Premiere Pro on Mac computers has been giving incorrect colors, saturation, and brightness for a long time in video output. To fix this, it wants us to use a LUT in every export (I know we can create a preset), but this LUT file also doesn't work properly. I've been using another LUT that a Youtuber made, which is working fine. But the official Adobe Fix LUT doesn't work properly. I've experienced this on my old Intel-based Macs too. I'm also experiencing it on my new M1-based Macs. I'm experiencing it with H264 codec and also with H265 codec. I don't want to think about, research, and worry about losing that file anymore. When will this be fixed? Thank you... Regards...
Copy link to clipboard
Here's a thought. The color space on your mac does not apply to the preview monitor on Premiere, and hence since it will affect whatever player you are using, you will see a difference between Premiere and the final export.
Bring back the exported file into premiere and compare it, it should look fairly the same with the edit on the timeline. If it is, you need to play around with your apple color management settings to match it
This doesn't seem like a very healthy and stable method, because now I will have to constantly change the color settings on my Mac and if this only happens in Premier then it is Adobe's responsibility to fix it, I think. When we look at other editing programs besides Apple's own editing program Final Cut, there is no such problem. If a program has a Mac version, it should truly be a Mac version, right?
The problem is Apple's creation and cannot be solved by either Adobe or BlackMagic ... or any colorist or color expert on the planet. Here's the full explanation.
The Rec.709 standard includes both a scene (camera) transform function and a display transform function. Professional applications like Premiere Pro, Resolve, and Avid conform to and assume displays set according to the full Rec.709 standard.
Apple, for some reason, came out with a bizarre "Rec.709" setting in their ColorSync color management utility. It applies the scene (camera) transform to Rec.709 video files but does not apply the required display transform.
And that is the problem, the display of Rec.709 media on your Mac. Effectively your Mac uses a display gamma of 1.96 when the proper standard is 2.4.
The file itself is fine ... and will be seen correctly on any system that displays Rec.709 media correctly, using the 2.4 monitor gamma.
So that file displayed on my highly calibrated & profiled setup will be as you expect.
UNLESS ... you mod it with that LUT!
Or, within Resolve, use the "Rec.709-A" export option. And yes, A is for Apple, which sets a different NCLC tagging on the file, which triggers Macs to use gamma 2.4.
However, on most non-Mac screens, the behavior is triggered to use a dark gamma, so the result on non-Macs is like using the Adobe export LUT: too dark/oversaturated.
If you darken that file on export to look good on your Mac, either via the Adobe LUT or "Rec.709-A" in Resolve ... understand ... that file will now look bad on all properly working Rec.709 compliant screens!
It will be too dark in the shadows, with probably crushed blacks, and way over-saturated.
Because there's simple math involved here: you cannot display a file at two very different gammas and get the same visual appearance on the monitor.
And yes, this is as frustrating for pro colorists (primarily based on Macs) as it is for you, as there isn't any "solution" possible. There are various workarounds & compromises; that's it again because you can't show the file in two different gammas & get the same visual result.
And ... did you realize ... your Mac is doing the same thing to all pro video media you view on that rig as it's doing to your file? Probably ... not ... as it's what you're used to seeing, so it looks 'normal.'
One of those things colorists have to learn from the chute: you have no control over whatever after your media leaves your machine, and no one will ever see exactly what you saw on your device. These are the two guarantees of the pro colorist Life.
First of all, thank you Neil for everything. You're amazing. But I think we're getting off topic. Adobe is aware of this issue and released a LUT called QT Gamma Fix years ago, but this LUT does not provide proper correction. Instead of using Adobe's LUT, we use a LUT from a YouTuber and it works much better. I expect this program, which is used by thousands of people every month with a subscription system, to be more respectable. Even today, when we load a LUT in the Effect section of the export section, it still appears as 'None'. They still haven't fixed this bug. So there's nothing to defend here. It's not Apple's fault, saying Adobe is great seems useless to me.
The entire reason for using/needing that LUT to begin with is Apple's fault. Please understand, it is ONLY a display issue. And only on most newish Macs.
And ... when you apply that LUT, you make that clip look far worse on my Rec.709 compliant PC. And all non-Mac screens. Unusable for broadcast.
Again, because there isn't anything wrong with that file until you apply that LUT to it.
It's the simple difference between applying 1.96 gamma to the display of the file (Mac OS), compared to using gamma 2.4 (ALL non-Mac displays) to display the file.
If the LUT appears incorrect everywhere except on a Mac, why did Adobe release a correction LUT? How is this ironic? After all, if the preview screen and the output look different, it can't be a complete MacOS optimization. I am also aware that we are discussing something pointless here. Because this is a situation that has not changed for years. The examples of bugs that I mentioned to you are also obvious.
That same file... guaranteed .... will look as exactly as it does, within Pr on your Mac, on any Rec.709 compliant system, without any problems whatever.
It is only when displayed on a Mac outside of Premiere that there is a "problem".
The problem is created by using an improper screen gamma to display the file. There's nothing wrong with the file.
That is pure fact, no opinions whatsoever.
So how is Adobe, BlackMagic, or anyone outside of Cupertino supposed to "fix" this?
This whole thing has been discussed by color management experts since Apple made that odd choice.
And do you know of anyone, anywhere, that can create an image file that looks the same with two different display gammas?
I am not saying that the image should look the same on every platform or screen. I know that this is impossible and that adjustments are already made by leaving some headroom for certain values. What is important to me is that the output gives me a preview of the gamma value. The brightness of current screens is very different from the brightness of screens when the bt709 standard was output. So, even the largest company in the world can't be perfect, and there might be a logic behind them making changes. I am also acting accordingly and pursuing the most logical solution process.
This has been tested by people with knowledge and skills and gear way past you or I. And it's always the same result.
On a Mac with the Pr preferences option Display Color Management checked ... the file looks X.
Outside of Pr, the exported file is light/low saturation.
Display the same file on a broadcast Rec.709 compliant screen in any viewer.
The images are very close to the original in Pr.
Display that same file on ANY Mac using ColorSync controlled applications like Qt Player, Chrome and Safari browsers.
That same file looks light and washed out.
Another example ... let's take a pro colorist on a MASSIVE Mac system, with of course a Flanders full reference monitor fed via a BlackMagic output device. With a fully calibrated/profiled Rec.709 view on that Flanders.
Working in Resolve of course. (Fine grading app, it's intended purpose.) And exports a file from Resolve, that they then view on the same Mac via Qt player on the 'normal' Mac monitor.
Guess what they see?
A file lighter and with washed out colors.
So your assumption it's and "Adobe" issue doesn't hold water. It's simply a display issue on certain Macs.
And weirdly ... some of the best color you can get on a screen is on some newer iPads, if you know how to set them up. Turn off several things, turn brightness down, and something about "reference mode" or whatever ... and you can pretty much match the visual from a Flanders.
And also, try this. Send me an export that looks good in Pr, wrong as an export on your system outside of Premiere. I'll load it in both Premiere and maybe VLC and see what I get.