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Old February 16th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #1
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Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

I`m about to change working with Vegas Pro 9.e to Premiere 5.5.
With both softwares in my system (Windows 7 ultimate 64 bits), despite Premiere 5.5 works perfectly, the preview window of both softwares shows diferent images reading the same clip in the same monitor.
PP5.5 preview window shows apparently a higher black level (crusher blacks) than the corresponding Vegas preview window (by eye observation), bringing consenquently the impression of higher saturation and contrast. Vegas preview window seems to be correct.
So I did a test rendering two 1920X1080 23,97p h.264 files (from Canon DSLR) to preciselly the same codec (QT DNXHD), reproduced and compared the resulting rendered files.
The difference in "image darkness" between Vegas pro 9.e and PP5.5 rendered files, reproduced in both Vegas and PP5.5 preview windows kept happening.
Now I don`t know what to do, because it`s not a monitoring problem, it`s how PP5.5 read and treat the files. What I know is that I can not use PP5.5 the way it`s reading the files.
Is there anything I missed here - a missed set up in PP 5.5 or anything like that?
Thanks
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

The problem is QuiRcktime.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Thank you Harm, but besides I don`t know what`s QuiRcktime (I know Quicktime), maybe you didn`t got the point.
I mean whatever codec file I watch in Vegas 9.e and PP5.5 preview windows, the diference in darkness shows up explicitly.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Quicktime is the same as QuiRcktime, only the latter name is more accurate to describe its nature, it is full of quirks. It causes a gamma shift that can explain what you are seeing.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Why this gamma shift would happen only inside Premiere?
Anyway, I tested a Neo (Cineform) file in both softwares and the problem happen again.
So I repeat: whatever codec file I watch in Vegas 9.e and PP5.5 preview windows (with the same monitor / setup), the diference in darkness (now GAMA) shows up explicitly.
So how Premiere 5.5 users are dealing with this very serious problem?
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Old February 16th, 2012, 11:26 PM   #6
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Since nobody else has said anything further, I'll chime in with the paltry knowledge I picked up when I thought (briefly) about DSLR video.

The gamma shift is not limited to PPro. I think it even happens with the new FCPX, too. I can no longer remember the technical details, but it has something to do with the QT conversion engine that Apple makes available to other software companies for use in running DSLR conversions to RGB for editing.

With regard to using Neo, you might try posting a question in the Cineform section. Also, I think Taky Cheung had either threads or a blog posting about using DSLRs with PPro and NeoScene (or maybe without NeoScene.) This would have been a couple of years ago.

I think I recall some postings here and elsewhere about some possible solutions. (Perrone Ford's name comes to mind). There were some suggestions for camera settings (maybe shooting Raw?) and for transcoding to DNxHD. The other names I recall as being associated with this were Shane Hurlbut and somebody with a name like Popovski.

That is not much, but it may help you get started with a search on this topic.

One other thing. Since Vegas is able to run the conversions without the gamma shift, have you tried to see what happens if you export a clip from Vegas to a non-Quicktime file format (maybe to a Cineform AVI) and then import that file in PPro?
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Old February 17th, 2012, 07:28 AM   #7
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Thank you Jay.
Yes, if I understood what you said, my first post state: "The difference in "image darkness" between Vegas pro 9.e and PP5.5 rendered files, reproduced (after imported) in both Vegas and PP5.5 preview windows kept happening."
I attached two snapshots (JPEG) from a AVI file, almost the same frame, one rendered in Vegas 9.e and the other one in PP 5.5. Maybe the difference in gama is a bit minor than it would be if from a QT rendered file, but it`s there.
Anyway, if this gama shift happens with a QT in Premiere, it`s a BIG limitation of the software, because nowadays many codecs used by most filmakers / videomakers are from Quicktime .
Attached Thumbnails
Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading-premiere-snapshot-avi.jpg   Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading-vegas-snapshot-avi.jpg  

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Old February 17th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #8
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Agreed that QT has severe limitations and that is why many avoid it like the plague. Not only the gamma shift, but the major drawback is its 32 bit nature, completely destroying the attractiveness of 64 bit NLE's and making for much slower encodes.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Hi Ron,

One thing to keep in mind is that PPro uses Full Range RGB (i.e. when converting YUV422 to/from RGB444).

To my knowledge, Vegas uses SMPTE Range RGB for it's first two Pixel Project Formats (i.e 8-bit and 32-bit Video Level) but Vegas uses Full Range RGB for the third Pixel Project Format (i.e. 32-bit Full Range).

So that could be one of the differences you're seeing with importing/exporting files in Vegas or PPro. ( I don't have Vegas 9 here though)

Also- when you import/export to/from DNxHD MOV files - they also have their own Color Level Setting embedded in the MOV file wrapper - either '601/709' Color Level (i.e .SMPTE RGB) or 'Computer RGB' (Full Range RGB) - and that embedded Color Level Setting in the DNxHD MOV file will determine whether the Avid QT Codecs decode/encode DNxHD to/from either SMPTE Range RGB or Full Range RGB.

Hope the above helps!

Cheers,
Greg

Calibrated Software
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Old February 17th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Thank you Greg and Harm.
Of course I used the same color encoding setings when rendered to DNXHD MOV files to both Vegas and Premiere pro 5.5.
So probably I won`t be able to edit nativelly my h.264 files with Premiere.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:04 AM   #11
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Sorry Ron,

But I don't get your statement:

"So probably I won`t be able to edit nativelly my h.264 files with Premiere."

The only sensible way to edit h.264 material with Premiere is to do it natively, not with ProRes or DNXHD.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:49 AM   #12
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron German View Post
Thank you Greg and Harm.
Of course I used the same color encoding setings when rendered to DNXHD MOV files to both Vegas and Premiere pro 5.5.
So probably I won`t be able to edit nativelly my h.264 files with Premiere.
Here is part of the problem:

Your H.264 originals from that DSLR have already had the MOV container around them. Thus, if you try to edit "natively", QuickTime (or "QuiRckTime", as Harm puts it) will be automatically invoked, slowing down the process significantly. The only way to avoid this would be to somehow remove the MOV container through a third-party application without invoking "QuiRckTime".

The other problem is that your Vegas-processed shots are a bit dull. That's because Vegas (at least through version 9.0e) does not natively handle any color space other than 4:4:4 RGB. Therefore, 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 YV content gets converted to 4:4:4 RGB within the editor. And each color space conversion degrades color quality and/or raises the gamma level up to unnaturally high levels (very weak, gray blacks and washed-out whites). And then, "QuiRckTime" brings that gamma back down to "normal" - but some of the color information would have already been lost by then.

And I believe that you are using an intermediate format because your computer is too slow and too weak to handle native editing of H.264 video, is that correct?
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Old February 17th, 2012, 02:10 PM   #13
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Re: Mystery: PP5.5 (darker) file reading

No Randall, my system is ok, I gess. The operation with Premiere runs quick and the preview is very stable, at least with a not too long timeline and with 3 effects tracks. The render process with PP 5.5 is at least 35% faster than with Vegas.
The main problem is this gama shift.
I has just tested a render to MJPEG A (QT) and the gama shift aparentlly inverted! I mean, Vegas render had its blacks darker, and the Premiere render a litle more washed out overall. Crazy, isn`t it?
But I tend to agree with your opinion on the Vegas behavior - very weak, gray blacks and washed-out whites.
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