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Forums Apple Final Cut Pro X FCP X and PPro – Same footage, differing color.

  • FCP X and PPro – Same footage, differing color.

  • Tangier Clarke

    May 16, 2020 at 12:07 am

    Folks, I cut a first pass of a project in FCP X 10.4.8. Then I rebuilt it in Premiere Pro (v 14.0.3). What caught my attention was that the footage looked very different. FCP X was brighter with less shadow. PPro’s displaying of the video is significantly darker and more saturated in color.

    As far as I can tell and checked:
    -Sequence settings are the same,
    -Color space is the same (Rec. 709)
    -Playback settings are both at full quality
    -I tried changing editing modes in PPro as a test, but that changed nothing.
    -I am using the same monitor on the same macOS (Catalina)
    -Toggled the Display Color Management in PPro which changed nothing
    -There are no color or any other effects on the video clip.

    I am curious if any of you have any insight on this. I don’t know a lot about macOS color management if if that’s having any impact on the differences.

  • Brad Hurley

    May 16, 2020 at 9:11 am

    My guess is that the two apps are using different gamma settings. Rec 709 is just a color space, but you have to consider gamma as well: Gamma 2.2 would be for viewing in brightly lit environments, like an office; it’s the right gamma for viewing online for example. Gamma 2.4 is for televisions/broadcast, which are normally viewed in a more dim environment. I think cinema is gamma 2.6, which has the lowest brightness and contrast; it’s meant for viewing in a completely dark, controlled environment.

    I don’t know if there’s any way to adjust gamma settings in FCPX; it’s easy to do in Resolve which gives you a lot more control in terms of the input color space and gamma, timeline color space and gamma, and your output/deliverable color space and gamma. I’ve never used Premiere so I don’t know about its settings. But the differences you describe (one being lighter with less contrast and the other being darker with more saturation) really sound like gamma differences to me.

  • Tangier Clarke

    May 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for this Brad. I hadn’t considered this. I’ll investigate more. I wasn’t sure if perhaps there’s a disparity between Apple created apps and other apps in the way they leverage (or don’t leverage) macOS color color management.

    I found this article which I seems informative if nothing else on macOS color management:

    https://www.philiphodgetts.com/2011/09/fcp-x-color-management-secret/

  • Brad Hurley

    May 18, 2020 at 12:47 am

    I just noticed this related thread: https://forums.creativecow.net/docs/forums/post.php?forumid=344&postid=45108&univpostid=45108&pview=t

    I do think it’s a gamma issue. What are you using to view the final rendered files? Whatever you do, don’t use QuickTime, which has a well-documented gamma shift problem.

    Another thing to check is whether you rendered both files (from FCPX and from Premiere) to the same deliverable target — e.g., youtube or broadcast or cinema. If you rendered one for youtube and the other for broadcast, I assume they would have applied different gamma settings.

  • Robert Olding

    May 18, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Color Management while editing and grading video is a difficult thing to get a handle on. It takes me back 20-25 years to the days of attempting to match color in the print world. I believe it’s still more art than science and compromise rules the day.

    Yes, a user would think that all the applications using the same footage, on the same computer, viewing through the same monitors, should all look the same. Reasonably, I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

    Here’s some good reading to help. Just be warned, you’re headed down a deep, deep, rabbit hole.

    1. Taming Color Management

    2. Colour Management for Video Editors

    Robert Olding

    Studio Eight | Director of Photography
    https://www.studioeightmn.com
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Tangier Clarke

    May 18, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Brad, to clarify any confusion, I wasn’t working with exported video when I posted this. I was looking at the same footage in FCP X and Premiere Pro (version 14) and noticed that the video content liked very different; same timeline settings and preferences (where I could) respectively. I then tried it in DaVinci Resolve and noticed that it’s display of the same content was more similar to Premiere Pro. The difference was very subtle. The FCP X playback window was clearly brighter and had less shadow. It was a better image, but didn’t have the saturation the others.

    I am aware of the Quicktime issue with handling color.

  • Tangier Clarke

    May 18, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for those suggestions Robert. Someone else also warned me about the rabbit hole of color management.

    I typically work in FCP X and this all started when I had to use Premiere Pro for a project after having started the project in FCP X. Footage is from a Panasonic S1 and GH5. When it was time to get into some color work I noticed that the footage look different and started questioning how to color this content when they’re not the same between these apps. Which one would be my reference?

  • Brad Hurley

    May 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    I then tried it in DaVinci Resolve and noticed that it’s display of the same content was more similar to Premiere Pro. The difference was very subtle. The FCP X playback window was clearly brighter and had less shadow.

    If I had to guess, maybe FCPX is using Rec 709, Gamma 2.2 for its viewer (It sounds like you’re not sending this out to a calibrated reference monitor, right?), whereas Premiere and Resolve might be using Rec 709, Gamma 2.4.

  • Tangier Clarke

    May 18, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Correct, this is not going to a reference monitor.

  • Brad Hurley

    May 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Okay. I’m 90% sure Resolve uses Gamma 2.4 in its timeline (and viewers) when you choose Rec 709 without specifying a gamma. I wouldn’t be surprised if FCPX is using 2.2 since if you’re using a computer’s built-in monitor you’re likely to be viewing in an office environment as opposed to a dimly lit color grading studio. Not sure about Premiere…

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