Understanding Premiere Pro’s Color Management 19
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Matt Silverman

I don’t agree. This discrepancy is an Adobe Mediacore issue. When I render ProRes4444 out of Resolve it looks identical in QT Player. If I put the render into an Adobe app it looks very similar but not exact. When rendered back out of Mediacore gamma goes lighter in QT Player, but the pixels are correct back in AE/Premiere or Resolve. This is because Resolve is embedding Gamma/Color tags in the QT which QT Player understands. Adobe is not embedding these tags, and for good reason… these tags are deprecated by Apple and developers are told not that they will be ignored. However they are obviously not being ignored and allowing Resolve to match QT Player. I’m sure that Adobe’s color scientist sitting on a beach in Hawaii will tell you they will never add these tags cause that’s how a scientist operates. BlackMagic’s braintrust seem to push more to the right side of the brain and realize its very important for our colors to match and are willing to break the rules to do what makes common sense. Good info on this here: https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=95658

Oliver Peters

I have not found the Resolve renders to be correct in QT Player either. I explained this in the previous article about trusting Apple displays. That’s because Resolve uses the 2.4 gamma tag, so the image in QT Player doesn’t match the image in the Resolve viewer either. Just my experience.

Oliver Peters

PS: The Baselight video in that BMD thread is a very good explanation. Thanks for that. Direct link is: https://vimeo.com/349868875

Jamie LeJeune

Controlling for color management of the GUI in the app and for the NCLC tags, as explained in that video are what makes it possible to get reliable results. Like Baselight, Resolve offers full manual control over the GUI color management and the exported NCLC tags. Using those controls it is possible to match the GUI to a reference display, and to get outputs to color managed apps and browsers to match. It can’t be done in Premiere without resorting to hacky LUTs and even then only in one very limited case because Premiere has no manual control over the GUI color management, nor control over the NCLC tags of the export. Even worse is that Premiere doesn’t even apply the correct NCLC tags for the single locked option of color management of the GUI that it does offer.
As the Baselight video shows clearly, Apple isn’t using any “secret sauce” in FCP. Playback of exported files in color managed apps and browsers match the FCP GUI image for the simple reason that the NCLC tags of exported files match the color management inside FCP. Adobe is aware of all this, it’s simply that they don’t care at all to change it to either do what FCP is doing, or better yet, add the kind of manual control that Resolve and Baselight offer. It’s bizarre that Adobe sticks to such poor color management in Premiere, since there has been full color management that is far more complicated in Photoshop since forever.

Oliver Peters

I wouldn’t call anyone’s solution a hack. There are legitimate reasons why certain things are done the way they are. Today we are dealing with two primary and essentially different distribution targets – TV sets and computer displays. The latter are complicated by the use of different gammas, operating systems, media players, media platforms, different devices, etc.

I respectfully disagree that Blackmagic has the correct solution. The color management is very convoluted and if you don’t fully understand it, you can get into serious trouble. Add to this that ACES, which a lot of people would love to use, is a work in progress. For example, ACES doesn’t seem to be able to deal with fluorescent colors well.

I don’t think it’s fair to compare Premiere and Photoshop color science. They are two completely different things under the hood. Adobe changed the Premiere color science when Iridas (Speedgrade) was acquired. This was again altered to integrate HDR capability (another work in progress). There have been no such changes in the world of stills.

When you talk about export LUTs, there’s actually no reason to do that, unless you specifically want your export to look like it did in the viewer, when that file is played in QuickTime or a QT-based media player. This is purely a QT issue. That file would look perfectly fine if you play it directly to a video monitor using a BMD or AJA i/o device.

It’s also not true that Resolve is transparent in this process. You can export a ProRes from Resolve and regardless of the gamma setting, it will match what you see in the viewer. However, the default for that export is a 1-2-1 color profile (2.4 gamma). That’s because it’s designed for TV viewing. When this file is converted to an H264 using Adobe Media Encoder or Apple Compressor, you will get a file that has a different color profile and which now looks different than that ProRes.

John Cartwright

Jamie is correct. Oliver refuses to accept the solution BM has created which leads me to discount anything he has to say regarding color management. Adobe’s refusal to use valid color management is an absolute mess and joke. The best solution is to Resolve to export the final web or broadcast deliverables instead of the using insane PPro Hacks.

Matt Foster

Great explanation of the color space! I use a REC709 Lut to correct my Sony SLog footage for my YouTube channel (https://thefosterjourney.blog). I never really knew what the color space did, and this helps! thanks

Oliver Peters

Thanks. I’m glad it was helpful.

Donald Ryan Hobeck

Well idk another but any of the science but i can say that I hate 75% of the new videos I see on TV and web. They are horrible. The people look fake like they are all AI. In fact I’m mentally handicap bc of this. I can’t look at any video and wonder if it’s real or not causing me to really think very weirdly. That’s the I nly way I can say it. But seriously either the ppl look like they are turning into fumes or they look digital like the army camp, or they look half as animated. It’s causing a lot of problems. I mean it has to be if it’s causing this much of a problem with me. Cameras are going too far soon they will see alternate realities. They kind of already are. Just my thoughts but I’d say taker down a notch

Oliver Peters

I’m not really sure what you mean. Do the sample images in this article look fake or odd in some way? They are stock video images made with digital cameras. Naturally there are subjective color correction choices made on many shows that can be thought of as unnatural by some viewers.

The other thing is the settings on your TV. Do you have any sort of 120Hz mode or smoothing turned activated on your TV? I’m a fan of 24fps and prefer it, as I feel it gives me a more filmic look. But others like the smoother motion of 60fps or the artificial 120fps modes.

If it’s specifically your TV at issue, you might want to check if the settings are still in their default modes, which more often than not look atrocious 🙂


You’re awesome and polite 🙂 Thank you for the very helpful article! This is a great help and is bookmarked for a month or so down the track 😁

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