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Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 27 Sep 2022 17:59 #122277

Hi all,

I've moved from an older Mac Pro running Mojave and an older version of FCPX (10.4.8 or some such) to a Mac Studio running FCP 10.6.4 and obviously Monterey.

When I opened the main project that I've been working on, I noticed that the colours look different in the project - less contrast and saturation. I've attached two pictures showing the difference of the same 422 pro res exports (so it's not just how FCPX is displaying it - the exports are also less contrast-y) - hopefully the difference comes across after the screen grab is compressed.

It's the same Library and same project file, with the same monitor and same colour profile.

Am I missing something here? Is this to be expected? I'm hoping that I've forgotten something simple and can get back to my older, much better and more 'finished' looking colour grade.

Thanks,

Ed

P.S. just to be 100% clear - the colour grade also looks different inside FCPX, not just on export.
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Last edit: by TeddyRuxpin.

Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 27 Sep 2022 20:02 #122281

Hi,

Thanks so much for your reply! Unfortunately I don't think it quite makes sense to this scenario as both videos are being displayed on the same computer screen.

I understand the merits of a colour calibrated monitor, and I have colour calibrated the monitor using my Datacolor Spyder and am using the exact same ICC colour profile on both computers. Going out an buying a hardware calibrated monitor would not have any impact on this issue.

However this is all somewhat irrelevant because the both files are being viewed on the same machine, as in the screen grabs I've attached to the OP.

If the problem was the colour calibration of the monitor, both videos should still look the same.

The problem is with the way FCPX is interpreting the colour grade in the newer version of FCPX/Monterey/Apple Silicon.

Further, I just wanted to clarify that I'm not looking for advice on how to colour grade or achieve and accurate image on my screen.

I would love to know why the video created and exported on an intel machine does not match the video on an Apple Silicon machine (with a newer version of FCPX), and how to correct it/get my old colour grade back!

Thanks,

Ed

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Last edit: by TeddyRuxpin.

Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 27 Sep 2022 22:45 #122288

Hi,

Thanks again for your reply!

I just tried a variety of OSX colour profiles and exported the video and they all look the same and are exactly the same file size, so I found no difference/affect in using a different colour profile to what's generated by FCPX.

This leaves only a difference in hardware (and software versions). Coming from the audio world, the idea that bouncing a Logic project on one computer would render the audio differently to another one is a new one to me (unless you use non-linear effects but that's a different issue). That's why I created this thread - I do believe it could be a bug or error, either by the software or by myself.

I should also point out that the Pro Res 422 export from the Mac Studio is 14.56GB and the one from the Mac Pro was over 20GB. For the exact same project, same library, which seems unusual to me.

Unfortunately I don't have the Mac Pro anymore to check the colour space, but the library colour profile is currently set to Standard and I've never changed this setting before.

I do have an old intel laptop a clone of my Mac Pro hard drive on there, so I will open the project up on that and export it and see what it looks like.

Cheers,

Ed

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Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 28 Sep 2022 00:49 #122292

I'm a bit confused as to why DaveM's posts have disappeared (for me at least?), now I look like a crazy person, talking to myself....

Anyway, if anyone else can offer a suggestion or explanation as to why this project is rendering differently on different machines, that would be great!

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Last edit: by TeddyRuxpin.

Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 28 Sep 2022 09:27 #122295

Again, I can see from email notification that DaveM has replied to this thread, but I cannot see his posts anymore. I even tried viewing from a different browser, not logged in, still no joy? Very confusing.

Anyway, this thread is relevant: fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/3537...-fcpx-intel-projects

I'm sorry but this is digital processing and the projects should open up and export and create the same output, unless there is a bug or error, or incorrect setting. The people in the thread above seem to be in agreement.

Imagine large production houses that run intel Mac Pro's and Mac Studio Ultra's having to re-grade projects they pass around from computer to computer...

I will experiment with the old library/project backup on my intel MacBook Pro and see where I get to there.

I will also experiment to see if creating optimised/pro res files changes anything on the M1 based Mac, as suggested in this post: fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/3537...ntel-projects#114848

There is already an issue with 10-bit footage from the Panasonic S5 and FCP 10.6.4 as highlighted and confirmed in my other thread, and the workaround is to create optimised media (despite having a computer powerful enough to not need to do that): fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/3694...-but-sharp-in-motion

(Thankfully I have a Pro Res export of the old project that I can import into a new timeline and add a graphic at the end, which should be good enough to finish this project, but I'm really not happy about the projects not matching)

Cheers

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Last edit: by TeddyRuxpin.

Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 28 Sep 2022 15:17 #122299

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Ed, sorry about the reply issue. I had deleted my first post in this thread as I didn't fully understand your issue when I wrote it. I didn't want to confuse things, especially for someone who reads the thread later. I tried writing another couple of posts but I deleted them as I wasn't satisfied with what I wrote. Again, sorry or that. Unfortunately, there is no "preview draft" or "save draft" option here (that I know of), so it's not easy to compose a post and wait a bit to proofread it...

Back to the topic... the following may be useful... I was able to salvage part of a post, as it was on my clipboard...

I just tried a variety of OSX colour profiles and exported the video and they all look the same and are exactly the same file size, so I found no difference/affect in using a different colour profile to what's generated by FCPX.

Using a rough analogy with audio editing... if you adjust the volume to your speakers it doesn't change the actual levels in the audio file. Similarly, changing system ColorSync display profile doesn't change the actual video levels in FCP. For audio, the speaker output level changes and for FCP the look changes. So, if you lower your speaker output but then mix your audio based on that loudness (and not referencing the meters in your DAW), you will likely mix things hotter than desired. Likewise, if you were to use a less than optimal color profile on your Mac and then color grade, what you end up with as stored/rendered video level values will be different than if you used a proper color profile.

So, using the same color profile for the same display but two different OS, GPU, and FCP combinations isn't necessarily going to yield the same display on the Mac Studio as you had on the Mac Pro. Different GPU hardware, different OS, different FCP...

Moving forward, it would be advisable to create a new ColorSync profile for the display with your new Mac Studio.

This leaves only a difference in hardware (and software versions). Coming from the audio world, the idea that bouncing a Logic project on one computer would render the audio differently to another one is a new one to me (unless you use non-linear effects but that's a different issue). That's why I created this thread - I do believe it could be a bug or error, either by the software or by myself.

I should also point out that the Pro Res 422 export from the Mac Studio is 14.56GB and the one from the Mac Pro was over 20GB. For the exact same project, same library, which seems unusual to me.


If you exported the same timeline from the same Project and Library on each machine, using the same ProRes 422 codec, settings, plugins, and color adjustments, the files should be nearly or exactly the same size. FCP Viewer Quality and Playback settings could affect the output, as well.

The difference in file sizes suggests that the files are not the same output, so they wouldn't necessarily look the same.

You might open both files in something like Invisor or MediaInfo and compare the metadata.

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Last edit: by DaveM.

Colours look different on Intel Mac vs ARM (Mac Studio) 29 Sep 2022 20:58 #122315

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...I would love to know why the video created and exported on an intel machine does not match the video on an Apple Silicon machine (with a newer version of FCPX), and how to correct it/get my old colour grade back!...

Normally you'd expect them to be the same. You mentioned you aren't sure what older version of FCP on Mojave exported the ProRes file you're comparing to a current one exported from 10.6.4. I don't think you've stated what color & gamma profile or what codec that original material was.

There have been some changes in how FCP and MacOS handle tone-mapping of HDR content. One change happened after 10.3, another change in MacOS 10.14 and another in MacOS 10.15 and FCP 10.4.7. This was mentioned in the Apple white paper HDR and Wide Color Gamut in Final Cut Pro:  www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/docs/HDR_WideColor.pdf

I don't know if that is involved with your case.

Another common issue if using (for example) Sony SLog3 is how various apps, plugins, utilities and NLEs interpret the legal vs data levels for luma. Sony specifies that SLog3 is data level but traditionally ProRes is legal levels. That can cause the same footage to show a difference in contrast or perceived saturation.

The first way to approach that is examine the luma waveform of that material in an NLE with all effects disabled. Ideally you shoot a few sec of material on a ColorChecker card at known exposure levels for later comparison: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1649352-R...orchecker_video.html

E.g, we always shoot a few sec of footage with our Sony FX6 cameras where white is exposed to 61% IRE on a 90% reflective white target (the white tile on the above and similar cards). There are similar specified levels for dark grey, light grey and black. Those are the exposure levels Sony states for SLog3. Later if that material VISUALLY looks too bright on some NLE, ,we can examine that with all LUTs and Fx disabled to verify it was really exposed at 61%. That bypasses any uncertainty about LUT, color conversion, monitor, monitor calibration, room brightness, etc.

Most camera manufacturers have a recommended exposure level for their color profiles and gamma settings. You don't have to use that but we usually shoot a few sec on a ColorChecker card in case we later have a problem with contrast, exposure or color.

I think one problem is you are comparing an exported file from some older version of FCP and MacOS, but all you have is the file. You don't really know for certain how FCP on that machine was configured, and cannot re-do that because the machine is no longer available. Is that right?

If you had that machine you could bring up the footage in FCP, enable the waveform monitor and compare that to the waveform on the new machine in FCP. Even without a color card, you could pause each one on the same image. That bypasses much of the uncertainty about how the monitor and associated layers display the image. Then you could do that with all effects and LUTs disabled on both machines, verifying that both are in the same library type and project type. IOW that one is not HDR and the other SDR.

I just compared the same clip on an M1 Ultra Mac Studio vs 2017 i7 iMac 27, both running FCP 10.6.4 and Monterey 12.6. On both I imported an SLog3 XAVC-I MXF clip from a Sony FX6 which was exposed at 62% on a ColorChecker card, the waveform on both machines showed exactly 62%, and light grey, dark grey and black also matched between the two machines.

The other thread you mentioned seems to indicate there was previously a problem with Canon's plugin and how it handled their log profile between Intel and Apple Silicon machines. Is the media in question Canon C-Log?

If you don't have that previous machine or footage of a color card, it's harder to investigate. If you have access to an Intel Mac with FCP (even an older laptop) you could import the clip or a very simple test timeline to that machine and compare the waveform between the same frame of the same clip on each machine.

Issues like this can arise from several different areas and often require significant investigation.

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