Latest post Thu, Jul 14 2011 8:20 AM by Job ter Burg. 113 replies.
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  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 8:04 AM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
    I doubt it's just sloppy engineering
    I don't. I have seen different version of QT display the same clip differently. I have no faith in QT color accuracy.
    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 9:46 AM In reply to

    • Helena Trix
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    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Job ter Burg:
    scott auerbach:
    In the first screencap, all I did was export the file from Media Composer, choosing 601/709 levels,
    What codec or format did you export to? Don't tell me it was ProRes or Apple H264. If it was, try again using 'Same As Source', avoiding anything like ProRes or Apple H264.

    Thank You for this valuable information. I always thought I was going crazy when I saw these gamma shifts.
    So when I break this down:

    1. Quicktime causes incorrect display of colors 
    2. Apple ProRes and Apple H264 cause shifts of color

    But then it seems like there is some sort of problem when uploading videos to an online broadcaster (youtube and/or vimeo) who require H264?

    And my second question: Lets say you shoot on a 5DMKII, the recorded files are also in H264. 
    But Avid consolidates them to DNxHD 85 X (example), then during the export I have to compress it back to H264 again for online use. 

    Is there a workaround on this? It seems almost impossible to work with H264 material and upload it without gamma shifts.

     

    Mac Pro 32GB Lion MC 7.02 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 10:01 AM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    If you use the Main Concept H264 codec (available in Squeeze), that tends to be much better (alhtough I did not do testing with color bars and waveform monitors on that). So first export Same-As-Source or QT Reference, then encode with Squeeze. I've once tested what happens when you roundtrip through Apple's H264, and it was not good. As it works correctly with other codecs, it must be a codec issue.
    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 10:40 AM In reply to

    • tho_wi
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    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
    The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it's the other way around.  There's got to be a reason why QT Player changes levels (and makes those adjustments in a non-linear fashion), and I doubt it's just sloppy engineering.
    the reason is QT expects Gamma 1.8. And this is still true for Snow Leopard (which is Gamma 2.2 by default). Consequently QT can display files correctly when you are on a Gamma 1.8 setup. Which is infact absurd as nobody would use Gamma 1.8 for video.

    This is why Job was asking for yout QT Prefs ("enable FC Studio settings" ... or whatever the thing is called; I don't have that so I can't look it up).

    Now, on Windows QT behaves different. This is why your idea of a "fixed" gamma-curve won't work. It would also not work for playback on a Gamma 1.8 monitor on Mac (as here, again, QT displays correct levels + colors - but it also depends on the codec of the mov file).

     

    FWIW ... roundtrip in and out Avid MC with the correct settings does not change levels or colors. It's consistent throughout the workflow and even cross platform. At least this goes for working with Avid codecs. As soon as ProRes or QT-transcodes are in the mix things get messed up. Same goes for Apple H.264 ("x264" works fine for me so far - http://www.macupdate.com/find/mac/x264 ). IMHO...

     

     

    MC 6.5.3 & 7.0 . Matrox Mini . OS X 10.8.4 . 8x2.26GHz Nehalem . 24GB RAM . Radeon HD 5870 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 10:49 AM In reply to

    • Tim
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    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Just to ad to this....I to have had the lag problem as well, as I mentioned before but on PC with vista64bit & MC503 system specs below....the 2 formats I imported in via AMA was DNxHD & 10bit uncompressed AVI both were long clips and both made my system lag/hang.....but shorter clips in the same format seemed to handle okay, I had to transcode the long clips to be able to use them properly, kinda enoying.

     

     

  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 2:18 PM In reply to

    • tho_wi
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    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    hbrock:
    Export, choose RGB levels.
    alternatively add a curve on an additional video track to push the tv levels to computer levels. Render the effect at 16bit. Export as rec709.

    Provides much less banding/posterization artefacts than expanding levels on export as the latter is only 8bit.

    MC 6.5.3 & 7.0 . Matrox Mini . OS X 10.8.4 . 8x2.26GHz Nehalem . 24GB RAM . Radeon HD 5870 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 3:42 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Job ter Burg:
    What codec or format did you export to? Don't tell me it was ProRes or Apple H264. If it was, try again using 'Same As Source', avoiding anything like ProRes or Apple H264.

    ProRes.

    Uh-oh.

    Okay, let's be honest here.  ProRes and H264 are *********THE********* worldwide standard delivery formats.  If Avid can't export to those formats and make it come closer to the original than what I just showed, then it's useless to me as an editing platform.  Really.  Useless.  ....shakes head in amazement

    If I open the ProRes export in Quicktime Player (which we've proven displays files brighter than it should) and place it side-by-side with Avid's Source/Record window, it's darker even in Quicktime Player than in Avid!

    2.7 GHz iMac Intel Core i5, 20GB RAM, G-Tech eSpeed RAIDs, AJA ioXT, ATTO Thunderlink, RED Rocket accelerator [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 4:07 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
    ProRes and H264 are *********THE********* worldwide standard delivery formats.
    They are indeed very common formats, and both suck in combination with QT (you asked for honesty). For H264, just use a better QT codec than the standard Apple H264. Not sure what the workaround for ProRes is.

    However, both Apple H264 and Apple ProRes in combination with QT are suffering from all kids of Gamma issues. It's not the Avid that can't handle them, it's the QT transcoding that incorrectly interprets and remaps color values.

    Avid is NOT doing the encoding to Apple H264 or Apple ProRes, Avid is simply sending whatever it exports through the QT encoder, which uses whatever codec you have chosen. Avid cannot fix codecs that it does not own.

    For a simple check, use QT Pro to encode any QT (dare I say, even a ProRes one), and use the Apple H264 codec (or choose AppleTV or iPhone formats) to encode for web delivery. You will likely see a similar gamma change happen, depending on your platform.

    So again, I offer: the BEST way to encode something you have done in Avid is to send it OUT of the Avid in either Same-As-Source 709 (unchanged, as is) or QT Reference. Then take that file, and use an application like Sorensen Squeeze to manipulate it to correctly be displayed in the delivery format of your choice.

    If you stick to the export module in Avid (or FCP), you are using the QT export engine, and if you choose certain codecs, those codecs may be messing with your export in several ways (I can't get a properly leveled export in Apple DV codec in its current incarnation).

    Again, if you insist on blaming Avid for these gamma issues, that's fine, but incorrect. Make sure you use codecs that do not get you into trouble.

    scott auerbach:
    it's darker even in Quicktime Player than in Avid!
    Again, do NOT judge how things look in the UI's; a multitude of display 'corrections' (wanted or not, correct or not) can be happening there.

    I've said it before, I recommend it once again: check things on the (built in) waveform monitor. Then use an encoding application to encode for delivery. As Avid (in the full boxed version of MC) comes with Squeeze, that's a viable option.

    P.S.: I hate where file based delivery has been taking us so far. I received an ident from a national broadcaster, which they made available in IMX50 (which required me to buy Calibrated's plugin to open) and in H264. So they felt it was OK to supply it in a Mac-only codec and in a codec that is made for web delivery (this H264 was a VERY compressed file in PAL size). The IMX50 was in decent 709, the H264 was completely off, with illegal blacks and whites (and it had some banding issues). When I mentioned that, they said I was the first to complain. When I watch their programming, their idents look different on each show. Half of the time, the blacks are crushed and the whites are clipped. I don't mind the banding as the ident is so ugly it makes you cry anyway. Still, why we have come down from decent standards to this jungle is beyond me.

    P.P.S. What bothers me a bit is that folks easily assume that QT and FCP can't have any flaws, it can't be lousy programming, but that Avid CAN have flaws and lousy programming. If you still feel it's Avid's problem, do me a favor, take the Belle-Nuit chart, and import it into FCP and look at the waveform monitor. Tell me if there is a single way to make the chart work and leave its levels intact. And that's just bringing stuff IN....
    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 5:18 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Job ter Burg:
    Still, why we have come down from decent standards to this jungle is beyond me.

    A daily question and frustration I share with you.

    And I see no indications that things will get better any time soon and this is what worries me the most as I would expect that "the industry" after around 50 years of colour in video would understand the importance of standards.

    From the old Apple Quadro 950 to HP Z8xx. My current own systems: 1x Z420 E5 1650 32GB memory quadro K2200, 1x XW8600, 2x 3.0Ghz Quadcore, 24GB memory... [view my complete system specs]

    Jeroen van Eekeres 

    Technical director, Broadcast support engineer, Avid ACSR.

     

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  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 6:15 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Job ter Burg:
    it's the QT transcoding that incorrectly interprets and remaps color values.

    Avid is NOT doing the encoding to Apple H264 or Apple ProRes, Avid is simply sending whatever it exports through the QT encoder, which uses whatever codec you have chosen. Avid cannot fix codecs that it does not own.

    Got ya.  Clearly FCP must employ some additional processing when it uses the QT encoder, because its outputted ProRes and H264 doesn't experience nearly that much of a shift between the appearance in FCP's UI and the appearance in QT Player.  In fact, I can go through 10 iterations of ProRes export-reimport-reëxport in FCP and have the 10th iteration match the first.  So if FCP applies some pre-processing before it hits the QT encoder, MC can too.  Avid has merely chosen to not invest in that.  Which sounds like a political decision, not one driven by the needs of editors.  It brings me back to the suggestion I made earlier (and which I'm sure has been made plenty of times before): have a third export option beyond 601 and RGB... an option tailor-made to remap levels so they display as expected in Quicktime Player.

    As someone who also believes in clean, pure signal flow (and didn't realize how much insanity was going on in Quicktime under the skirt), I understand your frustration with this.  But at some point one has to recognize that the world has voted, and accommodate that decision.  If the town has decided to all own dogs, the town will have to hire poop-scoopers.  At some point it's easier than screaming every day because all your neighbors' dogs poop in your very clean yard.

     

     

    On scopes & measurements:

    I know you keep wanting me to use scopes to understand/control what's going on, rather than looking at the UI, but I have to insist that in a non-broadcast, non-TV, computer-based project, the ONLY thing the client sitting behind me cares about is having the final product play IN QUICKTIME PLAYER and look the same as it did in Avid, and on-set.  They don't understand what's happening in codecs and UIs, and they don't care about level remapping.  They just want me to FIX IT so the screen in Avid looks like the monitor did on set, and so the final export in Quicktime Player looks the same, too.

    If I say, "well, everything looks too dark or too contrasty while we're working in Avid, but it will be perfect when we output, because Quicktime is all screwed up," that may be true, but it doesn't help me.  If I say "even though you spend 5 hours color correcting this, it's going to look quite different in Quicktime Player because Avid has no control over that," it may be true but it doesn't help me.  Talk to anyone who's had a client on-set for a RED One shoot where the client monitor didn't have the Rec 709 LUT applied.  You can explain RAW color and Log curves and histograms until you're blue in the face about what's going on, but all the client cares about is wanting to see a pretty picture just like how it will finally appear.  NOW.

    I'm not saying scopes shouldn't be used, or that they're not a VERY valuable tool.  I completely understand the value of knowing what's going on and using that knowledge as a management tool.  What I'm saying is that, regardless of all the crazy, shifty, bizarre stuff that seems to be happening with Quicktime, Apple is managing it in a way that the image displayed on an Apple monitor in Final Cut looks nearly identical to the exported ProRes viewed in QT Player.  And in my world, that is the ONLY thing the client cares about for a non-broadcast project.  If I explain that Apple applies some special sauce to clean up its own bizarre inconsistencies, and that Avid can't do that because Apple won't share its secret sauce recipe, and because lots of projects don't involve Quicktime at all....  honestly, I think half my clients won't believe me, and the other half will say, "Wow, that's amazing.  But I don't care."  And they'll make me cut all their future projects in FCP.  I'm not saying it's RIGHT.... I'm saying it's REALITY.  :-(

    2.7 GHz iMac Intel Core i5, 20GB RAM, G-Tech eSpeed RAIDs, AJA ioXT, ATTO Thunderlink, RED Rocket accelerator [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 6:23 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    tho_wi:
    As soon as ProRes or QT-transcodes are in the mix things get messed up. Same goes for Apple H.264 ("x264" works fine for me so far - http://www.macupdate.com/find/mac/x264 ).

    Unfortunately, I think the last time I was able to provide any client/collaborator a file in Avid codec was about 8 years ago.  Everyone demands ProRes or H264.

    Thanks for the nod about x264.  RED also recommends it over H264.  I have not played with it yet, but I'll try it.

    2.7 GHz iMac Intel Core i5, 20GB RAM, G-Tech eSpeed RAIDs, AJA ioXT, ATTO Thunderlink, RED Rocket accelerator [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 6:30 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
     Avid has merely chosen to not invest in that.  
    If this is going to be about assumptions, I'm going to have to pass.

    I sympathize with your frustration, but unlike you, I don't see how Avid can solve a QT issue when they don't own or build QT. They have built ONE QT codec, and that seems to work more than just fine. AFAIK it was Apple that built QT. It was Apple that built the ProRes QT codec.
    scott auerbach:
    Apple is managing it in a way that the image displayed on an Apple monitor in Final Cut looks nearly identical to the exported ProRes viewed in QT Player.
    FCP is built on QT. So it may use the same miscalculations. Again, try to import the Belle Nuit chart in FCP and tell if it looks right on the WFM (it won't). Export it to ProRes and see what happens.

    However, linking to P2 or EX has always worked for me. It brought stuff in at the correct levels (easy to tell that from the WFM). Looked wonderful on my Rec709 calibrated plasma client monitor over HD-SDI. On my home setup, on the non-calibrated computer screens, when switching to Full Screen Playback with the 'expand luma range' option ticked, it seemed to look correct as well.

    I'm not trying to persuade you to keep editing in Avid if it doesn't work for you. I was merely trying to share some background information about how I found stuff to work. I was trying to point out that you carefully examine all the steps that are in the mix: ingest/Import, color level interpretation, UI display, export options, codec-related color issues. I'm not asking that you share that information with your clients as an excuse, I was hoping it might be helpful to you.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 6:42 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    Job ter Burg:
    I have seen different version of QT display the same clip differently. I have no faith in QT color accuracy.

    If my theory is correct, that doesn't surprise me.  If Apple is tweaking QT Player's response to make their displays look better, then QT Player will change as their monitors do.  Since Apple assumes a 3-4 year maximum lifespan before you buy a new Mac, they're not concerned about consistency over time.  The past is dead, as far as they're concerned.  So any time there's a significant change in the lumen response of their panels, they simply change QT Player.

    Madness, I know.  But I suspect there is a method to that madness.

    2.7 GHz iMac Intel Core i5, 20GB RAM, G-Tech eSpeed RAIDs, AJA ioXT, ATTO Thunderlink, RED Rocket accelerator [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 6:45 PM In reply to

    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
    I suspect there is a method to that madness.
    If you do find out, please let the world know. You're far from the only one wondering what the h*ll that method is.
    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Jul 10 2011 7:08 PM In reply to

    • tho_wi
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    Re: A month of zero results from Tech Support

    scott auerbach:
    If my theory is correct
    it is not.

     

    Screenshots from the said belle nuit chart.

    Just looking at the white 235 patch (the colormeter was placed on the white 235 patch; of course you don't see the mouse cursor in screenshots).

    Monitor (+ Color Sync) set to Gamma 2.35: http://www7.pic-upload.de/10.07.11/rqbs12m6alme.jpg

     

    Monitor (+ Color Sync) set to Gamma 1.8 - same computer, same monitor, same QT player, same file. Just switched the system gamma: http://www7.pic-upload.de/10.07.11/puthaw52e8h.jpg

     

     

     

     

     

    MC 6.5.3 & 7.0 . Matrox Mini . OS X 10.8.4 . 8x2.26GHz Nehalem . 24GB RAM . Radeon HD 5870 [view my complete system specs]
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