Gamma, Gamma, Gamma….

Ever been so busy that it takes 50-hour Red renders or rendering same-day revisions to a 1-day color grade of a short film to give you a chance to relax?  Join the club.

Ever have issues with gamma when exporting from a professional application?  You know, you spent hours working on creating just the right look, you’re tired, you’re sure it all looks right, then you hit Render, walk away for hours and hours, then when you come back, the color is all wrong?  The blacks are… hideous.  Everything is too dark, and over-saturated, too.  Man, is this stuff ugly.

Guess what.  You should have tested first.  Are gamma issues still a problem in Lion?  I’m not sure, nothing works right in Lion.  In Snow Leopard they are, so you need to make sure that what you’re rendering is being done properly.  That means that before you render everything out of Apple Color, you may want to try one clip to see if it’s going to come out right.  I’ve pretty consistently done my grading, then gone to File > Import > LUT and chosen the FCP.mga LUT before doing the final export.  It keeps your footage from coming out with the wrong gamma – but you should test that, too, before you start..  What do you do if you’re rendering out of RedCine X Pro, using a laptop as your only monitor (as is too common now) and you have the same problem, everything is dark and over-saturated?  Test, pull everything up, and test some more.  Is there a better way?  I hope so.  Quicktime’s gamma issues are a mess.  Always test before you set up that 50-hour render. I’m glad I did.

On that note, the latest render is almost done, and that’s a 25-minute short film in the can. Gamma issues aren’t a problem this round.. we’ll see what happens when they convert to h.264 for the web.  Perhaps updates on that TV show I spent the last 2-months on soon?

About Randy Lee
Shooter. Editor. Colorist. Filmmaker. Coffee Addict. Workaholic.
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