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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:39 PM   #1
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Gamma 1.8 or 2.2?

As I understand it, Macs have traditionally defaulted to a display gamma of 1.8 while PCs and TVs are supposed to be 2.2. I'm editing video on my MBP using only the built-in LCD. Yes, I know I should be using a calibrated video monitor, but when I'm operating out of my tiny Tokyo apartment or on the road, it just isn't an option for now.

Using the default 1.8 gamma monitor profile, everything on the MBP's screen looks brighter and less saturated (more washed out) than it does when I play the same file on my PC or on other TVs. You would think that FCP or QT would be aware of the 1.8 vs 2.2 gamma issue and adjust the video display to look correct, but apparently that isn't happening.

Using the Apple Display Calibrator Assistant in OSX, I can choose to calibrate my MBP's display to 2.2, and now the brightness and saturation matches much better with what I'm seeing on other displays.

My question is, am I asking for trouble by setting my MBP to 2.2 gamma? Is there any disadvantage to doing so? Or is that what everybody does and I just lucked into it by accident? :)
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:59 PM   #2
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Jason,

If you're editing on FCP then you'll have a very important monitor preset that will give you what you want:

In System Preferences Monitor Color tab, select the "NTSC 1953" preset; this will give you the closest monitor response when editing.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:53 AM   #3
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IIRC FCP assumes the monitor is 1.8 and adjusts the gamma of image in the Viewer and Canvas to make the footage look like it would if you were using a display w/2.2 gamma. This is why footage viewed in QT will look different than when viewed inside FCP. Of course now there is a checkbox in QT that basically says, "Make QT display video the same way FCP does". So where does that leave us if you change your display to 2.2 but FCP still assumes 1.8?

This is one of those situations where you just want to say, "I appriciate you trying to help but you are just making things worse!" ;)


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Old April 15th, 2008, 05:52 AM   #4
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"FCP assumes the monitor is 1.8 and adjusts the gamma of image in the Viewer and Canvas to make the footage look like it would if you were using a display w/2.2 gamma."

Interesting statement. What happens if you actually calibrate your display to 2.2??? Does that just screw it up more or what???

Also, Did you have to do anything "special" to get the NTSC 1953 profile??? I just checked... I don't have that one.

Mark
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Old April 15th, 2008, 06:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Keck View Post
Also, Did you have to do anything "special" to get the NTSC 1953 profile??? I just checked... I don't have that one.

Mark
If you have FCP 5 or 6 on your machine then you should be seeing that as an option.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
If you have FCP 5 or 6 on your machine then you should be seeing that as an option.
I do (FCP 6)... and I don't.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Keck View Post
"FCP assumes the monitor is 1.8 and adjusts the gamma of image in the Viewer and Canvas to make the footage look like it would if you were using a display w/2.2 gamma."

Interesting statement. What happens if you actually calibrate your display to 2.2??? Does that just screw it up more or what???
Not sure. I guess the only way to see is to take a screen shot inside FCP w/the display at 1.8 then switch to 2.2 and see if the screen shot looks different from FCP.

Quote:
Also, Did you have to do anything "special" to get the NTSC 1953 profile??? I just checked... I don't have that one.

Mark
In your display preferences make sure the "Show profiles for this display only" is unchecked.


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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Andrew Kimery View Post
In your display preferences make sure the "Show profiles for this display only" is unchecked.
It is.... If I have time tonight I'll send a picture. I'm on a win box at the moment.

One quick thought... maybe it only appears if you have a ACD??? Which I don't.

Mark
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Old April 15th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mark Keck View Post
It is.... If I have time tonight I'll send a picture. I'm on a win box at the moment.

One quick thought... maybe it only appears if you have a ACD??? Which I don't.

Mark
Hmmm... I just checked on one of Macs here w/o an ACD and it showed all the profile presets. We are running 10.4.11.


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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #10
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10.4.11... I'm not sure missing this matters if I cal the monitor.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 10:15 PM   #11
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Interesting... you would think that something this crucial would have a definite answer but apparently it isn't so simple. :)

Andrew, I assumed the same as you, that FCP would be advanced enough to automatically compensate, since all Macs ship at 1.8 and all PCs/TVs/monitors are supposed to be at 2.2. However, since the FCP canvas looked far too dark/washed out when calibrated at 1.8 but looks very close to other monitors when calibrated to 2.2, I have to assume that FCP is NOT automatically adjusting the display to compensate, or at least isn't doing it correctly. If this is an option somewhere in the FCP settings, I couldn't find it.

Robert, I tried the NTSC 1953 calibration preset and it looked far too purple in terms of color balance on my MBP. However I confirmed that at least on grayscale, the gamma of that preset is 2.2, so using my 2.2 calibration with colors better suited for the MBP seems to be on the right track.

I'll attach my calibration profile if anybody wants it, but since every display is different, it would only look correct for those of you using the same LCD model (even MBPs with identical specs ship with various LCD models from different manufacturers.)
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