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Activity Forums VEGAS Pro .mp4 files render out with more contrast and darker

  • .mp4 files render out with more contrast and darker

    Posted by James Adams on November 7, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Hope someone can help me get better video renders that match the time line color and contrast better. I’m rendering out some family footage of my boys when they were younger.

    I put a color balance and curves to correct the lighting. The original source footage is from the Canon 5d Mark ii, 1920x1080p 29.970fps. I had the color and contrast exactly how I wanted it in the sony vegas video timeline preview. I also checked my video scopes waveform and it looked like I had all my colors/luminance above 0 and below 100 (no pure black pixels & nothing blown out).

    I rendered using the sony vegas template
    “MainConcept AVC/AAC (*.mp4)”
    “Internet HD 1080P”

    As you can see in the picture my final video playback does not match what I had done in the timeline. It is generally darker/more contrast than how I want to the video to look (also windows media player is the worst at representing colors…why?). I’ve had this problem with other projects that I’ve worked on where the final render did not match what I saw in the timeline. Its a bit frustrating as I’ve not found any answers that online that have helped me with this.

    So please any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also please don’t bother telling me that you like the more contrast look because that does not solve my problem. In my mind my final render should match what I see in the timeline (is that a wrong assumption?).

    Johnny Chevy replied 11 months, 3 weeks ago 6 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Danny Hays

    November 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I get the same results when rendering to mp4 in Vegas. You can add a brightness and contrast effect, experiment until you get the desired results and save it as a preset for future projects.

  • Shawn Bossick

    November 8, 2011 at 7:06 am

    James & Danny I’m not sure if you guys know this or not but Vegas uses a color scheme of 0-255 WELL what does this mean, this means if you are using your scopes, which you should be to determine where your blacks & whites are & your scopes settings are set to 0-255 which they should be UNLESS you are using a secondary professional monitor, assuming you are both viewing & color correcting within the Vegas preview window you are adjusting to what you are seeing now, which is Vegas using a color index from 0-255
    well TV/DVD/Mp4/windows media player/quick time?etc etc
    does not use a color scheme of 0-255 it uses 16-235
    so this is how you correct the situation
    continue to do what you always do within Vegas to get things to look as good as possible THEN when you are finished & ready to render your product you need to install the levels plugin on your master video bus track, then select the preset (COMPUTOR RGB TO STUDIO RGB)
    now when you select this setting things will change immediately
    & it wont look as good anymore within Vegas BUT it will everywhere else because it converted your 0-255 setting to 16-235
    NOW you can enjoy your product with the same look you were digging in VEGAS

  • James Adams

    November 8, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Shawn, Thanks so much for that explanation. In my research on the web I had seen these numbers but really didn’t know what they were talking about. You explained clearly and have given me a solution on how to fix it. I’ll give this a shot and really excited to solve this problem.

  • James Adams

    November 8, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Ok I just ran a test following your instructions and it looks like it worked great. When I put the VLC player right next to my vegas preview window and unchecked the levels off of the bus it was exact same image. Now windows media player still had the extra contrast but I’d guess it has to do with some WMP setting. Anybody know what setting I can change or turn off so it doesn’t “enhance” the video.

    But thanks again for all your help.

  • Shawn Bossick

    November 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    [James Adams] “Now windows media player still had the extra contrast but I’d guess it has to do with some WMP setting”

    James glad it’s helping
    OK now did you notice that when you did this procedure that windows media player also IMPROVED yes?

    you should also see a big difference in windows
    are you saying that it improved BUT it’s still just a little off only in the windows media player?

  • James Adams

    November 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Yes the windows media player was better but it still has more contrast. I’m guessing it’s a WMP issue but not sure.

  • Stephen Crye

    November 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm


    The default color depth for .mp4 in Vegas is 8-bit. I’ve been using 32-bit float recently, and although the render times are longer, I like the results better. The setting is both in the properties for the project and in the Custom for the .mp4 settings.

    Not if this will help,just thought I would mention it.


    Win7 Pro X64 on Dell T3400 MultiTB SATA 8 GB RAM Vegas 10e x64 DVDA 5.2 Sony HDR-CX550V

  • Dr Greenlaw

    November 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you for the helpful explanation and solution!

    This ‘problem’ has been bugging me for years and I had no idea why it happens. Now that I understand how to fix it properly, I’m tempted to go back and re-render a bunch of old stuff. 🙂


    Artist/Parter | Little Green Dog –
    Senior Digital Artist | Rhythm & Hues Studio – http://www.rhythm

  • Johnny Chevy

    July 25, 2023 at 11:23 pm

    The video I’m using is too bright to start off with, so I brought the offset down to -15 so it looks good. My question is in terms of preserving quality, is it better to keep it at 0, since when I render to mp4 it darkens it anyways, or does it not make a difference, to bring it down to -15 and then add the levels, which will bring it back up?

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