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Old June 20th, 2010, 04:17 PM   #1
Slash Rules!
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,675
animation, black levels, digital. . .oy

Ok, so I'm working on an animated project. All the animation was drawn/animated in a flash-like program called Anime Studio.

At some point, I realized I had created a lot of elements using pure black and pure white that is, 0,0,0 and 255,255,255.

I'm worried about how this will affect broadcast at, say, film festivals via digital projectors, or it ever made it to TV.

Anime Studio has an option to export movies with "ntsc safe colors", which appears to clamp white down to the acceptable level while pushing up blacks to 7.5% (going by FCP's scopes when checking these exported movies).

Are we still doing the 7.5 thing? I thought with everything being digital now, it was all 0 black. I can definitely see the difference when the black from my movie cuts to the blank timeline in FCP, and scopes verify it dropping from 7.5 to 0.

Next option would to apply one of the broadcast filters in FCP to everything (I plan to export HD image sequences, bring them into FCP, and assemble everything there). I think these filters give you more control, i.e. leave the blacks alone but clamp the whites down. I worry about artifacts from compressing stuff at this stage (I plan to work with PNG-based image sequences at 1920x1080 resolution)

Lastly, of course, I could go back to the animation projects and bring down the whites in every single element that uses pure white, but I would rather stab my eyes with rusty forks, since that would mean layers on characters as well as any part of the backgrounds that have white in them.

Anyone been down this road? Thanks.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New York City
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First off, try the broadcast safe filter in FCP. It will only affect the whites and chroma overloads. If you work in HD uncompressed or even ProRes 4:4:4 the compression artifacts would be near none-existent. Even regular ProRes would work well.

7.5 is an old NTSC artifact, so to speak, not something I believe is relevant in the HD world. Could be wrong about that but I've never had a problem with 0% black in decades.
William Hohauser - New York City
Edit/Camera/DCP production/Animation
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Old June 20th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #3
Slash Rules!
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,675
That's what I thought. . .so that solves the black problem, but I still have to clamp those whites.

I was planning on making a sequence with PNG as the compressor setting, since my image sequences exported from the animation program will comprised of HD PNGs. Think the compression will still be okay?

If it it matters, the animation has few instances of anything but solid colors. . .not many gradients/shading etc. A few, but not many.
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