Color Shifts with Still Images

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the June, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Amanda Lotas writes:

Thanks for your webinar yesterday. It was good to learn about PhotoMotion especially. I was hoping I could ask you 2 questions as related to prepping stills for fcp:


1. When I bring photoshop images that were created with an Adobe RGB into fcp they look washed out. A few websites I’ve found claim that you need to convert the images in photoshop to an Apple RGB profile b/f taking them into fcp. I do this now b/c the colors look much better in fcp and upon qt export. What do you know about this topic?


2. I’ve attached my choices for sequence settings – I’m still in fcp 5.0.4 on a G5. In the past I’ve used DV NTSC 48 kHz for photos with square pixels for slideshows to export as flvs. But you said yesterday that quality is not good. You suggested ProRes. I don’t have that. What might you suggest in its stead? How else can I keep photos progressive/best quality? This slideshow
is for web only.


Thank you so much and hope to hear from you!!!!!!

Larry replies: Amanda, thanks for writing.

1. The change in color is not a change is color, but a change in gray scale, called the “gamma setting.” This determines where the mid-point gray is of an image. With all Macs before OS X 10.6, the gamma was set to 1.8; however, video uses 2.2. This means that images on the Mac looking brighter.

The problem is that the gamma settings don’t match, which means that when you load that image into video it looks washed out.

Apple starting to fix this starting with FCP 5.1.4. And with the release of OS X 10.6, Apple changed the system gamma setting to 2.2, so it matches that of video.

For now, though, I suggest you apply a color profile of EITHER SRGB or SMPTE-C to your stills to get the gamma settings to match. It will look darker on your Moc monitor, but it will look right in video.

2. The best quality to use for standard def images, given your system, is Uncompressed 10-bit. Second, is DV50. Third, is DV NTSC (or DV PAL).


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