Latest post Sun, Nov 7 2010 10:19 PM by Job ter Burg. 16 replies.
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  • Tue, Nov 2 2010 3:58 PM

    • Glans
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    Angry [:@] Had enough of these exports!!

    Hello

    Yesterday I was sitting at the postproduction house for the pilot I edited. We were talking, in a calm way about the FCP vs Avid things. Now, what I love about both FCP and Premier is that they handle footage import and export without screwing colors and gammas up.

    I try to understand why I am defending Avid, why I try to convince that MC5 is better nowadays.

    I cannot do that.

    AMA is laggy, you can't barely work with AMA and Red files, not even at yellow/yellow settings.
    The AMA import screws colors up so I cannot do any online work with uncompressed files.

     

    Now, I got this Blackmagic 10-bit YUV file that I need to cut together with a forgotten effectshot.
    I got the file in DPX format and it's from the graded material. I need the colors and gamma to be untouched throughout the process. I try to conform by linking the blackmagic file through AMA, the effectshot through metafuze to uncompressed 10 bit yuv. Then put them together and render out an uncompressed file with nothing altered in the process.

    Now, this would be a simple process, and it's far from it.

    The link alters the colors, the metafuze doesn't behave right and the output is awful.

     

    I put the blackmagic file into premier instead and it was all instant, no change in colors, no change at all.
    The problem is that I need to put the offline effects onto the onlined material, the new effect shot.
    So I rendered out an uncompressed blackmagic 10-bit yuv file from the DPX material in premier.
    I first tried to import it to 1x1 10-bit, then adding the effects render at the same quality, then output as same as source.

    Now when I put that file into the premiere sequence, it's totally of in gamma compared to the original graded material. WHY!?!?!

    I cannot understand why a workflow that consist of the same type of file and colors as the original would be altered by MC? Its the same type dammit!

    10-bit YUV 1080 25p...   why isn't it the same from start to finish?

    What is the point of AMA with large files if it cannot support an output of the same quality losless to the original file?

     

    Can anyone answer me how I can do this type of online-work so that the quality stays the SAME throughout?
    I'm about to exodus to something else soon, because I'm tired of not being able to support why a project should be edited on MC5. My editing setup has been a pain in the ass for all my customers in the business. There's always some headache with my PC/Avid way of working that doesn't go well.

    Why the hell should I stay with Avid? I love it, love editing on it, but why the hell should I use it when it's so limited for modern times? AMA, great! If it was fluid, hold the quality and wasn't buggy, export, great!! -if it worked, which it don't.

    Avid is like an Iphone, you can do wonderful stuff on it, but how do you get those files our of the damn phone?

    It's time for Avid do create export tools that keeps the quality, it's laughable how bad the export solutions are in Avid. It should be ONE CLICK, now it's third party hell and non-AMA friendly, with coloraltering ***.

    Give this some comments, because I'm really pissed of right now at not being able to do high end professional work with a high end editing suite...

    * Intel core i7 (3,7 Ghz), 16gb RAM, GeForce GTX 580 3gb - workstation. * Macbook Pro Retina 15 (late 2013) 16gb Ram - Laptop * DeckLink Extreme3D with... [view my complete system specs]

    64 bit, GPU acceleration, better AMA, better exports with GPU acceleration, better grading with true secondary and lift gamma gain, higher resolutions (4K, 5K etc.) and a video stream online (for directors being far away on the phone or skype).

    That would blow ANY competition away and it will be future-proof MC for a long time.

  • Tue, Nov 2 2010 7:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Sounds like all the same issues I have with my FCPs multiple file format mangling.

    The strength of Avid was always it's media management.

    We were forced to endure imports but the gain was a rock solid workflow with pure magic media management.

    But the screams where for more FCP like features so now we have AMA via Quicktime and anyone who's used quicktime over the years knows what a crock that is.

    So for me AMA is great for quick access and making sub-selects of clips I want. I then Transcode to a stable Avid resolution. This will be graded for output and is generally pretty naff to start with so I can live with the AMA process in that context.

    If quality and consistency was the requirement I'd import or even more likely use my DS and work uncompressed.

    Smart Tools and AMA are nice additions and I'm sure they will improve over time but what I dread is that Media Composer becomes FCP with all the hurt that can cause.

     

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    Broadcast & Post Production Consultant / Trainer  Avid Certified Instructor VET (Retired Early 2022)

     

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  • Tue, Nov 2 2010 8:18 PM In reply to

    • CreativeControl
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    I agree completely.  I don't work with Red but working with EX files with AMA is half baked at best.  It imports quickly but is sluggish to work with.  Export methods are just silly to say the least and even worse if you mix frame rates.  This is a mess and V5 seems to have done nothing to address it.

    Hope they address this in a serious way soon.

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 9:54 AM In reply to

    • Glans
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Because I work alot on set as a part of the camera team and postproduction workflow I handle filetypes and transcoding throughout the process to finished film.

    As I see it, native editing is the future, it's the fast shoot > edit workflow that makes you stand out on the market. If you could make a rough cut just waiting for that last shot before showing something at the same time people scream "that's a wrap", you will be the best in town.

    Today it's all about speed, it's not about being comfortable while editing, it's not about having a rock solid stable internal workflow within the software that doesn't work fluidly with other softwares. (because Avid doesn't do that except for their own softwares).

    What is needed is a rock solid workflow for filebased fast editing. What Avid Media Composer needs is a way to finish on set, at high resolution and with a graphic accelerated playback. It needs grading tools that work on par or close to professional grading softwares (hinting on the FCP and Color workflow).

     

    My experience on set to post is that Avid lags behind, the FCP boys, still with the non-updated FC Studio are people I cannot debate against. I cannot say why Avid is the better choice, because FCP can do stuff on the fly, directly, on set and finish before wrap. I try to do that, I try to deliver like them, but I cannot compete, because Avid is clumsy, heavy and gives crappy quality output files (exporting same as source from AMA changes the gamma, not on option for professionals, FIX! )

    There is so much needed to be done with Avid and the times are changing. If the next version of Avid lack something like Cuda support I will be like WTF??
    The new processors from Intel, Sandy Bridge have integrated graphics within the processor chip, Nvidia is focusing alot on Cuda and it's THE MOST POWERFUL way to accelerate work with HD, or high resolution cinema.

    Avid may work fine for EX files or stuff like that but to be honest, I have never worked with that, because that's not the market. Every work I have done have been with either Phantom High speed with Aja prores, Arri Alexa, Red digital cinema etc.

    And while people are like "yeah, but I edit with AMA fine, it works great", I cannot say the same. We editors are not editors anymore, we are composing shots, grading and do finish to the finished product. So when I try doing composites with AMA files it's just not possible.

     

    It's funny that when Avid releases such an open thing as QT AMA, people are running around screaming that Avid is now the best and most powerful solution. Got news for you, it is not. Not on the professional market it isn't. People and post-houses are still choosing FCP/FCS if they have a choice. And if Steve Jobs choose to do a major update to FCP with something like cuda support etc. then sorry but how the hell can I compete with that? How can I sit with Avid trying to say to producers and directors "Avid is the way"? It's not possible.

    I put alot of money into Avid products, but I'm worried that it's all for nothing. Avid need to wake up again and see that they cannot surf on the success of Media Composer 5 for too long, they need to step up a few steps more to really become a solution that is a no-brainer to present in front of producers.

     

    I need to be able to say to producers: "well, I work with Avid, it can do this and will enable you to that. Things which isn't possible with FCP. What do you say?"

    Things that a producer cannot turn down on. Things that will make them confident enough to change minds about post production.

    At this time I cannot say to anyone why Avid is better, because frankly my dear, Avid isn't better, that is my experience with the on going digital cinema revolution.

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    64 bit, GPU acceleration, better AMA, better exports with GPU acceleration, better grading with true secondary and lift gamma gain, higher resolutions (4K, 5K etc.) and a video stream online (for directors being far away on the phone or skype).

    That would blow ANY competition away and it will be future-proof MC for a long time.

  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 10:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Glans:
    what I love about both FCP and Premier is that they handle footage import and export without screwing colors and gammas up.
    My experience with FCP/BMD has been quite different.

    Try importing an actual 709 test card in FCP and see if you can preserve levels, including pluge. I could only get that to work in Avid. In FCP, the levels would be far from untouched.

    After some testing, I started figuring that the BMD codec actually has black at 0 rather than 16, where white is still 235. Not sure, just did some testing when some students had weird results when bringing in color graded QT's (from a DI house) into FCP, and ended up with completely wrong black levels.

    Basically, my point is that you may be pointing a finger at Avid for something that is in essence a codec issue.

    Glans:
    I first tried to import it to 1x1 10-bit, then adding the effects render at the same quality, then output as same as source.

    What is crucial here is what your import setting was. If you need the levels to remain untouched, you should have 601/709 selected both during import and export.

    Another Q: as you are getting DPX from the graded sequence, why do the BMD codec intermediate if you want to edit it in MC? Would make more sense to convert to Avid's uncompressed HD, not?

     

    I just cut a feature, and used a FluidMorph effect in it, which the DI house could not reproduce. So they sent me 16bit TIFF files (sequential) for the shot, I imported them into MC in Uncompressed RGB 1:1 10bit, with the 709 option selected, rendered the effect and exported with the 709 option selected. According to the post house, the levels of the TIFF's I sent them were identical to what they sent me.

     

    exporting same as source from AMA changes the gamma, not on option for professionals

    Has that issue been escalated? Is there a thread on it? If not, let's reproduce and escalate, because you are very right that this should not happen.

     

    As for AMA, I'm hoping it will mature, with increasing CPU power. For now, to me, it's an import module with preview capabilities. Great, but I would never actually edit anything AMA unless it's something you need to cut up in a few hours or less. Just the way I look at it now.

    Let me state that I don't disagree with you that speed and flexibility are key in this day and age. That said, in today's world, the incomprehensible amount of ever changing formats, codecs and workflows, I'm not sure that rugged solutions are available anywhere, and I always demand a thorough workflow test for any project I embark on. Because no one likes surprises when the deadline is close.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 12:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Job ter Burg:
    As for AMA, I'm hoping it will mature,

    Why??

    I'm a Liquid user.... or was anyway. When Liquid died and I started poking around for alternatives, MC was one of the trials I downloaded. I loved what MC could do but at the end of the day I went with another NLE because MC's i/o options are just plain awful.

    There are other NLE's out there that can import/edit natively with no fuss or muss and have an absolutely huge selection of export options.... and with the ever-growing selection of formats used out there.... this IMO is the future.

    I could be wrong but I believe Avid dropped the price of MC, produced trial periods.... etc, to be able to better compete in this changing market where serious editing is no longer restricted to the Hollywood big boys who have a decisive and rather singular work flow. AMA I suppose was produced to try and fit MC with a wider set of workflow options. The question however remains.... why AMA and not simply native editing like others are now doing. Are we trying to avoid REALLY bringing MC up to date with large re-writes in the program? I don't know... only Avid can answer that one, but one thing is for sure... other NLE's have proven that things like AMA simply aren't needed and as a result.... rather outdated concepts

    The other sure thing is that what is being heard over and over again by both Avid and FCP users when trying out programs like Adobe CS5 is: "What a time saving pleasure.... just drop what ever you want on the time line and away you go".

  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 12:09 PM In reply to

    • Glans
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Not sure, just did some testing when some students had weird results when bringing in color graded QT's (from a DI house) into FCP, and ended up with completely wrong black levels.

    I got a blackmagic 10-bit uncompressed 1080 25p file from the postproduction house. It's the master file, created from their online machine. It's supposed to be THE master with the correct levels. It's made within their FCP suite. That means, every finish they do for all projects they are working on, feature films, commercials etc. have wrong colors? I really doubt that. Not when they have one of europes best colorists in house.

    What is crucial here is what your import setting was. If you need the levels to remain untouched, you should have 601/709 selected both during import and export.

    It's the same settings, I'm not an idiot bashing at something that isn't there. But I'm not importing and transcoding to anything Avid, because I need it to be untouched. So I import the blackmagic file through AMA, untouched, or so it seems. It differs when I try to do an export, even at truly uncompressed. If I import using either RGB or 709, it still different from the master. And what should be correct: A blackmagic 10-bit RGB to Avids RGB packed 10-bit differs greatly. That is just plain wrong, it should be the same, RGB 10-bit, but it's not. Therefore it's usless, totally usless as a mastering codec.

    Another Q: as you are getting DPX from the graded sequence, why do the BMD codec intermediate if you want to edit it in MC? Would make more sense to convert to Avid's uncompressed HD, not?

    Thing is that it's the master file, master digital copy of the movie. DPX would be too much for a feature film, it would mean harddrives or LTO's of a massive scale, unworkable. The BM-file is to create digital copies, high rez images etc. It's also for recuts and add ons.

     

    The last thing I worked on is pilot for a coming feature film. It features alot of CGI and there were a couple of shots that didn't make it in time for the online. Now, I have the BM-master and need to replace the shots and do some fluid morphs on them that match the offline. So what was my plan?
    I AMA linked the master BM-file, imported the DPX effect into an RGB 10-bit codec (avids). I did the speed effect on them and rendered to the same RGB 10-bit codec. When replacing the shot in the AMA-linked BM-file the grading differs greatly from the DPX files.
    It then differs even more when exporting, making the AMA file washed out and the avid RGB even worse.

    It's unworkable. So I went through Adobe Premiere, replacing the shots and everything, exporting to the same format, not a difference, same file, same grade. What is so hard with that? I really don't get it. In, out, no differense, nothing.

    That said, in today's world, the incomprehensible amount of ever changing formats, codecs and workflows, I'm not sure that rugged solutions are available anywhere, and I always demand a thorough workflow test for any project I embark on. Because no one likes surprises when the deadline is close.

    Well, try Adobe Premiere then, it's rugged, fast accelerated playback, can load virtually any format and is in/out non-destructive. Avid is still clumsly, it doesn't deliver what it says with MC5, on paper yeah, in real life it's useless. Can't do any of the intended stuff that was promised and Avid doesn't say a word.
    A professional solution? In compare with premiere and FCP, that sounds like a joke. Avid is still an offline solution, but it will die in time if things like this doesn't get fixed, I'm getting tired of this, deliver the promised goods, that is what the others are doing... and at a lower price tag.

     

    * Intel core i7 (3,7 Ghz), 16gb RAM, GeForce GTX 580 3gb - workstation. * Macbook Pro Retina 15 (late 2013) 16gb Ram - Laptop * DeckLink Extreme3D with... [view my complete system specs]

    64 bit, GPU acceleration, better AMA, better exports with GPU acceleration, better grading with true secondary and lift gamma gain, higher resolutions (4K, 5K etc.) and a video stream online (for directors being far away on the phone or skype).

    That would blow ANY competition away and it will be future-proof MC for a long time.

  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 12:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Glans:
    I got a blackmagic 10-bit uncompressed 1080 25p file from the postproduction house. It's the master file, created from their online machine. It's supposed to be THE master with the correct levels. It's made within their FCP suite. That means, every finish they do for all projects they are working on, feature films, commercials etc. have wrong colors?

    Not as long as they stay in that codec, or output over HD-SDI.

    Glans:
    It's the same settings,

    OK. But is it 601/709 on both ends? Please don't take offense, just trying to find out what it is you've been doing.

    Glans:
    If I import using either RGB or 709, it still different from the master.
    And I think that has to do with the BMD codec. Since it has blacks at 0 and whites at 235 (at least, in my tests it seemed that way), these will never be imported in Avid correctly. But also, you can't import graphics to that codec correctly (in FCS), in my experience. If you doubt me, check the test TIF I linked to before.

    However, if you import as if they were 709 and export as if it were 709, black should stay black at 0 and white should stay white at 235. At least, that has been my experience. Within the Avid, the levels will look wrong on the WFM, as well as on the Avid's HD-SDI outputs, as Avid expects blacks at 16. But the resulting file should have the exact same levels as the incoming file.

    Not sure what is happening in AMA. If you feel that AMA changes the gamma incorrectly, regardless, let's try and reproduce that, so it can be escalated.

    Glans:
    A blackmagic 10-bit RGB to Avids RGB packed 10-bit differs greatly.

    I'm not disputing that. 

    Therefore it's usless, totally usless as a mastering codec.
    Again, you're blaming the Avid codec, whereas the BMD in my experience is the one that is deviating from the 16-235 standards, making it incompatible.

     

    Glans:
    So I went through Adobe Premiere, replacing the shots and everything, exporting to the same format, not a difference
    I take it that Premiere allowed you to work in the BMD codec natively, unlike MC, right? So there would be no changes at any point? Or am I missing something?

     

    Finally, we all deserve our ranting time, but from what you write, I do wonder why you are working in Avid at all. If you need a fast file converter, MC is not it. I'd never recommend it for those tasks.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 3:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Glans:
    ...what I love about both FCP and Premier is that they handle footage import and export without screwing colors and gammas up.

    I love Avid, but this is going to become a bigger and bigger issue as more clients are wanting delivery as a file instead of on tape.    For example, when exporting as a Quicktime Movice,  I have to take the extra step of adding a brightness filter on export to correct for the gamma shift.  Sometimes this takes some trial and error to get the filter setting right.   You could make the argument  that FCP (being Mac based) handles Quicktime better than a PC-based Avid, but if Premier can do it on a PC, why not Avid?

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 4:54 PM In reply to

    • jef
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Job ter Burg:
    Glans:
    A blackmagic 10-bit RGB to Avids RGB packed 10-bit differs greatly.

    Glans, a question for you so that I can try to understand your situation.

    What type of color space did you chose for this film in the Avid Project Setup?  Was it YCbCr 709 or RGB 709?

    While waiting for that info I will say that I agree with Job about the Blackmagic codec.  I have mixed results using it on projects and this in the AVID DS - quite different color handling than MC there.  Some good results, some bad.

    I will also say that some recent testing of AMA and ProRes into Avid (search for that thread if you care) shows that useing AMA to bring ProRes into a project was dead on color accurate while the traditional import of the ProRes file was not.  My point being that AMA does work in some situations.  In fact maybe better than Avid's original tools.

    Jef

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 6:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    in some situations

    And I think that's what's going to be our main worry for the next decades. What works in what conditions and for which workflows. Needing to test each and every step in the workflow because you basically never know what is happening under the hood.

    Media Composer Symphony | PT Ultimate | Win10 HPZ | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 7:16 PM In reply to

    • jef
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Job ter Burg:

    in some situations

    And I think that's what's going to be our main worry for the next decades. What works in what conditions and for which workflows. Needing to test each and every step in the workflow because you basically never know what is happening under the hood.

    That is SO true.  And with all the variables, it gets harder to test and setup a solid pipeline.

    Jef

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 7:30 PM In reply to

    • gumbaedit
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    " Glans:

    ...what I love about both FCP and Premier is that they handle footage import and export without screwing colors and gammas up.

     

    I love Avid, but this is going to become a bigger and bigger issue as more clients are wanting delivery as a file instead of on tape.    For example, when exporting as a Quicktime Movice,  I have to take the extra step of adding a brightness filter on export to correct for the gamma shift.  Sometimes this takes some trial and error to get the filter setting right.   You could make the argument  that FCP (being Mac based) handles Quicktime better than a PC-based Avid, but if Premier can do it on a PC, why not Avid?"

    ____________

     

    I just went thru rounds of banging my head on a table before coming across the fix for QT that keeps the QT I output from being washed out on playback on a mac, so I know your pain.  However..... it was a QT output from FCP that was giving me the problems, and it's a known issue with QT.  Yes, if you don't manage your import setting in Avid you are likely to have issues with your final media, but it's also a problem that FCP has in it's own form as well.

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 7:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    gumbaedit:
    I just went thru rounds of banging my head on a table before coming across the fix for QT that keeps the QT I output from being washed out

    Just curious...  What is your "fix?"   (I apply a negative brightness filter on export from Avid to QT, but I'm always looking for a better way...)

    MC 2018.12.3 with Symphony, Matrox MX02 Mini Max, Win 7 Pro, HP Z800 2x6-Core 3.2Ghz Xeon, 48GB ram, Quadro K4200, SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD as system... [view my complete system specs]

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  • Sun, Nov 7 2010 8:00 PM In reply to

    • gumbaedit
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    Re: Had enough of these exports!!

    Terry,

         I'm too lazy to rewrite everything that I put in the email to my client, so here it is copied and pasted:

     

     

    "The problem with the gamma shift in Quciktime is a known OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and Quicktime X problem.  Here is what you do.  First, look at the animation codec quicktime.  It should be correct 99% of the time.  Second, open any of the files in Quicktime 7.  Then, open the quickime 7 preferences.  At the bottom of the General settings page, activate "enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility."  That should do it when you open the files in Quicktime 7.  As for Quicktime X, either avoid using it or look at the animation codec version only.  

    Quicktime X is has a reputation for not living up to the hype, as you can see from this problem."

     

     

     

    My understanding is that it's a problem of 1.8 vs. 2.2 gamma.  I can't quote which is which right now, but I found the answer on creative cow somewhere.  I also made wmv files as well, but since I don't have a native wmv player (only vlc or flip for mac conversion) I couldn't check it to see if it should up in windows media outputs as well.

     

    That's the problem in mac.  Not sure how it translates to PC.

     

     

     

    6 core Late 2013 MacPro 3.0 gHz, 16 gigs RAM, MC 8.8.5 on OSX 10.12.4, DNxIO, Flanders CM250, BMD Desktop Video version 10.9.1 [view my complete system specs]
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