How to choose between Gamma 2.2 and Gamma 2.4 when color correcting?

Gamma 2.2 vs Gamma 2.4 – How, Why and When (in DaVinci Resolve)?

August 23, 2017

When you start delving into the finer points of color correction you'll eventually learn about Gamma 2.2 vs Gamma 2.4. Learn how to choose between them.

How do you set up DaVinci Resolve for different Gamma settings (and why)?

We recently had a question come in about a common source of confusion:

What color & gamma settings should I use in FCPX & Resolve when it’s going either to the internet or onto DVD’s?

It’s a great question – but opens a can of worms when it relates to setting your gamma on your reference display and the various options in DaVinci Resolve. Why a can of worms? Because you have to consider not one but two different scenarios for setting your gamma:

  • Scenario 1: Your color correction / mastering environment matches the delivery / viewing environment. For example, your mastering environment is set for broadcast and you’re delivering for broadcast.
  • Scenario 2: Your color correction / mastering environment does NOT match the delivery / viewing environment. For example, you’re set for broadcast but delivery is for the Internet.

Each viewing environment has a different recommended gamma setting. And when it comes to setting gamma for color correction, what’s the rule for setting gamma?

1st Rule of Setting Gamma: It’s Based on Your Viewing Environment

Most discussions of setting gamma start with the display you’re using or your final delivery – but that misses the point of Rule #1: When mastering / color correcting your images, you set your gamma based on your viewing environment.

In fact, the differences in the standard gamma settings used by Mac and Windows versus the standard gamma settings for television or cinema are all based on overall brightness levels in the room!


It’s due to the Simultaneous Contrast Effect of human perception.

The Simultaneous Contrast Effect and How it Relates to Gamma Settings

Wikipedia has a good explanation of how Simultaneous Contrast works. But a single pictures really is worth a thousand words and in the image below, the gray square in the middle of both boxes have precisely the same brightness values (if you don’t believe me, just pull out a color sampler and check for yourself:

The Simultaneous Contrast Effect
The middle gray boxes have precisely the same RGB brightness values – yet they look different. Why? That’s the Simultaneous Contrast in action.

The reason the two middle boxes look like they have different brightness values comes down to human perception. The human brain make brightness assumptions comparatively, not absolutely. None of us has a built-in eyedropper tool that gives us absolute RGB readouts. Our perception of the brightness of an object in a room is effected by room itself.

And if those middle gray boxes are a television or computer screen, and the surround fields is the overall brightness of your room… what implication does that have while color correcting??

The exact same image, in two different rooms—one bright and one dark—will look different! Particularly the brightness values.

Using Gamma to Solve the Simultaneous Contrast Effect

How would you fix the problem of Simultaneous Contrast on the two boxes above? Let’s call the top box our ‘reference environment’; it’s the one with the dark surround field. To get the bottom box to match, we can apply a brightness adjustment to push the middle gray box brighter until its ‘perceived brightness’ matches our reference environment.

And that’s what precisely we’re doing when we move our images between Gamma 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6. We adjust those middle boxes to make them brighter or darker so their apparent brightness in the different viewing environments is equalized.

For most of us, the question comes down to choosing: Gamma 2.2 vs Gamma 2.4?

In this Insight, I’m not going to dive any deeper into the technical explanation of gamma (you can read that explanation on Charles Poynton’s site). But if you’re going to make an informed decision about choosing your gamma settings then you need to understand the standard gamma settings for different viewing environments:

  • Gamma 2.2 – This gamma setting is generally used for brighter viewing conditions. Think: Office setting with bright overheads and lots of indirect daytime light from exterior windows. Under these conditions, the viewing screen needs to pop the shadows or the image becomes a mushy mess and ‘lowering’ the gamma setting helps the image fight glare. Hence, gamma 2.2 is the standard gamma setting for Windows and has been the standard gamma setting on Apple computers since Mac OS 10.6 (prior versions of the Mac OS used gamma 1.8) since computer displays assume a bright, daytime viewing condition.
  • Gamma 2.35 & 2.4 – This gamma setting is generally used for darker viewing conditions. Think: Watching Prime Time television at night in a living room. Under these conditions the danger of the image washing out is much less and the darker parts of images are easier to see. Hence, Gamma 2.35 and 2.4 are used in dim (but not blacked-out) viewing conditions.

Gamma 2.35 & 2.4 have been the unofficial gamma settings for television since its inception. I say ‘unofficial’ because for the first 40 years of TV, the gamma setting was determined by the cathode ray gun on phosphor-based tubes. And the gamma setting of the CRT was fixed and unchangeable. When the gamma of CRTs was measured by the BBC in the early 2000’s, they determined the effective gamma of professional CRTs was between 2.3 and 2.4.

  • Gamma 2.35 – This was the BBC’s initial recommendation for plasma & LCD televisions, to most closely match professional CRTs. This gamma setting has largely been abandoned.
  • Gamma 2.4 – Many professional post-production facilities resisted gamma 2.35 and opted for gamma 2.4 – because they could match their LCDs and plasma displays to their CRTs more easily if they used gamma 2.4. This trend became so strong that the BBC now recommends gamma 2.4. And this is the current standard if you’re mastering for broadcast.
  • Gamma 2.6 – This is the gamma setting is used for ‘blacked out’ viewing conditions, typical of a movie theater. Gamma 2.2 and gamma 2.4 generally look too flat and dim in black box conditions. Hence, for DCI delivery to cinema a Gamma 2.6 is specified.
  • Resources for further research: If you want to dig deeper into this yourself then check out these links below (which open to a new window)

Gamma 2.2 vs Gamma 2.4: How do you choose?

Notice the common thread in my description of each gamma setting… gamma is based on the expected viewing environment. So…

In my grading suite, I have my room’s viewing conditions set for broadcast mastering. All exterior sources of light are blocked, and I have dim (but not completely dark) and controlled sources of light. Therefore, I always set my entire workflow for gamma 2.4.

The delivery destination makes no difference when I’m color correcting! I set my gamma appropriate to my viewing conditions, not my delivery specification.

IF I wanted to master at gamma 2.2 then I need to brighten up the overall levels in my grading suite to more closely match that of a not-too-well-lit office – for the gamma 2.2 setting on my reference display to make any sense.

IF I was grading to the viewer on my computer display and didn’t have a professional external reference display, what gamma would I choose? Well, if the computer display is at its native gamma then I’d set my viewing conditions to match the gamma setting appropriate for that display (usually 2.2, unless you’ve calibrated it differently).

But what if you’re delivering for a different viewing environment?

There are two common scenarios here:

  1. You’re mastering in a broadcast environment but delivering to digital cinema.
  2. You’re mastering in a broadcast environment but delivering to the internet.

In both scenarios, you color correct using the gamma appropriate for your mastering environment and then do a gamma adjustment when rendering – to transform the image so it looks similar to your image, in those darker or brighter viewing conditions.

Colorists often get more detailed – and after applying the overall Gamma adjustment they make scene-by-scene or shot-by-shot adjustments.

When you start getting really detailed like that, colorists call this making a Trim Pass.

If you’re delivering to multiple viewing conditions, Prime Time, internet and cinema – then you might consider doing several trim passes (with each trim being a separate export), each with slightly different gamma settings for those viewing conditions.

How to make overall Gamma adjustments to your timelines in DaVinci Resolve

This video Insight is all about using DaVinci Resolve to transform your images from your viewing / mastering environment and make a gamma adjustment to prepare the images for the delivery viewing environment.

Note: I wrote this post after recording and editing the video – so I don’t quite put my explanation in the video as neatly as I have done here… but you’ll see the workflow for executing this theory.

Have questions?

That’s what the Comments section is for! And don’t forget, if you want email notifications to the comments on this Insight, press the ‘Subcribe’ button at the bottom left of this page, just above the footer.



UPDATE – March 2018: Revised an incorrect statement about gamma 2.4 / 2.2 viewed in a black box setting. HT: Steve Shaw.


Homepage Forums Gamma 2.2 vs Gamma 2.4 – How, Why and When (in DaVinci Resolve)?

Viewing 48 reply threads
    • I guess where I have the most trouble is trying to ensure sure my non professional displays are actually at the 2.2 or 2.4 gamma in the first place. I had a ton of trouble calibrating my LG OLED, I kinda of gave up trying to use calman on it, everytime I restarted the tv and checked the gamma it seemed off.

      With apple computer displays can an icc accurately set a gamma or is the graphics card reading some meta from the icc and handling it?

      I’m also a bit confused on when to use viewer lut, should the computer monitors be sRGB 2.2 and the viewer lut convert that to 2.4, or does Davinci adjust the gamma in the viewers somehow?

    • Fabrizio P

      Hi Patrick,

      I’m delivering a job for the Kazakistan Expo 2017. It’s a double video installation in a not properly black environment because several displays in the room. I asked for the specific gamma of video projectors, but they don’t know.I color graded the footage on my reference FSI CM 250 gamma 2.4 So I delivered at gamma 2.4, because I think that the video projection should adhere to the Itu-R BT.709 specifications.
      I did wrong?


      Seemed quite clear, and thank you! I keep hoping that PrPro will become a “manageable” app … but this sorted out for me very specifically what I need to do with my work when in Resolve.

    • Mark K

      A topic that has haunted my learning for the last few months. I feel this has answered all of my questions and it was all laid out very simply. Thank you very much. This article and video alone is worth the months sub fee, in my opinion.

      Now if only I hadn’t forgotten to bring my notepad to the library today, I’d be able to make notes…Haha.

    • Daniel C

      Hi Patrick,

      Can you link to the managed color workflow insight you mention in the video? I couldn’t find it.

      Do platforms on the internet adjust gamma at all? For instance, I want a Gamma 2.2 workflow for bright office/computer display viewers, but if I upload my video to YouTube, do they do anything to my footage to make adjustments – or is this solely based on the display the viewer is watching on.

      Do you guys/can you guys make a video on how Premiere handles color? Is it entirely REC709? Can you adjust to another rec? What should I do if I want to master for REC2020 but need to round-trip back to Premiere after Resolve?

      Thank you!

    • Patrick Inhofer

      Hi Daniel – In DaVinci Resolve, it’s called Resolve Color Management. Here are two Insights on the subject:

      First Look:

      RCM with RAW:

      Also – ACES is a color managed workflow and Robbie’s ACES series will get you started if you’re working to that specification. Here’s the first Insight in that series:

      Getting to know ACES Part 1:

      RE: Platforms adjusting gamma – Gamma adjustments happen all over the place; on your computer, in your browser, when uploading to a video sharing service, when displaying from a video sharing service. You can, and should, expect your gamma will get bounced around once you’re outside a carefully color-managed room, like in digital cinema or a grading suite. That’s why we grade to a standard… the standard is a center-point around which all our devices will orbit.

    • Patrick Inhofer

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see PrPro make a step in this direction.

    • Patrick Inhofer

      LOL. Thanks! Don’t forget, you can ‘favorite’ Insights.

    • Patrick Inhofer

      Nope. You did right. You graded to the spec. And they couldn’t tell you otherwise. To my eyes, the difference between 2.2 and 2.4 isn’t all that big. But it sounds like what you were delivering to had controlled light sources with the main source of light coming from other displays – so 2.4 is definitely appropriate (lacking further guidance from the venue).

    • Patrick Inhofer

      The only reliable way to calibrate the consumer OLEDs is with a LUT box. In that case, powering down won’t lose your settings – and you’ll get far more accurate calibrations as a result.

      I’m not really the person to ask about how to color manage a GUI display… because I’m always using a calibratable professional external display and rely on that. If you’re grading to a computer display then you’ll always be at a disadvantage. But I’ll reach out to some people we know who might be able to get you a better answer. I’m about to start a calibration series – and as a follow-up to that series I’ll tackle calibrating GUI displays.

    • Steve Sebban, CSI

      Thanks Patrick! That’s finally made sense to me.

    • marco h

      Great, thanks a lot!

    • Remco Hekker

      Hi Patrick, another great insight! You’ve addressed an issue I’ve ignored for about the entire time I’ve been grading.
      I have just been focused on 2.4.

      Did you always convert your web-destined videos to gamma 2.2 Even when there were no Resolve Fx and no Rcm? Are all the videos gamma 2.2?

      I will definitely start experimenting with this.


    • Patrick Inhofer

      Honestly – I don’t usually do the Gamma conversion on my Insights. I’m not sure what Robbie and Dan do (or don’t do). When I look at the final renders I never see a shift big enough that I feel it needs to be compensated for.

    • Peter B

      I have a JVC DT-V24G1Z and the gamma settings are either 2.35 or 2.45. How much of a problem is this?

    • Steve S

      I’ve just had this insite flagged up via a post on LGG, and there I’ve had to disagree with the suggestion that you can alter your gamma for your grading environment.

      While the theory does make some sense, the reality is that any grading environment should be managed to match the specifications for a ‘grade-1’ monitoring environment, which means having a surround illumination of 10% of peak monitor brightness for SDR, and 5 nits for PQ based HDR – as per EBU specifications.

      Gamma should be set to 2.4 for Rec709 deliverables, and 2.2 for sRGB (the internet).

      The concept of altering display gamma is really only valid for home viewing, where you often cannot manage the viewing environment (unless you have a real Home Cinema setup).

      Professional grading rooms should always have the environment managed to match the above stated specifications, and not alter gamma.

      Edited to add: SMPTE now specify a Reference Viewing Environment to have a surround illumination of 5 nits, +/- 0.5 nits, for both HDR and UHD.

      And gamma is specified as per the colour space/video standard – Rec709 at 2.4 (or bt1886 – but we do not recommend that… as the concept is flawed), sRGB at 2.2, and PQ based HDR at ST2084, while HLG has it’s own gamma standard (interestingly WITH a variable component for surround illumination, but as surround illumination is fixed at 5 nits for a Reference Viewing Environment, that too is essentially fixed…)

    • Patrick Inhofer

      Hi Steve. Thanks for leaving a comment.

      My contention is that that you set your gamma for your actual grading conditions and then alter to match the deliverable. And I make this contention based on the well documented and often referenced ‘Simultaneous Contrast Effect’. IOW, if I’m color grading for 2.2 in a setting appropriate for 2.4, I’m deluding myself in thinking the results I produce would be the same as if I were actually in the intended viewing setting. As you know, gamma 2.2 isn’t magic. It’s designed for the lighting conditions it assumes.

      I do teach that If you deliver for broadcast then you need to follow SMPTE standards. And I do teach that a professional colorist should strive to meet SMPTE standards for… standardization and interchange between professional post houses.

      But SMPTE gets a lot of things wrong (as evidenced by the 5 nit surround illumination, which is nuts and seems to completely ignore the long-term eye strain issues of looking at these direct view displays in near black conditions for thousands of hours).

      If you want to point me to that LGG thread I’ll be happy to chime in if this Insight is being interpreted differently than I intend.

    • Steve S

      You actually need to remember that the concept for home viewing is (loosely – as the historical reality is actually different) based on using 2.2 gamma within a home viewing environment to perceptually match the image when graded 2.4 gamma in a reference viewing environment.

      Based on that theory, when grading for the internet, you should also grade 2.4 in a reference viewing environment, so the PC display at 2.2 gamma does exactly the same as a home TV, and appears to give a perceptual match.

      Make sense?

      And while I’m not necessarily in agreement with a 5 nit surround for SDR garding (I do prefer the older 10% of screen max luminance), for PQ HDR it is correct, due to the EOTF used (which makes shadows very dark).
      But, standard are standards and we all need to adhere to them, or there will be no consistency at all.

      And for a reference viewing environment you should always manage the environment, not alter your display gamma.
      (Ignoring the the variation between 2.2 and 2,4 is very small indeed…)

      As for the idea that home TVs were based on 2.2 gamma to generate this ‘perceptual match’, the truth is very different.

      In the ‘old days’ we all uses CRTs, in the studio, and at home, with the ame inherent gamma.
      When flat panel displays came along, there was a need to be backwards compatible.
      And so the manufacturers (incorrectly) added a 2.2 fixed gamma to the screen manufacturing (nit the display processing electronics, to the actual screen driving electronics).
      This means all flat panels have an in-built 2.2 gamma at the screen.
      (Even HDR displays).

      So, the concept of a home TV having a 2.2 gamma to look perceptually the same as a grading display in a reference viewing environment is just happenstance, not reality.

    • Patrick Inhofer

      So… I’m going to link to the LIft Gamma Gain thread that initiated Steve’s reply here in the comments. I think my response to Steve is best understood in that context. Mixing Light members, feel free to respond either here on Mixing Light or there on LGG 🙂

    • Mark r

      Very entertaining.
      I am moving from tv as a CCU op to Resolve!
      I am experiencing something different with 15b4 and RCM using the ramp as an input.
      I have been working in Rec. 709 2.4.
      When I apply the Colour Space Transform Node, I see the expected result when applying a 2.2 gamma on the output.
      However, when I go to RCM and apply Rec.709 to TimeLine and Output, the curve is very different – a sharp upward curve in the blacks.
      Am I doing something wrong?

    • Willian Aleman

      Off topic: Patrick, how do you get two monitor display sets of ScopeBox as it appears in this insight, one on top of the other?

    • Patrick Inhofer

      It’s a single monitor in Portrait orientation. I talk a little about it here:

    • Willian Aleman

      Thanks for your prompt response and the link. Watched it already. It’s very helpful

    • Aleix Castells

      This might be the best post in the whole internet for figuring out all of this if you are new to color management. THANK YOU!!!

    • Patrick Inhofer

      🙂 You’re welcome!

    • ResidentJack

      Fantastic Article and Video! Thank you! I have one question regarding gamma 2.6. If I am creating a DCP in resolve using Kakadu, do I need to do a color space transform from 2.4 to 2.6 on the timeline or does the DCP conversion automatically take care of that? Thank you!

    • Robbie Carman

      yes resolve will handle the conversion for you – like Easy DCP, the native DCP encoding and how the transforms are handled are determined by your timeline color space setting. Generally this would be Rec 709 Gamma 2.4

    • NC

      Hi Patrick, thank you for explaining the gamma 2.2 and 2.4! But I have a question regarding about the black and white level of the video after exported. I’m using imac for resolve and everytime i export my video, the black is faded off and totally different with what I see in resolve. Then I figure out one way is to change the “data level” to “Full” and “Retain sub-black and super white data”. Yes, I’m satisfied with the black level but the white area is over exposed. I watching the video in imac too, so this probably is not about gamma 2.2 or 2.4 issue right? . Can you help to explain why?

    • Pat Inhofer

      I’m not precisely sure why you’re getting these results. Check out this Insight:

      You’re going to want to drop those test images into a timeline, export, and see if these can help you narrow down what’s going on?

      You haven’t said if you’re using a dedicated external reference display. If so, you’ll definitely want to make sure its data/video levels match your Resolve settings. I talk about that here:

      Did any of these help?

    • Žilvinas

      Hi Patrick, if I worked with gamma 2.2 and I want to export 2.4 for broadcast with a color space transformation node, I get a brighter picture with the raised gamma. Do I have to do the reverse from 2.4 to 2.2 so that the image is correct (darker) for the broadcast or I understand it correctly?

    • David Hudson

      hey, we have the same issue. Did you get an answer??

    • Sebastian R

      How about reference stills from the web? JPEGs should normally be sRGB 2.2 right?
      I’m grading in a 2.4 environment on a FSI DM240, so when importing reference stills to the gallery, how can I change the gamma interpretation?

    • Pat Inhofer

      In Resolve, you can right-click and choose the Input Color Space. Then Resolve will adjust it to your timeline color space.

    • Pat Inhofer

      I missed your comment! That’s what a lot of colorists do. Others don’t believe in that workflow since if you actually graded in that gamma with the ambient brightness levels used at that gamma, you’d be making different color grading choices. For them, the solution is to grade at the Gamma of your grading environment. If your only deliverable is a 2.2 deliverable, for that colorist you’d raise your overall brightness levels in the room and grade at 2.2.

      It’s a personal choice that may need to try one way for a while, then the other way for a while, then come to your conclusion about what works best for you and your clients.

      Make sense?

    • john davidson

      Hello I just watched your great video. My question is when I get say a Quicktime from my client who works in Premiere, it shows the color space is Rec 709 scene in Resolve. What do I give them back? I was giving them Rec 709 gamma 2.4 (default). They say that when they export out of Premiere it looks lighter than what I sent them. Is this a compatibility issue?

      Thank you,

    • Pat Inhofer

      John – These problems are so hard to deconstruct at a distance. Lots of things can be going on. Luckily, if you embed a few test patterns into your renders you can figure what the problem is and know where to look to fix them. First stop, a set of test patterns from Light Illusion:

      I also like to embed this test pattern to make sure saturation/hue isn’t shifting around on me:

      Watch those two Insights so you understand these patterns, then put a few frames of each into your render and read the scopes throughout the workflow. This should give you a sense of what’s going on. If there is a problem, you’ll have detective work to do – but you’ll know what questions to answer.

    • john davidson

      Hello Pat,

      I did what you did, based on evaluating the file I got from Premiere. I took a gray scale and exported it at the standard 2.4 default. i then exported it at the Rec 709 scene setting. It showed a lighter gray scale. That appears to be what Premiere exports its gamma setting at. Could it be that Premiere is doing a 2.35 gamma? It is not as light as a 2.2 gamma, which I also exported the gray scale at as well.

    • Pat Inhofer

      A change in gamma should not adjust your black and white points. This suggests a Data/Video level mismatch. What codec are you using? Codecs like ProRes 4:4:4 have allowances in their spec for both Video or Data levels and different apps default differently on their interpretation. You may have to explicitly change the Video/Data level on export in Resolve to solve this. You may also have to set Resolve’s interpretation differently on the initial import from the Premiere via ‘Clip Settings’ contextual menu.

      BTW – the nice thing about the Light Illusion charts specifically, the brightness values are set at specific code values, helping in the diagnosis.

    • john davidson

      Hello Pat,

      I am exporting ProRes HQ. I exported it in video and the full data levels and the full level was more contrasty (lower blacks & higher white levels), when bringing them back into Resolve. Of course looking at them on the scopes. This still brings me back to why does Premiere export Rec 709 scene (identified in Resolve input color space) and not Rec 709 gamma 2.4? When I get a DNxHD Quicktime from Avid it is identified as Rec 709 gamma 2.4.

      Thank you.

    • Pat Inhofer

      The ‘why’ I can’t answer. But as long as both apps treat your exports/imports consistently in your workflow, then you can configure your settings appropriately and fix the problem. Those test images are excellent to figure out which hand-off is breaking the images and in what direction – and then knowing that you’ve solved it.

      One tip: Once you lock down the proper settings for your workflow, document it!

      Second tip: ProRes HQ is a video levels codec and is usually best treated as such.

    • Malcolm B

    • Mohamed Yehia

      Hello, Pat.
      based on your eye-opening tutorial, these are my conclusions. could you please check if I am right?

      A) I can see only one factor controlling the decisions of the gamma we will start with in RCM & the environment we will grade in. the only controlling factor is the monitor. the delivery endpoint is not a factor here. so, we have three types of the color management workflows:
      – I use 2.2 computer Monitor. So, my starting point in RCM will be 2.2 & I should brighten up the grading environment
      – I use 2.4 monitor like FSI. So, my starting point in RCM will be 2.4 & I should darken the grading environment
      – I use 2.6 projector(if there is any). So, my starting point in RCM will be 2.6 & I should absolutely darken the grading environment

      After I finish the project I can then do the gamma conversion in the RCM output.


      B) let’s say we have an example of Ad I will grade on my 2.2 monitor BenQ PD2700Q. the Ad is mainly targeted for TV and will not be released on web. Due to 2.2, It is supposed to work in bright environment but I prefer to work in a dark environment because it is more comfortable to me while grading and allow me see exactly how the Ad will look like in the TV dark environment (the main target). So, my workflow will be as follows:
      1. I input 2.2 in RCM to start with because my 2.2 monitor is the controlling factor & assume that it will be released on the web.
      2. Please, remember that I graded in a dark environment with my 2.2 monitor, So, the dark environment made me see the image brighter than the assumed web viewer will see in his bright environment. So, I will brighten up the environment to see how it will be looked for the web viewer with his 2.2 monitor & of course, I will find the image needs to be brightened a bit, so, I will increase the brightness a bit and then we have the assumed web version.
      3. I will change the output in RCM to 2.4 or add the color space transform for getting the TV version & export for the TV.


    • Pat Inhofer

      Hi Mohamed –

      A) Correct. Although, a display like FSI can easily be set to whatever gamma setting you prefer.

      B) Since you are grading in a dim setting I would try and calibrate the BenQ to 2.4 and get the panel to match the grading setting. The back-and-forth you describe is exactly what you should be trying to avoid – there will be times where you’re chasing your tail and it’ll be frustrating. But otherwise, that would be the workflow (but again, not recommended).

    • Mohamed Yehia

      B-1) So, In case I am grading a web content on 2.2 Monitor, I should avoid to work in dark environment and as you said, “I need to brighten up the overall levels in my grading suite to more closely match that of a not-too-well-lit office – for the gamma 2.2 setting on my reference display to make any sense.” Right?

      B-2) for calibration to 2.4, I have access to spyder5 probe. In spyder5 software, there is only one option that determine 2.2 or 2.4 & the software recommends 2.2 but I should choose 2.4 to get the 2.4
      the monitor has internal color profiles options Rec709, sRGB…etc, but due to the software instructions (under display controls), I should set up the monitor at default setting
      So, I will not touch the profiles in the internal settings of the monitor and only rely on the Spyder5 calibration. Is this right?

    • Seamus Byrne

      Hi Patrick. Thanks for an amazing tutorial on a very complicated (for me anyway) subject.
      I have a question that I don’t think has been addressed at all (couldn’t find it if it has) – monitor luminance.

      I’m supposing the gamma settings of 2.2 for web and 2.4 for tv, and the lighting conditions to suit both environments, all assume the grading monitor has a luminance of 100 nits?

      But what if the viewer (client or public) monitor is set at 120 nits, or 160 nits? Doesn’t that kind of nullify, or at least confuse, the gamma and room lighting settings? Shouldn’t the grading monitor luminance also be adjusted to suit the room lighting?

      I have a Flanders Scientific BM 210 as well as a Viewsonic VP2468. The Viewsonic is calibrated to gamma 2.2 sRGB. The Flanders is calibrated to gamma 2.4 Rec 709. When I set the Flanders to gamma 2.2, and both monitors to luminance 120 nits, there is hardly any difference in the image.

      Davinci Resolve has an SDI out to the Flanders.

      For web work, my monitors are set to gamma 2.2, luminance to 120 nits, and room lighting to dim.
      I’m presuming for a brighter web environment, the viewer may set their monitor to higher than 120 nits, but I’m presuming the viewer’s brighter room will compensate for that.

      For tv, I leave the Viewsonic at gamma 2.2, luminance 120 nits (Davinci Resolve ‘workings’ are on that monitor), but I set the Flanders to gamma 2.4 and luminance of 100 nits. The room lighting is basically dark with a soft ‘calibrated’ light behind the Flanders.

      Question 1: Can you comment on the ideal monitor luminance settings for different delivery requirements?

      Question 2: For tv, I set my DR timeline to gamma 2.4, my Flanders gamma to 2.4 and output DR to gamma 2.4. To check how my tv production will look on the web, is it sufficient to just switch the Flanders gamma to 2.2 and also change the room lighting from dark to dim? Then, if it looks too ‘bright’, I tweak for a 2.2 gamma as per your video tutorial.

      What’s confusing me is the monitor luminance, and also how dark the room should be for tv grading.

      Thanks in advance,


    • Scott A

      Another great insight, thanks Patrick! I had a quick question about the newly implemented color space/gamma tagging in the delivery page. I work in RCM: Rec 709 2.4 to match my reference monitor and mainly deliver to broadcast but I am often asked to do a web deliverable as well. Now with tags, in my testing, I have found that I can keep my output color space at the project level to 2.4 and simply change the gamma tag to 2.2 upon export. When viewed outside of Resolve they look the same, but when brought back into my color managed project, the 2.2 render is brighter as expected and when enabling “show input color space” in the media pool both renders are tagged correctly. Am I right to assume this worklflow is correct? Also now with Remote workflows being implemented, all of my sessions are via screen share. Is the client seeing my 2.4 managed image (but displayed on their 2.2 screen) or are they possible seeing a 2.2 image, due to the feed being shared from my computer screen and not a direct feed from Resolve. I realize that is a much larger question and hope you consider a future insight! Thanks again.

    • Pat Inhofer

      Hi Scott – this is a great question. As always, especially with remote client review, it’s important to remember that color management doesn’t offer control of the outside world. Many of our peers will send out calibrated iPads (or even calibrated displays) to ensure clients are making informed decisions.

      Typically, the way I handle this is: Does the client feedback make sense? If they say a scene or particular shot is too dark, does that comment make sense to you? If they say the shadows feel tinted green, do you see that in your reference setting? For me, 90% of the time, that kind of feedback is accurate and actionable and the variance is gamma isn’t a problem.

      But if that feedback doesn’t make any sense, then you need to help the client find a better way of viewing your material that more closely represents the reference display. There’s no easy way to fix a remote client review if their display is out of whack.

      But generally speaking, your workflow is fine. Personally, I don’t tend to switch to gamma 2.2 since I inform my client to view their footage in a dim setting. If that’s not possible, then the gamma 2.2 output makes sense. But I know plenty of colorists who do what you do with great success.

    • Pat Inhofer

      Seamus – Sorry I missed your question when you asked it. But I’ll answer it now… I advocate grading to professional standards. If you try to second guess yourself by changing peak nit values, then your ‘custom reference’ work won’t line up with all the other professionally color graded material being viewed on that consumer display.

      As we move to an HDR10+ / Dolby Vision world, the workflow is modernized to help mitigate these variances and allows us, the creators, to anticipate these differing nit values and adjust accordingly.

      But in HD, there is not such technology or workflow (although Dolby Vision can be used with HD material). My guidance is, and always will be, color grade to professional standards and your work will always line up against all the other professional work being viewed on any particular display which is conforming to those standards.

      Trying to do anything else leads to dejection, confusion, and maybe even, insanity 😉 Of course, I’m being a bit sarcastic, but hopefully you get my point.

    • Pat Inhofer

      Hi Mohamed, I missed these comments from a few months. I apologize.

      If you read through the threads above and my responses today above, you’ll get the gist that our reference settings have very little to do with common viewing conditions. Instead, they’re designed to be comfortable for the artist, reasonable to reproduce for a home enthusiast who cares about these things, and most importantly: They ensure that professionals everywhere are producing content that matches each other.

      I advocate working as close to reference setting as possible. Trying to second-guess how the end-point is going to look is futile. None of us has control over that. What’s not futile is building your reference setting around established professional practices – allowing all of our work to line up with each other. And then, all of our work will be ‘pushed around’ in the same directions and with the same effect in any particular setting.

      In my mind, that’s the real benefit of adhering to standards and reference settings. Such adherence has no impact on final viewing conditions and any choices you make to match final viewing conditions are, at best, a guess and, at worst, folly.

      So – work at 2.2. Or 2.4. In the end, it’s your call as an artist. I stick with 2.4 since I’m in a reference setting – for the reasons I’ve outlined above. I have no problem doing an export at 2.2 for web delivery – but I don’t think it’s the solution that many of my peers suggest. But neither do I think those peers are wrong. In the end, it’s a judgement call – not a black/white, right/wrong thing.

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