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Old November 16th, 2009, 07:22 AM   #1
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FCP Canvas Window looks much darker than exports.

Hi All,

I've noticed recently that FCP is displaying clips a lot darker than the original QT. Or that QT is displaying it a lot lighter.

I've attached a picture showing the same frame in Canvas and QT player.

Why is there such a shift in picture colour/brightness?

What steps should i take to get the colour workflow better in FCP? Is there anything i'm missing?

I'm editing on Apple Cinema Display with no colour correct monitor. I don't need to grade to broadcast standards, but it would be bloomin' nice to know what the hell my picture is going to look like because FCP+QT doesn't seem to know.

Any advice would be great, Thanks in advance.
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FCP Canvas Window looks much darker than exports.-fcp_qt_colourshift.jpg  
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Old November 16th, 2009, 02:10 PM   #2
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Neil,

Trust me, you're not alone on this nor are you doing anything incorrectly. This is a long-standing bug with FCP whereby these results are universally seen and not something wrong with your system or methods.

In QT 7 (prior to QT X) there was a check-box for "enable FCS color..." which simply allowed QT to display the same color gamut as FCP does in the viewer/canvas (see pic). However this only affect YOUR machine and did not change the actual output of the file itself. In fact, if you want to view your clip as the rest of the world sees it - especially Windows users - then you'd leave this that box un-checked so you could see your "real" output.

It was assumed that Apple finally addressed this color-bug in FCP 7 and/or Snow Leopard since 10.6 uses the 2.2 gamma setting as it's default however, obviously this bothersome disparity between what FCP displays and the actual color output of the finished file really is hasn't been addressed yet. And it's damned annoying, ain't it?!!

Here's what's interesting in this behavior: if you create an MPEG-2 and output to DVD the clip as viewed on a *balanced* NTSC monitor will nearly match what you see on the FCP canvas; it's only when viewed on a computer LCD that colors become desaturated and incorrect based on your color settings in FCP.

I have not found a fix for this however my assumption is that FCP by default assumes that all content is either going to be broadcast or going to DVD, in which case it's giving you the CCIR 601 (or 701 for HD) color space by default, and not matching your LCD's color response which is obviously quite different.

Maybe someone has figured this odd behavior out and created a plug-in or override for this but I don't know of one. Yet.
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FCP Canvas Window looks much darker than exports.-screen-shot-2009-11-16-1.00.52-pm.png  
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Old November 17th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #3
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thanks for the response. I really hope somebody can suggest a work-around/fix as it's just another tick to the list of reasons i regret buying Final Cut Studio.

good to know it's not just me though! appreciate the feedback so i'll do a bit more research and see if i can get this fixed. I'll post again if i come up with anything worthwhile.

Cheers,
Neil
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Old November 17th, 2009, 04:37 PM   #4
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Matt Davis has done a lot of research on this. I would talk to him.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...2-2-gamma.html
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Old November 17th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #5
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Unfortunately Matt's post is about setting up default gamma on the LCD, it has no effect on outputting a project from FCP nor does it affect the canvas/viewer windows when active.

As I say, this is a long-standing bug with FCS/FCP and Apple has yet to address it, which is unfortunate since both myself, many of my consulting clients and other DVinfo forum members I know have actually submitted formal trouble tickets to Apple addressing this very issue.

There must be some reason at FCP's core that prevents this from being an easy fix for Apple and I can only hope that someday either Apple or a third-party developer will figure out a simple way to address it.

For now, the only thing you can do to see what you're actually getting is to un-check the color compatibility box I mentioned earlier and, do many test encodes/outputs of finished files until you get the exact look you're after.

I should point out also, that this color discrepancy issue is specific only to FCP/FCS. Premiere Pro, M100 and Avid do not exhibit this behavior. Odd and unfortunate that Apple's own application suffers from this strange disparity.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 11:52 PM   #6
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I haven't converted to Snow Leopard....yet. But I thought there was a way to install QuickTime 7.6 instead of X? Wouldn't that solve the problem?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 12:18 AM   #7
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I use a JVC broadcast monitor to view my output and do not trust anything I see in FCP canvas window. Using a monitor is a bit costly but well worth the effort for getting it right before final distribution.

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Old March 20th, 2010, 05:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
I have not found a fix for this however my assumption is that FCP by default assumes that all content is either going to be broadcast or going to DVD, in which case it's giving you the CCIR 601 (or 701 for HD) color space by default, and not matching your LCD's color response which is obviously quite different.

Maybe someone has figured this odd behavior out and created a plug-in or override for this but I don't know of one. Yet.
Its the 1.8 gamma at work with some codecs. If you export as, say, the Animation codec you should see that it is no longer washed out.

One clue is if you export a Prores video from FCP, then import that into Motion, then look at the clip properties you will see that the file is set to 1.8 gamma (at least it is with FCS2). The whole situation is ridiculous.

Quote:
Using a monitor is a bit costly but well worth the effort for getting it right before final distribution.
Makes no odds. You can correct on a decent monitor, but once output via Prores, or to H264 Quicktime the video will still be washed out.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 01:17 PM   #9
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An easy way to understand the mess is this...

Previous to Snow Leopard (10.6.x), the native Gamma for the system/display was 1.8, while all other systems (non-Mac) were 2.2. I've been aware of this for a while as I do web design and most PC's will never see some minor detail you add to graphics intended for the 2.2 PC market.

Since 1.8 is also different from broadcast, Apple designed FCP to display a gamma of 2.2 in the canvas so you could see what it would look like elsewhere. The manual tries to explain this and if you are on anything below Snow Leopard with Final Cut Pro, Apple suggests to color calibrate to a gamma of 1.8. If you calibrate to 2.2, FCP has no idea that this has changed, and it results in an even darker canvas.

The only change you can make is with imported graphics. Most graphics are created on a Mac with a standard of 1.8 and you have to tell FCP in the preferences to work with those files with a native gamma of 1.8 and not 2.2.

QT's preference to display FCP colors applied the 2.2 gamma translation to that footage too when viewing.

Snow Leopard is now 2.2 by default and Final Cut Pro 7 knows this... although it still is a little messy.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 01:28 PM   #10
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Oh I forgot to mention that I'm on FCP7 Snow leopard and now I don't have the gamma issue.

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