Mailbag Live & Revisiting Why Does It Look Different On Export?

November 5, 2020

Team Mixing Light announces an upcoming new website feature & the Team revisits the issue of exports looking 'wrong'.


From The MailBag Episode 84

A New Mixing Light Feature & Addressing A Common Question (Again)

For Team Mixing Light Mailbag episodes have always been fun to do – discussing member questions, industry issues, trends and hopefully providing some advice/help to members along the way.

One thing we’ve learned this year is that we can all use a little more engagement and interaction, especially when you’re feeling isolated away from the office, away from co-workers, and fighting the groundhog day feeling (it’s Friday again!).

Over the past few months, our Slack workspace and our weekly Office Hours sessions have been great fun and allowed for a lot of great discussions. Thinking about that effort, webinars we’ve done, and how our Team has been having great fun with some weekly Zoom calls with colorist friends we’ve decided to launch a new Mixing Light feature – Mailbag Live.

In the first part of this Mailbag, we discuss what Mailbag Live is and how it’ll work.

In the second part of this Mailbag, we revisit (I think for the 4th time) the omnipresent topic of ‘why do my Resolve renders look different?’ This time around we discuss some important updates like Blackmagic’s Rec709A, understanding NLC tags, and Resolve tagging options on exports.

Mailbag Live

Traditionally, we’ve picked Mailbag topics from our support emails, comments on Insights, or a topic that we see a lot on message boards & forums.  Often times when we get messages there is a lack of context or examples and it’s hard to ask follow-up questions to get to a more precise answer.

Enter Mailbag Live.

Our thinking behind Mailbag Live is that it gives premium members the option to interact with our team & contributors on a scheduled live Zoom call.  Because it’s a Zoom call the member can explain their issue in more detail, we can ask follow-up questions and both sides can share screens and demonstrate techniques easily.

In addition to the participating member, other members can also jump on to provide additional feedback (although this interaction will be limited to a chat pod).

By the end of this month, we’ll have a special page for Mailbag Live with a form that premium members can use to submit questions, and link to additional assets – clips, project files, etc. While we can’t guarantee that will cover every submission, when we pick one will get in touch with the person that submitted that chosen topic and schedule a zoom call.

That scheduled call info will be shared with other premium members so that they can join if they want.  But don’t worry all of these calls will be recorded and put into the Insights Library so all members can listen/watch them later.

Contrast & Color Look Different When Exporting From Resolve

If there was a way to monetize how many times we’ve seen on forums, social media and indeed received questions here on Mixing Light around the topic of why Resolve renders look different on export we’d probably have a fleet of Ferraris!

Recently we got a message from a member that in part said:

My real frustration is what happens to my images once the video has been uploaded onto a platform which compresses it. Saturation and gamma are pulled and compressed which sadden me greatly! I wanted to ask if you had any tips to get around this? Maybe an extra node you pump in at the end of a node tree to compensate in Davinci?

While of course there are a number of reasons for inconsistencies often they come down to:

  • Making grading decisions in the Resolve Viewer with improper screen calibration, or lack of color management understanding
  • Misunderstanding of full range vs. legal video levels and their appropriate uses/workflow
  • Inaccurate NLC tagging of exports and or improper reading of NLC tags by various pieces of software
  • Different color management employed by different browsers, players, services

We talk about all of these things in the second part of this mailbag including the addition of Rec 709A (Apple) to Resolve and Resolve NLC tagging support on export.  While this is a deep topic and we cover much of it here are some additional resources:

Resolve Product Manager Peter Chamberlain discusses Rec 709A

Colorist Dan Swierenga has an excellent overview of some of these issues and the new features in Resolve

Enjoy the Mailbag and as always please leave any questions or comments below


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Homepage Forums Mailbag Live & Revisiting Why Does It Look Different On Export?

  • Hardave G

    Hey Guys,

    Great discussion. I think that the topic of NLC tagging is something that is worth looking at. It should be noted that this is something that is specific to quicktime and apple (and safari and a few other apps that work with Color Sync).

    In my experience, not tagging your file will result in what Robbie said, a file that has a color profile of 1-2-1. Which will look correct to you and your exports. Even if you pull that file into your system again it will look right but it is not. You need to deliver a quicktime file that has a color profile of 1-1-1.

    On a side note, if you right click on your quicktime file and select “Get Info” you can see what profile type you quicktime is.

    To do this. You need to set your tagging to be Rec709 and Rec 709 respectively. This is the way you also need to deliver. I sent my Quicktiem file (1-2-1) to a flame artist and when he rendered the file, the flame exported out a file that was lower in contrast and saturation. This took some back and forth and I discovered that I was sending the file incorrectly. When I sent him a Quicktime file that was (1-1-1) then all was good and looked the way it should.

    Most applications are expecting a 1-1-1 file. So I would argue that this is the way files should be delivered to client in quicktime format and NOT change back when delivering as Robbie said. That if put through another system or streaming service or video hosting site will possibly not look correct. This is something that a colorist needs to be aware of.

    Matching Color: DaVinci Resolve’s Viewer & Mac P3 Displays and Applications (for macOS High Sierra)

    Great article that covers this in detail.

    Thanks Mixing Light, I think. you guys are doing a great job. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in with regards to this topic.

  • Robbie Carman

    Hi Hardave – yep, I linked to Dan’s (the same one you shared) article in the body of this post. I agree it’s a good article. Yep QT player, Screen Media Info etc all can show you NLC tags.

    Regarding switching things back for delivery, I tried to be as clear as possible on that point – it depends. I agree that in a web/streaming review and approval services you’re likely correct. But in regards to the Flame (doing that workflow all the time) what you potentially describe is a media tagging issue in the Flame. Many of the OTT and Broadcast deliveries we do specifically require 1-2-1 709/Gamma 2.4 deliverables.

    Of course its all about testing and making sure you (and others) understand the workflow pipeline.

  • Oliver Ojeil

    What do you recommend for an SDR ACES workflow set to REC709 – because it doesn’t have the REC709-A option in the ODT to tag the export for client review as that.

  • Sebastian Ziabka

    Hi, that’s probably slightly off topic, I have an anamorphic timeline 2592×2160. Video export is coming out fine but all stills grabs and even tiff sequence exports comes out squeezed. Any idea how to to make images look correct once exported as stills? Thanks in advance

  • R Neil Haugen

    Listening to this, my … Robbie is SO Robbie! And thankfully so I might add. Love the streaming from an Atem to someone on YouTube on their TV!

    A quick comment on Dan’s article. It’s well presented and detailed *except* … he has no information on how video will look outside the Appleverse. Last time I looked it up, Apple screens are about 10% to 12% in the US and Europe, but as low as 6% in much of the rest of the world.

    Something to be aware of.

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