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When I export the colors on the file don't match that of the timeline

Enthusiast ,
Oct 11, 2021 Oct 11, 2021

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I have a color matching problem. I have graded c300 mk3 MXF footage on my timeline and exported it as ProRes422. I have not changed any of the export specs.

 

This is what the timeline looks like:

timeline.png

 

When I open the MOV in quicktime player, this is how the colors look. It is slightly desatured and doesn't match the timeline:
exported.png

 

Then I take the file and bring it into Adobe Encoder and choose the vimeo 1080 preset which pops out an mp4 for me. I upload that mp4 to dropbox and vimeo and the colors still look bad. I'm not just seeing this issue with this one client and this one file/footage/camera type. This issue is occuring with another client's footage as well. I asked some friends about it and they think its an issue with Mac because they said when they export something from their timelines on a PC, the colors in their export don't deviate from the timeline.

 

If my export doesn't match my timeline, which colors are the client seeing? Are they seeing the colors that I see on my timeline when they watch the vimeo link? Or are they seeing the desaturated colors that I'm seeing on my mp4? More importantly, how do I fix this?

 

Specs:

  • I'm on macOS Big Sur 11.6 
  • If I click on "about premiere pro" it says Version 15.4.1 (Build 6) , Adobe Premiere Pro v15.0   (and my finder level doc says Adobe Premiere Pro 2021)
TOPICS
Editing , Error or problem , Export

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Enthusiast , Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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Enthusiast , Mar 22, 2022 Mar 22, 2022

I'm finding some degree of success when I choose "MXF OP1A" export preset as opposed to apple pro res or h264 or anything else

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 16, 2021 Oct 16, 2021

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Hi rachinc1,

 

Usually, this might happen if the video players & apps are using different display standards while showing the preview. Please refer to this article to know more about it. Hope it helps.

 

Thanks,

Sumeet

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LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2021 Oct 16, 2021

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Most video is by the standards long set, in the Rec.709 color standard. Premiere Pro is built to be bog-standard Rec.709.

 

However the Mac ColorSync color management utility is not. And that is the problem here.

 

ColorSync does not apply the second part of the two required transforms, the display transform, and it applies an odd 1.96 gamma instead of the expected 2.4/2.2.Between the two issues, the shadows are lighter and there is an appearance of less saturation.

 

And sadly, there ain't no real fix so a file looks the same whether displayed on a Rec.709 compliant system or a Mac/ColorSync system. It's something my colorist friends (mostly Mac folk of course) are always yelling about. As their systems are totally Rec.709 compliant to the gnat's eyebrow to meet pro grading specs.

 

And note, all pro grading for broadcast/streaming is Rec.709 except for the relatively small amount of HDR media out there. So all pro produced media you watch on your Mac were Rec.709 files.

 

I'll bet you haven't noticed or thought them bad, by the bye.

 

And to a certain extent, the only thing anyone can do is grade to the standard and let it go out into the wild. No one will ever see exactly what you saw anyway, as every screen and viewing environment is different. Grading to the standard means you're media will relatively be like other pro produced media on any system.

 

And that's the best that you can hope for. It's all a pro colorist can do.

 

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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If your Premiere Pro export color looks different from the way it looked in the Premiere preview, I've been there before... You just wrapped up your video project. Your video looks perfect in the Premiere preview, but when you go and export your video, your final render comes out desaturated with

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LEGEND ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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The great joy of using the 'conversion' LUT that Adobe provides & is used here is that you just change who sees the problem. Well, and what problem they see.

 

Because the underlying problem isn't solvable until either Apple changes their Rec.709 settings in ColorSync or the rest of the world changes the Rec.709 standards. I don't see either happening anytime ... ever, sadly.

 

Applying this LUT does the same thing that using the "Rec.709-A" export option does in Resolve. Though they do it differently.

 

This LUT modifies the image to make it darker in the shadows and a bit more saturated. So when ColorSync does it's thang ... the odd 1.96 gamma and no display tranform function applied ... it ends up looking mostly like you saw it in PrPro.

 

If you're watching it on a Mac in Chrome, Safari, or QuickTime player.

 

But if you're on a PC or on a system with a fully calibrated monitor for broadcast-standard Rec.709, it will be a bit dark especially in the shadows and over-saturated.

 

The Resolve Rec.709-A export option tags the file with the NLC tags of 1-2-1, rather than the 1-1-1 of 'normal' Rec.709. The '2 in the middle is officially "unstated" in the Rec.709 standards. But BlackMagic realized that if a file had that 2 in the middle, QuickTime would for some unknown reason apply the 2.4 gamma and display transform.

 

So the file 'looks' correct on a Mac in the same situations as noted above.

 

But on most other systems, it ... gee ... looks too dark and oversaturated.

 

At which point I go back to the fact that all pro material is graded for Rec.709 broadcast standards. All the stuff you're watching on your Mac has the 1-1-1 file tagging. Did you think it's all washed out and desaturated?

 

No ... because you didn't know you were watching it with lightened shadows and less saturation.

 

You don't have a comparison to the 'real' image, do you? And neither does anyone who ever sees your stuff.

 

Neil

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New Here ,
Mar 15, 2022 Mar 15, 2022

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rachinc1 clearly stated that they were looking at their timeline and exported video side-by-side using the same monitor and machine. That means we are dealing with a Premiere exporting issue. (See attachment, I have my exported video and timeline on my display at the same time.) Although your Rec.709-A information is interesting, it is not useful in helping rachinc1 (nor me) in solving our unsaturated exports issue. It's silly that Adobe expect us to use LUTs (that aren't 100% precise in doing what they promise) to fix an issue that shouldn't even exist, but it's better than reading a lengthy, unhelpful reply. Please respect other people's time, and not reply unless you have an actual way to help. Thank you to tachinc1 for being diligent and posting the solution that helped them. That LUT is better than nothing.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 15, 2022 Mar 15, 2022

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Your image illustrates the issue beautifully. Apple uses non-standard settings to display Rec.709/SDR video files. Premiere Pro doesn't. That is where the difference comes.

 

Because the settings used to display a video file are different, the image displayed is different.

 

Apple chose to set the ColorSync color management utility to use a different gamma than is "standard". And another sorta minor thing, but that's the major one you notice. So any video file viewed on a Mac via the QuickTime Player, and the Safari and Chrome browsers will use ColorSync's settings ... and display a Rec.709/SDR video file differently than if the full standard was applied.

 

Which is to say lighter and with less apparent saturation.

 

But VLC and Firefox will typically ignore ColorSync, and because of that, show the image pretty much as Premiere does. On the same computer.

 

I work daily with pro colorists, who are mostly Mac based, and they have to deal with this. And of course, they can't "fix" it either as it's a difference in how the computer displays the same file data.

 

Colorist's of course don't 'grade' an image by a computer monitor via the GPU .... they use breakout devices from BlackMagic or AJA to get the signal out without either the OS or GPU touching it. But their UI monitors will show the issue.

 

It isn't that "Adobe" is doing something odd with the image, it's the Mac itself that's doing something odd to the file.

 

And the reason I mentioned the Rec.709-A thing is to demonstrate that this isn't just "Adobe". BlackMagic's Resolve, the most-used grading tool out there, can't do this either. They give a modified file header rather than a LUT, but both have the same effect.

 

A better image 'inside' a ColorSync managed player, a worse image outside. In other words, 'better' on most Macs but worse on everything else.

 

Yea, that's totally frustrating.

 

Neil

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 22, 2022 Mar 22, 2022

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I'm finding some degree of success when I choose "MXF OP1A" export preset as opposed to apple pro res or h264 or anything else

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2023 Apr 26, 2023

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I'm having the same issue. For the last few months, the Correction LUT was working fine and making the videos match. However, starting a few weeks ago, the Correction LUT seems to be overcorrecting (with more contrast, sharper shadows, more saturation) than the video on the timeline. When I export it without it, it still looks more desaturated than the timeline.

Would anyone know if the Correction LUT has been updated or become obsolete with the new Premiere version?

Thanks

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LEGEND ,
Apr 26, 2023 Apr 26, 2023

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From what I can gather talking with a lot of users on forums and at NAB, and some conversations with the devs, I think Apple may have tweaked their color setups.

 

As things that once gave X behavior repeatedly simply do Y at this point. One of the engineers at NAB had a long conversation with me about this. He's trying to sort out what changed in his Macs, and what changes the devs might do to get users better options.

 

So still trying to puzzle out a temporary workaround.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 05, 2023 Jun 05, 2023

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Hi Neil. Thanks for the reply.
Would you know if there are any updates on a solution for it?
My exports continue to be way off. I wish Apple would be more communicative on those things tbh.

 

Thanks.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 05, 2023 Jun 05, 2023

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Don't we all?!

 

And yes a lot of people are getting different results on Apple gear than a few months back. Which makes it even more weird.

 

Wish I had better advice. @Kevin-Monahan  ... are you free?  😉

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 05, 2023 Jun 05, 2023

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Hi @rcarvalhedo

I got your message. Nothing has changed as far as I know. Is it HDR footage, or not? Can you connect a separate video monitor to check output with? 

Feel free to contact assisted support here: https://helpx.adobe.com/contact.html Be sure to ask for the video queue for the agents trained on digital video applications. Hope that helps. 

Thanks,

Kevin

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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I figured it out!!!!!!!

 

  1.  Go to Lumetri Color Panel
  2.  Go to Settings (next to Edit) in Lumetri Color Panel
  3.  Under Viewer Gamma, change to Quicktime
  4.  Color correct with Viewer Gamma set to Quicktime
  5. Export!!!!!! 

 

I was fighting this for so long!!! Here's me figuring it out on video if you don't easiliy see it yourself - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QirnkZA0ZUY

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LEGEND ,
Jan 05, 2024 Jan 05, 2024

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Just understand, that's a workaround that only "works" on Macs that don't have monitors with Reference modes.

 

It will not look like it does on your system on any non-Mac or any Mac using Reference mode HDTV.

 

So it's fine within your system, and, if the only people that ever view your stuff are on non-reference mode Macs.

 

The problem again was caused by Apple. It's the chosen display transform Apple uses in non-reference mode Retina monitors ... equivalent to gamma 1.96. Against the rest of the universe, which uses 2.4 or 2.2.

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New Here ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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Thank you R Neil Haugen! I am new to video, and was scratching my head on this...  I'm on a 2019 imac, learning both davinci resolve pro and premiere pro.  Thanks to your explanation, I can move on past this issue and continue learning.   Top left in pic is Quicktime, bottom left VLC, and right is of course Premiere. Cheers!  

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LEGEND ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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LATEST

Premiere and VLC are applying "normal" Rec.709 display transform, and of course, QuickTime player is applying the camera transform, as set by Apple for some odd reason.

 

And yea, that's a mess. But think of someone's old TV that was never correctly set to begin with, and has gone off over the last decade ... "you can't fix gramma's green TV".

 

That's something colorists are taught at the beginning of training about. So you grade under the correct working environment and display standards, knowing full well that no one ... not even over broadcast, streaming, or theatrical release ... will ever see exactly what you saw grading it.

 

So why the mess about working to the standards if no one ever sees the same image you do?

 

Simple. IF you work to the standard, then ... on every screen out there, your work will look in relative terms, like all other professionally produced media.

 

Everything you watch on your Mac, that comes froma professional b-cast or streaming production, was graded to the standards. You ain't seeing what that colorist saw, guaruanteed.

 

Have you ever noticed that difference?

 

Of course not! You have no clue what the colorist saw. Now, many colorists often setup their home viewing systems to 'the standards' also. But TVs and monitors these days have so many built-in things to "enhance the viewing experience" that it's reall hard to get away from the TV or monitor juking the image around to give you that "better experience" ... which has nothing to do with how it was graded.

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