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Old November 6th, 2008, 08:37 PM   #1
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REALLY WEIRD FinalCut Studio Export problems with XH-A1

Okay guys, I've got a real head-scratcher here...

My setup:
Canon XH-A1 (shooting in 24f HDV)
Mac Pro (early 2008) 8-core 2.8ghz w/ 10gb RAM + eSATA 4.5TB RAID0 for FCP Scratch with OS X 10.5.5 and dual 23" Apple Cinema Displays calibrated identically.
FinalCut studio (FCP 6.0.4) with easy setup HDV 1080p24 for capture via firewire.
ALL Updates installed.

Background: I'm a fairly new user of FCP but I've had some unofficial training from my friend who is an apple software trainer. We've got the basics down, everything is set up correctly, and it's a fresh install of FCS on this mac pro.

What I'm doing and the problem I'm having:
I've tried this with three different projects in 24f so far, all with the same result. After capturing my footage and putting it into the timeline, I am applying a few color control filters - specifically brightness/contrast and color balance to get the right look for the footage I'm working with. I render all (R), and I've made sure all render parameters are checked in the SEQUENCE >> RENDER ALL menu.

UPON EXPORT, I am simply exporting to a quick time movie (FILE > EXPORT > QUICK TIME MOVIE). When I export. I highlight all contents of the timeline (A) and export to the quicktime movie making the video self-contained and keeping the other default settings.

UPON PLAYBACK IN QUICKTIME, the video looks HORRIBLE. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the footage looks very raw, and even more washed out than the SOOC footage. Any video transitions I've put into the timeline look fine, but the color rendering is terrible. If I open the exact same file in FCP, it looks like it did when I was working on it in FCP... it looks fine! WTF?

Now, here's where it gets weird: If I have the movie open in quicktime and I drag the quicktime window around on my screen, I will occasionally see the color change so that it looks like it did in FCP, with the corrections applied, beautiful color rendering, everything. If I stop dragging it or if I play the video, it will go back to the washed-out crappy look. The same problem occurs with export to h.264 and every other setting that I've tried. I just cannot get normal-looking footage to export from FCP!

TROUBLESHOOTING: I've been speaking to a pro-apps specialist with applecare for the past week and a half trying to get this figured out. He's been very helpful and I have tried creating new timelines, new entire projects, changing the render scratch locations, deleting render files, re-rendering, checking all settings etc. and nothing has worked. The pro apps guy took a look at my entire system through a system profiler file that I sent him, and found nothing wrong. He's stumped, and he has escalated the case to try and get some more help with it.

I have not tried importing any 30F or 60i footage from the XH-A1 yet to see if I get the same problem. However, to the best of my knowledge FCP 6.0.4 should work fine with the XH-A1 (according to what I've heard) and these issues are not a normal occurrence for XH-A1 users. However, if anyone has ANY suggestions or if you've ever had this problem before, please let me know! I am at my wits end and I have some projects I'd realllly like to work on but this is holding me back a lot.

Looking forward to your suggestions, comments, ideas, or experience with this situation. I will post screen shots in a few minutes.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3193/...e1d167bb_b.jpg
Footage as it displays in FCP

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3020/...33be1895_b.jpg
Footage as it displays in QuickTime

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3010/...aea9e572_b.jpg
Another FCP frame

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3170/...63b3fd1c_b.jpg
Another QT frame

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/...a63d0eac_o.png
The filters panel from one of the clips in my sequence.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3008/...2f27d245_b.jpg
Dual-screen view (remember, both screens are calibrated and are identical in color!) QT on the left, FCP on the right.

Last edited by Trevor Meeks; November 6th, 2008 at 08:54 PM. Reason: adding screen captures.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #2
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Should I have posted this in the "Non-Linear Editing On Mac" section instead?

This is driving me nuts guys... if anyone has any input I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much!
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Old November 7th, 2008, 05:42 AM   #3
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Trevor,

First, try importing a single clip and then export it without doing anything to it and see what it does. If you're still getting different results in QT you might want to reinstall QT.

Also, what are your sequence settings? I have found that some hd codecs are still kinda shaky in fcp, however prores422 works great for me (I'm shooting at 720p though).

Hope that helps!
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Old November 7th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Glavan View Post
Trevor,

First, try importing a single clip and then export it without doing anything to it and see what it does. If you're still getting different results in QT you might want to reinstall QT.

Also, what are your sequence settings? I have found that some hd codecs are still kinda shaky in fcp, however prores422 works great for me (I'm shooting at 720p though).

Hope that helps!

Yep, tried doing the single clip thing as well, same result. I've tried using both the ProRes422 setup and HDV 1080p24 setup, both to no avail.

This is a fresh install of OS X 10.5.5 with all updates newly installed - I doubt re-installing QT would work.

Also, I posted this problem over on vimeo and I was met with some interesting results. This problem is well-documented both here in threads starting two years ago, as well as on the apple support forums. To this date there doesn't seem to be ANY permanent workaround for the problem, and it is frustrating an increasing number of people. I am so frigging fed up I don't even know what to do now with this $1400 software and $5000 worth of equipment that I've got... it's beautiful stuff, works great, but the ongoing problems with exported footage from FCP are horrendous.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #5
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My understanding is that this is par for the course, when trying to playback FCP files in QT Player, at least the "typical" project codecs like DV, HDV and ProRes. Exporting to "distribution" codecs like h.264 should give you "accurate" colour.

edit: Just reread your post regarding h.264 giving you issues as well. THAT part is strange.

Again my understanding only, correct me if I'm wrong: the FCP codecs will look just fine in FCP and it's apps and will work fine for third party manipulation. HDV & ProRes aren't intended for end-user viewing.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #6
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Hey Shaun,

Yeah, I'd assume that HDV and ProRes aren't great for end-user viewing, that makes complete sense. However, as you noticed, I am having the exact same problem no matter what format I export to - including h.264 and a few others that i've tried - even using compressor.

Ultimately the video I'm working on needs to be exported for integration into a website, so I'm not really sure what I'm going to do at the moment... hopefully I can go over some of this info with the Apple Pro Apps guy on Monday.

This is really frustrating.... aaarrrgh!

Edited to add: Okay, apparently I haven't tried compressor. Can someone give me a rundown of how to export a clip from compressor? I haven't used it before, and I'm really interested in trying it... I've got the h.264 setting dragged onto the clip that I want to save, I just can't figure out how to export from compressor to an actual video file. I'm hoping that it will work...

Last edited by Trevor Meeks; November 7th, 2008 at 08:17 PM. Reason: ETA information re: compressor
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Old November 8th, 2008, 03:11 AM   #7
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Okay, I figured out how to export from compressor and I am still getting the same color/gamma results.... wow....
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Old November 9th, 2008, 03:34 AM   #8
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Bump. I really am interested to see how you all with XH-A1's are working with FCP and not having problems. Any assistance will do at this point, I'm in dire need of a resolution, as I've got projects to film but I don't want to commit if I can't deliver a final product!

Thank you in advance.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:16 PM   #9
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Looks like the old gamma shift problem. Part of the problem is that there is no uniform way that various Apple apps (FCP, QT, DVD SP, etc.,) display gamma. If you google Gamma and QuickTime or Final Cut Pro you'll get a ton of hits from people w/the same problem and various work arounds. To judge what's going on w/your image you really need to be watching it on a calibrated b'cast monitor.


-A
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Old November 9th, 2008, 10:47 PM   #10
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Thanks for the reply andrew! I've googled and gotten a few links from other people as well, but there doesn't seem to be any uniform workaround at all... how are so many people using FCP/QT with no problems while others are having this ridiculous problem with the exact setup?

I'm going to test some of this same footage on my G5 and see if it works properly.... it's ridiculously frustrating to not be able to use my Mac Pro for editing, and I don't want to edit any mor eof the footage that I've got if I can't export it properly....
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Old November 9th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #11
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Problem Solved!!!!

AAAAHHH!!!!

After WEEKS of trying to figure this out, I am KICKING myself (and I feel like kicking the guy at apple) for this SIMPLE problem.....

In QT, you need to go into "preferences" and make sure that "Enable Final Cut Studio color compatibility" is checked. This allows for correct color/gamma is displayed in QT for FCP material.

Well.... on to bigger and better things. I am ecstatic right now.... so ridiculously happy. Thank you all for your input.

Edited to add: Okay, anyone know why the video doesn't display properly on vimeo? Now my beautifully exported videos still can't be displayed properly online?

Last edited by Trevor Meeks; November 9th, 2008 at 11:57 PM.
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