which dips into the darker end of the spectrum, compared to the gamma display standards of QuickTime (blue), which don't have the capability to display those dark colors and therefore QuickTime displays video with less saturation which gives it that "washed out" appearance.
(Graph and data by franciscrossman-J6rJng)
3. But why is it worse on my new iMac monitor?
a. Newer Mac displays are wide color gamut (close to P3) and can display more vibrant colors than Rec709 is capable of reproducing. Without any conversion, your Rec709 colors will be displayed as if they were P3 and will appear much more saturated than intended. Display color management is designed to fix this. It maps the Rec709 values to the appropriate P3 values so that the colors look the same.
i. Scroll up for instructions on how to enable Display Color Management, or go here.
b. Again, this is a matter of display and playback. Your actual video file is fine and if it's played back on a different monitor, it'll display correctly!
4. Is there a way to get all my playback apps on the same page?
a. Yes! One of our engineers created a LUT that will darken your video the appropriate amount so that when you play it back in a different app, it will look as it did in Premiere. Technically speaking, the LUT will correct the mathematical difference between gamma 1.96 and 2.4.
ii. After downloading the LUT (.cube file) and saving it somewhere accessible, prepare to export your sequence!
File > Export (Command+M or CNTRL+M) will pull up the Export Settings window, pictured below.
About halfway down the window, there's a few tabs to adjust encoding settings. Go to the tab marked "Effects" and you'll see an option to enable a Lumetri Look/LUT. Check that box, open the drop-down menu, and click "Select..." to navigate to the space you saved the LUT in.
iii. After you've selected the LUT, Premiere may display that there is "None" selected. That's a common glitch, the LUT has been applied. Sorry for the confusion!
b. However, this needs to be the last thing you do to your video! Either that or you need to save a backup of your video without this LUT on it. Because this LUT is darkening the color code of the video, in some cases, it will darken to the point where you can't get the detail back.
c. If you want to take the LUT off and you don't have a LUT-less backup, you can apply this reversal LUT that will return your video to the color levels you had before you applied the LUT. Perform the same steps listed above with the "Undo Gamma Compensation" LUT!
If you have any other questions about this issue, feel free to send me a private message.
For other support issues, you can check out our company contact options here! Contact us | Adobe
Thank you all for your collaboration and discussion so we could better investigate this issue! You help us to help you.
Yep. The TVs are being made, and more include the different options of wide gamut (color) and wider dynamic range (dark to bright) every month.
There are delivering problems of course ... those both require bigger files to distribute. And one of the big discussions at NAB centered on the many companies racing to get solutions for bandwidth problems. There are all sorts of things being tried and given the incentives for winning that race, it will get handled.
And as the content providers see a higher percentage of users with those capabilities and wanting to see their cool new toy being cool, they'll want more of their content in wide gamut and HDR.
My buds doing this sort of work already say that in two more years the calls for HDR/wide-gamut deliverables will at least be several times higher than today. In three years, will be "common".
Yea, big changes are coming.
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Here are a few more examples of the issue, This time with NO corrections, NO adjustments LUTs, Display Color Management Off. Just un altered Slog-2 viewed in Premiere on top, VLC bottom left, Quicktime bottom right.
Below is with "Display Color Management" Checked/ On
Below is with the "Quicktime Correction LUT" supplied above applied
Viewing in VLC which seems to be the common rebuttal to this problem is completely different than premiere, Quicktime is at least showing me something reasonably close. the quicktime correction LUT provided above doesn't seem to help, Also here is a link to a screen recording showing that premiere is changing preview when I'm switching monitor profiles.
I've read that premiere ignores monitor profiles and will only display rec 709, so why is premiere changing when I change them? It seems like there is definitely a communication happening?
In the past I've never had this much alteration no matter what inadequate monitor I've been working on.
Would it make sense to connect my previous 2013 iMac as a display to color/grade off of? Does any one have recommendations of reasonably priced accurate monitor options?
iMac Pro (base) Mojave
Premiere is hardwired for displays set to video sRGB/Rec.709, set for a white point of D6500, gamma 2.4, and brightness of 100 nits. Give it such a monitor, tightly calibrated and profiled, everything is fine.
I know colorists working on Macs that follow this and have no troubles whatsoever.
Apple's intriguing new P3-Display space is very different, and as Pr is hardwired for sRGB/Rec.709 etc, the Mac apps seem now to anticipate the P3-Display. And seem to use a scene-referred gamma of 1.96.
It's not that it's wrong, it's just different. And trying to match the wider gamut of P3 and puzzle through the gamma issue seems a right pain.
Every app is internally a bit different, which of course only adds to the ... joy.
Out of curiosity, have you profiled that monitor with something like Lightspace to find exactly how it is set? Black, white points, gamma and color reactions?
I know most monitors do not ship with actually accurate setups no matter what they say. Typically they are way over the sRGB 100 nits brightness among other things.
More information is always better. I'd love to see a full profile of a P3 Mac monitor as shipped.
You are the ultimate victim blamer. This has nothing to do with his monitor, and everything to do with the way the color is processed by the apps. It is definitely an export/viewer translation issue.
You are the ultimate victim blamer.
Weird response. You consider an explanation of why color management is required for anyone, including those who thought their cool Mac setup would be perfect out of the box, is "victim blaming". Huh. Well, time for some more education.
This has nothing to do with his monitor, and everything to do with the way the color is processed by the apps. It is definitely an export/viewer translation issue.
Monitors have no effect ... role ... or causation ... in color managment issues? Wherever did that idea come from? The monitor is the heart of your viewing system ... the monitor and the environment that monitor is in while you are working are crucial to getting a proper view ... as per this short article on viewing environment and standards. It is from the LightIllusions resources ... the folks that make Lightspace calibration software. Steve Shaw is one of the better experts at video calibration and standards for all purposes. Highly respected in the colorist sphere and on the LGG (lift/gamma/gain) colorist/vfx forum.
Or this article on calibration in general? "Why Calibrate: Calibration is a necessity, not an option"
And yes, there is a major role within apps and the OS for color management ... as part of the total color management system. Which the user needs to know, and to control. And includes the apps, the system, and the monitor.
I've spent a lot of time with professional colorists ... (I also teach professional colorists) ... and the people from Lightspace calibration software and Flanders monitors. At NAB, I taught a program on the color managment of Premiere in the Flanders/MixingLight booth. If my information was not considered both accurate and timely, I wouldn't have been there. And yes, it included dealing with Apple's Display-P3 monitors and Premiere Pro ... and also essentially any app outside of FCPx on those systems.
If one has any training or experience in color management for professional video, one calibrates the heck out of the monitoring system. In order of preference, using calibration LUTs stored in the monitor for those rigs that can do so, using a signal that is not delivered by the OS. Next, using an external LUT box for those monitors that can't hold a calibration LUT/s internally, and again, preferably avoiding the OS "touching" the signal. And finally ... via a puck/software system like the i1 Display Pro, if on a system with no external LUT box nor monitor capable of storing LUTs.
Very few editors need a $5,000 monitor that can store LUTs onboard. Some do have external LUT boxes, but most just run with a computer monitor that is (hopefully!) profiled via puck/software. The latter process does rely on the computer OS or some other application applying proper ICC profiles to get even close ... although the entire ICC profile "thing" has issues within itself. Which is why if possible colorists want the signal out of the computer without the OS affecting it.
And some editors ... just assume they'll get "proper" color without any calibration or attention to color management. Which never works unless you are spot-on lucky. And cannot work with the Apple Display-P3 especially within Apple's "unique" choice of color management practices. Laws of physics do always apply.
So I'm not blaming the victim in any way. I'm pointing out that what they thought ... ain't so. And that you cannot get to decent and accurate color management by accident, and you cannot get there without some effort on the user's part. I try to provide the information such that users understand the nature of the issue they are facing and how to get that to a better situation.
Because in the end, the thing that matters is that the nice people that pay our bills get their work on time ... and it's up to the standards they need it to conform to or they won't come back with more jobs. Having a properly calibrated system if you have any direct-to-client delivery from your machine is absolutely necessary.
Steve has an article on "Why Master on a Calibrated Display" that at one point touches directly on the Apple Display-P3 monitor and the troubles using that monitor and system ... I'll quote from that here:
An issue that is relatively new is Wide Gamut displays vs. Standard Gamut, with Wide Gamut being a relatively new concept for home viewing.
Realistically, for TV/Broadcast applications, wide gamut is intrinsically linked to HDR and Rec2020, and so should not exist outside HDR imagery. Unfortunately, display devices that are not home TVs often abuse the use of wide gamut colourimetry, and can incorrectly display standard gamut imagery on a wide gamut display, without correctly restricting the display's gamut.
This gets yet worse as some manufacturers, such as Apple, have bastardised what are defined standards, making it very difficult to know what you are really looking at when not using a well calibrated mastering display. For example, Apple have their own version of P3. P3 is a standardised colour space that is well defined within the film & TV industry, but Apple have what they call 'displayP3' colour space, which incorrectly combines the P3 gamut with the encoding sRGB compound gamma - not even the correct display defined sRGB gamma, which is a power law 2.2 gamma.
This obviously causes major issues with broadcast material viewed on Apple wide gamut displays... and means they must NEVER be used to skew any grade to accommodate their bastardised colour space.
While Apple's displayP3 colour space is highlighted here, any non-broadcast device - be it an uncalibrated PC display, mobile phone or tablet, or laptop screen - should never be used as a reference for any grading work - NEVER.
The LUT corrects saturation but the blacks still appear much darker on the exported video than on the film the coloutist supplied, making some of the daker shots hard to make out. Unfortunately the film has been delivered, but very keen to understand nonetheless.
QuickTime the colourist supplied.
QuickTime that I exported from PP using the Gamma compensation LUT.
As you can see the blacks look darker on the delivered QuickTime than the QuickTime the colourist supplied to me. Is there further compensation that needs to be done in the settings to keep the blacks the same? Or should I just need to compensate manually. Possibly by lifting the shadows.
Using an iMac Pro. 10.14.5 with Premier Pro 14.0 (Latest update doesnt work properly with Metal or Open CL)
Question, does this need to be applied if uploading the video to YouTube?
Before even answering your question, it would be good to know if you understand the basic issue. Which is that the Mac ColorSync utility applies a unique gamma to Rec.709 video, an incorrect gamma, of 1.96. Rather than using the proper Rec.709 display gamma of 2.4 (2.2 oft used for bright room or web use).
So ALL Rec.709 video on a Mac looks different than the same video files viewed on all non-Mac devices.
Due to that gamma issue, the files will have lightened shadows and visually lessened saturation, but only on a Mac, and then, only within applications that allow ColorSync to control CM. Such as QuickTime player, Chrome & Safari browsers.
VLC player and Firefox browser on the same Mac will probably show the file more correctly, with a display gamma of 2.4 or 2.2. As the same file would be viewed on all non-Mac devices.
So you have only two choices:
Those are your two choices. Sadly, you can't have the file look its best across that divide. Pick your side.
Good article. But to me this part is not clear:
b. However, this needs to be the last thing you do to your video! Either that or you need to save a backup of your video without this LUT on it. Because this LUT is darkening the color code of the video, in some cases, it will darken to the point where you can't get the detail back.
By "backup of your video" do you mean backup of the premiere pro project? The prproj file? But I thought LUT is something that is added in the export window so does it actually change the clips inside the timeline? My assumption was it applies during export process.
Just that this will change the signal level enough that if you don't keep your project or export without the LUT also, you may have problems trying to modify the file.
You are correct, it only changes the exported file when applied in the Export dialog.
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when I click the link to download the .cube gamma compensation LUT all that downloads is the .txt file. Please help. What am I doing wrong? Would like to get this downloaded.
Here's what this looks like when I open in Firefox ... see the little icon I circled in blue in the upper right? Click on that and the download happens ...
thank you. my problem is I saw a .txt file but it's a .cube.txt file. It works in premiere.
Thank you. This was giving me a big headache... I've found similar work arounds by using AEFX but I will try this solution and get back to this forum soon.
It's just all a mess out in The Wild. Which is really the main problem.
If one has a Retina screen with all those pretty colors (again, about 20-25% wider gamut than video sRGB/Rec.709) ... and at a vastly different gamma ... how your apps manage that data becomes very important.
Enable Display Color Management (EDCM) is designed to attempt to get a "perceptual match" between the hard-coded internal Premiere monitors (designed for video sRGB/Rec,709/gamma-2.4/100 nits) and the generic Apple P3-Display color space/gamut/gamma.
To essentially give you a viewing on that monitor that is (hopefully) pretty close to a correct video sRGB/Rec.709/gamma-2.4/100nits image. Then, internally, how Premiere is designed to work and what you see on your monitor will be mostly somewhat sort of similar.
Understand ... after you export, and look at that medial file outside Pr in QuickTime Player or whatever ... you'll be looking at a video sRGB/Rec.709/gamma-2.4/100nits image improperly mapped to the wider gamut and vastly different gamma.
And further ... that media file played on a broadcast standard system has a much higher chance of looking appropriate than if not using the EDCM option on a Retina P3-Display screen.
So to get it to look "correct" on a Retina P3-Display screen, you need to apply the 'exit' LUT mentioned in the above article. Now the export will look pretty correct on a Retina P3-Display screen.
However ... that export will NOT look good on a broadcast or standard screen. And remember, currently the Apple market share is almost up to 13% in the US, and world-wide only about 7%. Also ... Retina P3 Display screens will be on less than half the Macs out there. Producing material that only looks anywhere near correct on about 3% of screens ... hmmm. Pretty small intended market.
What we, the viewers, really need are operating systems and OS's that can actually pay attention to the 'intended display space' of a file and give the appropriate viewing situation. Which is sadly lacking at the moment.
Came upon this post and your very clear and helpful replies. I have a 2019 MacBook Pro, and I connect it to an NEC PA271Q monitor, which is a wide gamut monitor. After reading your replies, I created another monitor calibration preset (sRGB/Rec.709/2.4 gamma/100 nits) for use when I work in Premiere. And sure enough, with EDCM disabled, thing look correct. With EDCM enabled they look correct too, but I don't see the point of enabling it. So, I then did two exports. One normal and one with the Adobe correction LUT applied. Sure enough in QuickTime and Safari the LUT corrected one looked correct, due to the gamma change. And the normal export looked lighter - the 1.96 gamma Apple apps seem to use. I uploaded the files to Vimeo so I could see what a PC does. I was expecting the normal export to look correct, but no, the LUT corrected one looked proper. I tired this on various PCs. So I'm confused now. Do PC/Windows apps/browsers also display video in a non-2.4 gamma? Maybe 2.2? No idea. But seems that for exporting to web use (Vimeo, etc.) the files need the correction LUT applied not just to satisfy Apple P3 displays for color, but to satisfy Apple and PC displays for gamma. I can't figure it out. Any ideas?
I'm rather puzzled by the results where the PC's viewed the file better with the LUT applied on export.
Now ... which browsers did you use on PC?
I work with a fully Rec.709 calibration, and my exports from Premiere look fine in browsers but a little different in each browser. Firefox is the closest on my machine to the full appropriate media view.
I used IE on Windows 10 on various laptops and desktops. I just went into a local Best Buy store to have a look via various devices, as that is how people would see them. But after I posted the above, I was thinkging: Do any computers display gamma 2.4 correctyl if they are not calibrated for it? That's for a dark viewing environment, and more for TV, broadcast. I mean I calibrated my montior for 2.4 as you do, but most calibrate (if they calibrate at all) for 2.2. So wouldn't they always see a lighter output? Even most TVs are calibrated at BT.709 2.2 not 2.4, as people watch in bright rooms.
I thought I understood it until this 🙂 I will work in my sRGB/2.4/100/D65 setup, but how should I best export for web video? I don't see any place to change the encoded gamma in any of the export codecs in Premiere. And again, sure I'm doing it right, but if people (the majority) are watchig on devices that are lower gamma < 2.4, shouldn't I aim for that?
I do wonder also, how big houses do it for trailers, etc. Peopel watching on all sortf of decices, but most of them not at 2.4. Color aside, do they encode for lower gammas if output to web?
I teach color correction/grading on a colorist web site ... and am around colorist more than editors at NAB in Vegas every year. I am also active on the LGG forum, "Lift/Gamma/Gain", a colorist's forum.
What do "the pros" do? The only thing they can, really.
They grade pretty much everything for export for Rec.709/gamma-2.4/100 nits. With a very few exceptions.
You can only work to the most widely used standard, and let everything fall where it does.
One colorist says "You can't change gramma's green TV." This observation came from going to visit his grandmother on vacation. While there, she's one of those who just has the TV on more as background than anythying ... all day long. A commercial he'd graded came up, that he was pretty proud of.
To him ... it looked terrible ... to her, it was gorgeous.
Because ... well ... her TV is way green, and so ... she's used to everything being way green. Relatively, on her screen, it was beautifully and professionally done.
And that is all any colorist can get to. Relatively, on any one screen, looking as professional as other professionally produced material does. And the only way to get "there" is to produce to the main standard used for professional production.
TV stores ... colorists HATE them. The TVs that have too-bright and over-saturated screens will sell more than TVs with correct images showing on them.
So ... set your suite for proper professional work. Calibrate, run a profile to check your calibrations. Have some short bit you've worked checked maybe by a local station's QC machine for confirmation.
And get on with Life.
Yea, it's frustrating.
As a professional photographer for several years now, just recently being asked to shoot video (thus doing my homework) for clients, I know all too well how what I see when I work on my images is an ideal that very, very few clients will ever see. It's a bit sad, but I don't worry about it anymore. It's truly a jungle out there with color management software and hardware, and all I can do is the correct thing and let it be.
You're right in what you say. I just thought with video, having a single standard (at least for HD), would be simpler. Work with sRGB/709, 2.4, 100nits, D65 and don't worry, as everyone should show the same as it's one standard. But yeah, with the P3 WCG stuff it's becoming more of a mess. The gamma another mess. One on hand I understand why companies do what they do. On the other hand, I don't if that makes sense. Adobe RGB has been around for 20 years now, and how many monitors can display 100% of it? Just now, 20 years later we're almost at 100%....With BT.2020 it's similar. All the UHD 4K HDR discs/material out there, looking different on every TV set, as none can do the gamut properly. How many years until they can? Another 20? I can't watch that on my TV, as I cannot calibrate for it. So I use an external 3D LUT box that I calibrate/use with LightSpace, and just watch BD in BT.709. 4K would be great without the HDR/BT.2020. Just 4K 709! But that won't sell..
Yeah, thanks for the replies. I should be used to this from my photogrpahy, but I guess as video is new to my work, it's initially "surprising", though it shouldn't be I suppose.
This export adjustment LUT Adobe is providing is good. But it's good for a very specific segment of the market - WCG Macs! Is this the path we're heading down? If so, yeah, I suppose video apps will need to start using color management built into the applications. A new thing for video.
Is there a way for Premiere to output 2.2 gamma in 709 even? Just curious. I don't think so, but just checking.
The difference between 2.4 and 2.2 is small enough few will notice.
I think a way to mimic this would be applying one more Lumetri instance before export as an adjustment layer with a very slight "up" on the Basic tab Exposure control and a lesser couple points lift to the Basic Shadow control. Just 3-5 points max each.
Thank you @carolinesears & the Adobe team for their efforts in providing a workaround for this color space issue! Also thank you @Matt Johnson for the video in YouTube which led me here! You couldn’ t imagine how shock I was when I exported the video & found exactly it having exactly the same color & contrast with what I saw in Premiere. Thank you!
I have a question. I used to grade with Display Color Management disabled (Let’ s call it “Preview A”). When I tried this workaround & enabled Display Color Management I found that my grading looked different (Let’ s call it ”Preview B”), which was expected because that’ s what this workaround meant for & I was prepared for it.
What I tried to compensate this, was to make a screenshot of one of my clip with Display Color Management disabled (Preview A), & put it to the timeline with Display Color Management enabled. I thought I could match Preview A & B via the aids of lumetri scopes. However when I tried to do so, I discovered that the screenshot automatically turn to be like Preview B, & I have no way to get my grading back to be like Preview A with lumetri scopes.
Just wondering... If there’ re any workaround for this? It could be either 1. A conversion LUT which convert a clip with Display Color Management on to look like it without Display Color Management, or 2. A way to make graphics like screenshots to be excluded from Display Color Management? Thank you!
In short ... no.
EDCM is an attempt to get someone with a P3-Display monitor a view of their material as close to a proper broadcast Rec.709 as possible. Which would allow you to finish and export such that the majority of screens would see a "normal" image for that screen.
To instead export for the 3-5% of screens that are P3-Display you would need to work with EDCM enabled, then at export apply the Rec.709->P3-Display LUT linked in the article in the Export dialog as listed in the article.
I am still quite new to this aspect, could you help me to check if I comprehend this DCM issue correctly?
Fit for broadcast & Firefox
Fit for Apple devices, Chrome, Safari
So here' s what I tried.
1. My MacBook Pro 2018 uses a P3 colour space
2. Premiere Pro' s UI display images in a Rec.709 / sRGB colour space irrespective with my computer' s colour space
3. I should calibrate my MacBook Pro 2018 to sRGB with gamma 2.4, D65, luminance 100cd/m2
4. After that, for broadcasting (Rec.709), this should be WISIWIG
But after all of these, when I exported my video & see in Quicktime, it' s still washed- out. The calibration should have calibrated my MacBook Pro 2018 to Rec.709 colour space which fits Premiere Pro' s UI display. What is the reason behind this?
Another question is that after calibration when I downloaded a reference clip from Youtube (also from my MacBook Pro 2018 via Airy app) & imported it into the timeline in Premiere Pro, the colour & contrast was off with EDCM. I did not touch anything for that clip. Is it Premiere Pro recognised that the clip which Airy downloaded is in D3 colour space, & it just made relative colour management adjustments so it' s like Rec.709?
And I wondered why I get screenshots & other graphics have the same issue as well?
Thank you in advance for all of these so many questions. I' m currently stuck in my work because I have to balance the risk & benefits. Most of my friends are using Apple devices & view in Chrome & Safari, so EDCM seems to be a better option for me. But the contrast & colour different after importing a reference clip held me back.